World Coins

Canada issues commemorative coin for WWII engineer

Canada’s newest circulating dollar coin honors aviation engineer and women’s rights advocate Elsie MacGill. The coin was issued in colorized and plain versions.

Images courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mint.

A pioneering Canadian engineer, Elsie MacGill, is the subject of the latest circulating commemorative dollar coin from the Royal Canadian Mint.

The RCM on Aug. 1 launched the new coin to honor “an exceptional Canadian who broke barriers as an engineer and leading advocate of women’s rights,” the RCM said. 

Responsible for many firsts as a woman studying and practicing engineering, she was celebrated for setting up the Canadian production of the Hawker Hurricane fighter plane during World War II. Her lifelong advocacy for women’s rights included her appointment to the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, in 1967.

British Columbia artist Claire Watson designed the reverse of the MacGill coin.

It shows MacGill holding a pair of rolled-up blueprints. Flying above her is the Maple Leaf Trainer II, which she designed. Beside her appears one of the over 1,450 Canadian-made Hawker Hurricane fighter planes that she helped produce for the Allied war effort in World War II, as chief engineer of Canadian Car and Foundry in Fort William, Ontario (now Thunder Bay).

She was known as the “Queen of the Hurricanes” for that unique wartime contribution. Her name, ELSIE MACGILL, is engraved beneath the fighter plane.

The obverse depicts the Susanna Blunt effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.

The coin has a mintage of 3 million pieces, with 2 million featuring color and 1 million plain versions.

The coin will reach Canadians through their change as banks and businesses replenish their inventories of dollar coins.

Both MacGill coins are also available in a six-piece Collector Keepsake coin set. They are packaged in an illustrated collector card that contains Uncirculated versions of 2023 circulation coins, from five cents to $2. Colored and uncolored limited-edition specially wrapped rolls of 25 Uncirculated coins are also available.

To order, visit the product page at the RCM’s website, at

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