Ottawa, Ontario – On the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act, the Royal Canadian Mint has proudly struck a new silver collector coin celebrating the equal status of English and French in Canada.
With centuries of shared Canadian history, these two languages are represented through one of the most recognizable symbols of their linguistic duality: the bilingual lyrics to "O Canada."
This new coin was celebrated at a special striking ceremony at the Mint’s Ottawa facility attended by the Secretary-General of La Francophonie Louise Mushikiwabo, the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie Mélanie Joly, Official Languages Commissioner Raymond Théberge and Mint President and CEO Marie Lemay.
“Whether at school, important events or before cheering on a sports team, Canadians stand with pride to sing 'O Canada in English and French,” said Marie Lemay. “The Mint is delighted to have captured that emotion on a coin that recognizes the strength of our bilingual heritage, half a century after the passage of the Official Languages Act.”
Designed by artist Joel Kimmel, the reverse of this coin dated 1969-2019 is accented by maple leaves and the familiar words “WITH GLOWING HEARTS”, “DES PLUS BRILLIANTS EXPLOITS”, all colored in bright red. The background is laser-engraved with concentric maple leaves, gradually diminishing in size as they near the center of the coin.
“Fifty years ago, the bill on official languages was developed to fulfill our dream of a strong, united society in which Anglophones and Francophones coexist and build a country that reflects and respects Canadian values,” said Minister Joly. “This new collector coin, marking the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act, celebrates the linguistic duality that defines us as Canadians.”
Bilingual inscriptions highlighting 50 years of the Official Languages Act complete the central design. The progressive nature of this theme is further highlighted by the addition of innovative micro-engraving of the complete lyrics of our national anthem along the coin’s rim. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.
The Official Languages Act, adopted half a century ago, was, and still is, part of a broader movement to recognize the language rights of Canadians,” said Raymond Théberge, Commissioner of Official Languages. “Canada’s linguistic duality is a powerful symbol of openness, empathy and respect.”
Limited to mintage of 15,000, the coin will retail for $49.95 CAD when it launches in September 2019.