Ontarians’ Artwork Graces the Royal Canadian Mint's New Coins

Richmond Hill’s Joelle Wong

Southwestern Ontario is a hub of artistic talent! Or – at least – home to two newly minted artists, Wesley Klassen and Joelle Wong. You might have already come across their art in the palm of your hand. The Royal Canadian Mint’s newest $1 and 25-cent circulation coins celebrating Canada 150 are the works of these two Canadians. 

Wesley Klassen from St. Catharines, ON, designed the new My Canada, My Inspiration loonie, called Connecting a Nation. He drew on childhood memories of family vacations and illustrated some of the country’s the iconic engineering achievements that dominate our landscape from east to west — all of which is connected by railroad. His design features landmarks such as the Lion’s Gate Bridge, a prairie grain elevator, the CN Tower, Quebec City’s majestic Chateau Frontenac Hotel and an East Coast lighthouse.

Richmond Hill’s Joelle Wong – an eight-year-old wunderkind and Canada’s youngest coin artist– designed the new 25-cent coin, naming it Hope for a Green Future. She worked with one of her teachers to research Canadian wildlife and indigenous art techniques to develop her painting of animals commonly represented in aboriginal culture. A turtle, bird and beaver, all decorated with aboriginal patterns, are reaching for a plant growing out of a pair of hands to symbolize how we are all connected in protecting Canada’s nature. Even cooler? A full colour version of Wong’s design is also in circulation. 

The Mint launched the My Canada, My Inspiration contest in 2015, inviting everyday Canadians to celebrate everything it means to be Canadian. After narrowing down thousands entries from every province and territory, 25 finalists were selected. Finally, Canadians cast over one million votes to select the ultimate winners. 

Look for this collection in your pocket change, or take it home today: www.mint.ca/Canada150. Those located in Southwest Ontario also have the opportunity to exchange their old $1 and 25-cent coins for sparkling new Connecting a Nation and Hope for a Green Future versions at these upcoming, free, coin exchanges:

Thursday, June 15 (25-cent coins)
11am – 3pm
First Canadian Place – Canada Post Office
100 King Street West
Toronto, ON

Friday, June 16 (25-cent coins)
11am – 3pm
Canada Post Parcel Centre
8889 Yonge Street
Richmond Hill, ON

Wednesday, June 28 ($1 coins)
10am – 3pm
Meadowlands Canada Post Corporate Office
27 Legend Court
Ancaster, ON

Thursday, June 29 ($1 coins)
10am – 3pm
Limeridge Mall
999 Upper Wentworth Street
Hamilton, ON

The other winners of the My Canada, My Inspiration contest are:

• Dance of the Spirits $2 coin, including a coloured glow-in-the-dark version, designed by Timothy Hsia from Richmond, BC
• Wings of Peace 10-cent coin designed by Amy Choi from Calgary, AB
• Living Traditions 5-cent coin designed by Gerald Gloade from Millbrook First Nation, NS

Wesley Klassen from St. Catharines

Joelle Wong's Design
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