DESIGN IN CANADIAN COINS

Coinage Designs of 1996


Communiqué

February 27, 1995

Convenient Two Dollar Coin Saves Government $250 million

Ottawa - - In the context of the 1995 Federal Budget, the Government of Canada, today announced the introduction of a two dollar coin to replace the two dollar note.

The Honourable David C. Dingwall, Minister responsible for the Royal Canadian Mint, has given the Mint instructions to prepare for the production and distribution of 300 million circulating two dollar coins effective early 1996. Coincident with the introduction of the two dollar coin, the Bank of Canada will cease issuing the two dollar note.

"This decision is consistent with the Government’s overall cost reduction strategy. With a 20 year lifespan for the coin, versus one year for the two dollar note, taxpayers will save more than $250 million over 20 years," said Mr. Dingwall.

Discussion with major coin users and the Bank of Canada have identified the need for a two dollar coin. More than seventy-five percent of consumer transactions involve coins, and much of the marketplace is influenced by coin-operated machines, telephones and transit systems.

In January the Mint conducted public opinion research on public preference and acceptance of a potential two dollar coin. Overall 79% approved of a two dollar coin when they were informed of the savings to the Government. With respect to the preferred size, weight and shape of a two dollar coin, 78% supported a bimetallic coin slightly larger than the one dollar coin, of a weight similar to the one dollar coin and with distinctive edges. The Mint is about to conduct further national polling to consult on the most appealing theme for the artistic design.

"The new two dollar coin is a necessary improvement to our currency system. It is being updated to meet modem consumer needs," commented Danielle Wetherup, President and Master of the Royal Canadian Mint

The coins will be produced at the Royal Canadian Mint facility in Winnipeg. Canadians can expect to see and use the two dollar coin in early 1996.


Communiqué

DESIGN UNVEILED FOR CANADA'S TWO DOLLAR COIN

TORONTO, September 21, 1995

"The polar bear will appear on the flip side of Canada's new two dollar coin."

This announcement was made today by the Honourable David Dingwall, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada and Minister responsible for the Royal Canadian Mint.

The announcement was made at the Metro Toronto Zoo, the polar bear's home away from home. At the unveiling, Mr. Dingwall was accompanied by Danielle Wetherup, President of the Mint, and Brent Townsend, the artist commissioned to develop the design for the reverse side of the new coin. The effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11, which appears an all other Canadian circulation coins, will be featured on the obverse side of the coin.

Mr. Dingwall said "the new coin is consistent with the Government's overall cost reduction strategy. With a 20-year lifespan for the coin, versus one year for the two dollar note, taxpayers will save more than $250 million over 20 years."

The new coin is scheduled to be launched into circulation in February 1996. The Government announced its intention to replace the two dollar note with a coin in the February 1995 budget.

The polar bear was chosen as the design for the coin as a result of input from Canadians. In March 1995, Environics Research Group conducted a national survey on behalf of the Royal Canadian Mint to explore Canadians' attitudes toward possible design themes for the artistic design of a new coin. Sixty-five per cent of Canadians polled chose wildlife as the artistic design theme for a new coin, with a bear being among the most popular suggestions.

Students from high schools in Vancouver and Montréal also participated in the event via video tape. Students from Inuksuk High School in Iqaluit. Northwest Territories, joined the proceedings live through the use of a two-way video satellite link.

Fact Sheet

Two dollar circulation coin design

THE DESIGN:

The obverse

  • features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This image appears on all Canadian circulation coins.

The reverse

  • features a polar bear in its most preferred habitat
  • was created by Canadian wildlife artist Brent Townsend
  • depicts an adult male in early summer, hunting along the floe edge in proximity of the coast
  • captures the polar bear in a moment of intense concentration; having just seen or smelled something. He is frozen to observe, before deciding his next move.

September 21, 1995

Fact Sheet

Polar Bear (ursus maritimus)

Canada's circulating coinage family introduces its newest member: the two dollar coin featuring a Canadian polar bear- Embraced nationally and globally because of its popularity, the polar bear makes a worthy addition to the group of Canadian wildlife coin designs, which includes the beaver, caribou and loon.

The polar bear:

  • is widely recognized as the embodiment of the Arctic and a symbol of Canada's wilderness heritage
 
  • is shared by all parts of Arctic Canada, including the coastal regions of the Yukon and Northwest Territories, Manitoba, Ontario, Arctic Québec and Labrador; Canada boasts over 50% of the world population (estimated at 20,000 to 40,000)

  • is majestic; its impressive size, strength and rugged beauty are symbols of Arctic Canada's unspoiled nature

  • is characterized by its curiosity, intelligence and high degree of adaptability, making it perfectly suited to life in a harsh environment.

Adult polar bears mature around age four and females from three to seven years of age. Females most often produce two cubs every two to four years. Cubs weigh less than a kilogram at birth and spend a little over two years with their mother. The maternity denning area near Churchill, Manitoba is one of the three largest in the world. Life expectancy of a polar bear is 20-30 years in the wild and longer in captivity.

The polar bear is white, but the fur may be tinged with lemon yellow. Under certain light conditions like the midnight sun, bears may appear a yellow gold. The eyes and snout are black, as is the skin under the fur. The black skin aids in solar heating, while the fur and fat aid in conserving heat.

The polar bear is presently one of the best managed of the large Arctic mammals. Although facing threats to its habitat, the polar bear is not in immediate danger of extinction.

September 21, 1995

Fact Sheet

The Artist

Brent Townsend was selected to develop the design of the polar bear which appears on the reverse of Canada's two dollar circulation coin.

Brent Townsend is a highly respected Wildlife artist who lets his paintings speak for him. He would rather be out exploring, studying, sketching, taking photographs and painting than discussing art history or technique.

Born in 1962 in a suburban Toronto neighbourhood, his backyard was bordered by a ravine and a creek. Fascinated with the wealth of nature that existed just outside his back door, Townsend studied the rocks, water and plant life along the creek. As he grew older, his area of interest widened, and he now specializes in studies of North American wildlife and landscapes.

Although he studied commercial art at the Wexford Collegiate Institute, Townsend is essentially a self-taught painter who has been selling his work since seventh grade. He is inspired by Carl Rungius, Andrew Wyeth and other artists who, in his words, "paint what they like, and you can like it or not." His independence and lack of restrictions show in his paintings, which have already garnered a loyal audience in Canada. He has successfully participated in the World Wildlife Fund "Spirit of the Wild" art auction and the Endangered Species Art Show at the Kortright Conservation Centre.

Today, Townsend's art can be found throughout North America. He made his United States debut as the 1989 Minneapolis Wildlife and Western Art Exhibition's "Artist of the Year," the first Canadian and the youngest artist ever to be so honored. In 1994, he was a featured artist at the first Vancouver International Wildlife Art Show. In December 1995, his work will be featured, along with those of other distinguished Canadian artists, in a Canadian exhibition at the Suntory Museum in Osaka, Japan.

Townsend lives in Campbellford, Ontario. He still explores with energy and enthusiasm.

"I like to be out gathering ideas," he says, "and I paint what interests me."

September 21, 1995


Communiqué

TWO DOLLAR COIN IN PRODUCTION IN WINNIPEG

WINNIPEG, December 5, 1995 - Ron Duhamel, Member of Parliament for St. Boniface, Manitoba, gave the public its first look at Canada's new two dollar circulation coin today during a coin striking ceremony at the Royal Canadian Mint's Winnipeg Plant.

Mr. Duhamel was representing the Honourable David Dingwall, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada and Minister responsible for the Royal Canadian Mint.

"The production of the two dollar coin is the next step toward the launch of the coin into circulation on February 19, 1996," said Mr. Duhamel, "and the next step toward a savings of $250 million for Canadian taxpayers over the next 20 years."

This savings is due to the 20-year lifespan for the coin versus a one-year lifespan for the two dollar note.

The coin is bimetallic, with a nickel outer ring and an aluminum bronze core. The reverse of the coin features a polar bear designed by wildlife artist Brent Townsend. Minister Dingwall unveiled the polar bear design in September at a special ceremony at the Metro Toronto Zoo, the polar bears home away from home. The effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11, which appears on all other Canadian circulation coins, is featured on the obverse side of the coin.

In the 1995 Federal budget the Canadian Government announced its intention to replace the two dollar note with a coin as a cost-saving measure. The new coin is consistent with the Government's overall cost reduction strategy and its effort to reduce the national deficit.

The Two Dollar Circulation Coin

Why the coin?

Savings

  • The two dollar coin will save Canadian taxpayers more than $250 million over 20 years.
  • The two dollar coin will cost an estimated 16 cents to manufacture.
  • The lifespan of a coin is 20 years.
  • A two dollar note costs six cents to manufacture but lasts approximately one year.

Convenience

  • A high denomination circulation coin responds to the growing needs of consumers. The two dollar coin will bring convenience to people who use a wide range of services, including vending machines and public transportation.

Efficiency

  • The durable two dollar coin has a longer life than a two dollar note and is easier to handle.
  • Many industrialized countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Italy and others use high denomination coins.

December 5, 1995

The Two Dollar Circulation Coin

Technical Specifications and Design

Technical Specifications

The two dollar coin:

  • is bimetallic with a nickel outer ring and an aluminum bronze core.
  • is round with an interrupted serrated edge.
  • has a diameter of 28 millimetres. The aluminum bronze core has a diameter of 16.8 millimetres.
  • weighs 7.3 grams.

Design

The obverse

  • features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11. This image appears on all Canadian circulation coins.

The reverse

  • features a polar bear in its most preferred habitat in Northern Canada.
  • was created by Canadian wildlife artist Brent Townsend.
  • depicts an adult polar bear in early summer along the floe edge in proximity of the coast.

Products

To coincide with the launch of Canada's two dollar circulation coin, a special collection of numismatic products will be available starting February 19, 1996.

December 5, 1995

Royal Canadian Mint

Winnipeg Plant

The Royal Canadian Mint began operations at its facility in Winnipeg in 1975. Considered one of the world's most modern coin production facilities, this high capacity minting facility can produce 3 billion coins a year at a rate of 95 coins per second. The Winnipeg plant:

  • has produced approximately 30 billion coins for Canada and 60 other countries since 1975.
  • has struck, over 20 years, approximately 12 billion coins for other countries.
  • produced, in 1994, 600 million coins for 14 different countries and 1 billion coins for Canada.
  • produces coins for such countries as the Czech Republic, the People's Republic of Bangladesh, the Bahamas, New Zealand, Singapore and Barbados.
  • specialises in all circulation coinage contracts as well as tokens and trade dollars.
  • manages the distribution of Canadian circulation coins.
  • is virtually self sufficient, capable of producing all the working dies it requires for coining as well as all auxiliary tooling required.
  • employs 150 people.
  • was designed by local architect Etienne Gaboury.
  • was designed to give the public an opportunity to observe the minting of coins in progress. Viewing galleries are located along the tour walk. Public tours are available throughout the summer.
  • operates a sales counter featuring a variety of numismatic products.

December 5, 1995


Communiqué

CANADA'S TWO DOLLAR COIN LAUNCHED INTO CIRCULATION

MONTRÉAL, February 19, 1996 – Canada’s two dollar coin was officially launched into circulation today by the Honourable Diane Marleau, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada and Minister responsible for the Royal Canadian Mint.

The launch, held at Montréal's Ben’s Deli, was also officiated by Danielle Wetherup, President of the Mint.

 

"One year ago, this month, the two dollar coin was proposed by the Federal Government as a measure to save Canadian taxpayers more than $250 million over 20 years. Now, here it is, ready for us to use," said Minister Marleau.

The savings are due to the 20-year lifespan for the coin versus a one-year lifespan for the two dollar note.

A CIBC-sponsored two dollar coin exchange was held at the event. The public was invited to trade in their notes and other coins for new two dollar coins.

As of today, the Bank of Canada will no longer issue the two dollar note. However, the two dollar note will remain legal tender and can be used as long as it remains in circulation.

The Mint produced 60 million two dollar coins to coincide with today's launch. It estimates that more than 300 million coins will be required to meet demand in the first 18 months following the launch.

The two dollar coin is bimetallic, with a nickel outer ring and an aluminum bronze core. The reverse of the coin features a polar bear design by Canadian wildlife artist Brent Townsend. The polar bear design was unveiled in September 1995 at a special ceremony at the Metro Toronto Zoo, the polar bears home away from home. The effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11, which appears on all other Canadian circulation coins, appears on the obverse side of the coin.

To coincide with the national launch event, activities marking the introduction of the new coin were held in other centres across Canada today, including Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Calgary, Halifax and Edmonton.

In the 1995 Federal budget, the Canadian Government announced its intention to replace the two dollar note with a coin as a cost-savings measure. The new coin is consistent with the Government's overall cost reduction strategy and its effort to reduce the national deficit.


Communiqué

Mint Confirms Coin Production Process is Sound

WINNIPEG, February 27, 1996 : Subsequent to recent reports that the inner core of the $2 coin became dislodged from the outer ring, the Royal Canadian Mint has conducted a full review of the production and quality control processes for the $2 coin.

The Mint has confirmed that the processes are sound and that there is no evidence to indicate that the $2 coin's structure fails under normal conditions of use. Nonetheless, the Mint has taken extra precautions to further ensure the quality of its outgoing products and has increased the frequency of quality assurance checks.

"Our technical staff from Winnipeg and Ottawa have undertaken an extensive review of our $2 coin production and quality control processes and have confirmed that these processes are sound," said Jean- Pierre Tremblay, Vice-president of Manufacturing for the Mint.

While the processes used to produce a bimetallic coin are new to the Mint, these processes have been used and proven throughout the world. The quality standards of the Mint were established in keeping with the experiences of other countries.

As in any high volume coin manufacturing operation, the Mint utilizes statistical random sampling. There is always a probability that a number of imperfect coins will escape into circulation. If these imperfections occur, they are at the striking process and should not be attributed to design defects.

The Mint reminds Canadians that the tampering with the coin is a federal offense and punishable under the law. In the unlikely event that Canadians are in possession of $2 coins in which the inner core has become dislodged from the outer ring under normal use, they can return both components to any bank or financial institution for redemption.

Coinage Designs of -

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