Excitement was in the air July 1 in the Canadian capital of Ottawa.
Yes, it was Canada Day, but Ottawa residents and visitors were even
more excited than usual because Canada had special guests for the
festivities, the most famous of newlyweds — the Duke and Duchess of
Cambridge, known around the world as “Will and Kate.”
With the couple’s visit, the Royal Canadian Mint decided to give a
royal flavor to its Canada Day activities. It addition to the
traditional free face painting and catwalk tours of the facility, the
RCM put on display some of its most beautiful coins that celebrate
Canada’s close ties with the British and Canadian royalty.
A tent adjacent to the RCM’s front door housed a large board that
showed a time line illustrated by images of Canadian monarchs on coins
struck by the Mint: Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, King George V,
King George VI, and Queen Elizabeth II. The current monarch was
represented with images from the reverses of the $15 coins of the
“Vignettes of Royalty Series”), the laureate bust of Elizabeth II used
on Canadian coins from 1953 to 1964, the tiara bust used from 1965 to
1989, the royal diademed portrait used from 1990 to 2002, the reverse
of the 2002 silver dollar that features Queen Elizabeth the Queen
Mother, the reverse of the 2002 silver dollar that marks Elizabeth
II’s golden jubilee, Queen Elizabeth II’s uncrowned bust used on
Canadian coins since 2003, the reverse of the gold $300 coin that
features an enameled and jewel-incrusted crown (issued in 2006 to mark
Queen Elizabeth II’s 80th birthday), and the recently released 2012
$20 piece that marks Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee. At the end
of the time line, the RCM added the three reverses of the “Continuity
of the Crown Series” that feature Prince Charles, Prince William and
The tent also included three display cases containing, among
others, three gold $300 coins and a coin featuring the Great Seal of
Canada, issued in 2003. A guest book in which visitors were asked to
leave messages for the royal visitors was at the side of the tent.
Inside, visitors were treated to the RCM’s 25-minute catwalk tour,
which led to the boutique. There, they could examine this year’s RCM
products. The the most popularly purchased item appeared to be the
colored 25-cent coin that commemorates the wedding of the Duke and
Duchess of Cambridge.
Some RCM visitors got a glimpse of Prince William and his bride as
they drove past the Mint on their way to the Canada Day celebrations.
The RCM’s location on Sussex Drive places it on the route between
Rideau Hall (the residence of the governor general of Canada), where
all royal visitors stay, and Parliament Hill, where the official
celebrations were held.
Visitors and bystanders alike could partake of a hot dog or
hamburger just outside the RCM’s gates at a barbecue set up for the
occasion. Farrah-May Gendron, the RCM’s special events coordinator,
donned an apron and acted as the short-order cook. Proceeds from the
sales of festivities staples were donated to the Government of Canada
Workplace Charitable Campaign, a campaign through which federal public
servants can support registered Canadian charities of their choosing.
The superb weather — sunny, in the mid-80s with a light breeze —
was the crowning jewel of the day and contributed to make it a most
memorable event. The number of RCM visitors was not immediately
available; however, more than 300,000 people (three times the normal
attendance) took part in the noon and evening Canada Day shows on
Parliament Hill, with most attending only one of the shows. ■