World Coins

Approaches to collecting Canadian Centennial medals

Guest Commentary from the March 14, 2016, issue of Coin World:

The basic theme expressed in Pierre Burton’s book titled 1967: The Last Good Year could also be applied to the collecting of medallions issued in Canada. During the 1960s, collectors were still experiencing a period in numismatic history that was a continuation of the roaring 1950s of coin collecting that resulted from post-war prosperity. During this time, medallions and trade dollar tokens were beginning to become more popular to commemorate events or increase tourism. 

The production of medallions peaked during 1967 in Canada as the nation celebrated its 100th anniversary of Confederation (becoming its own country separate from the British Colonies). This year witnessed production of several hundred different medallions in Canada, and there hasn’t been another year in Canada’s history that was so prolific.

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This is my 24th year collecting Canadian Centennial medals and I’m still adding pieces I thought I would never find, including medallions that no collectors have heard of before. 

These medallions are a piece of history that together tell a unique story during this great year in Canadian medallion production! 

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One can collect for 1967 Canadian medals in three specialty areas.

‘Purist’ Centennial collector 

The “purist” 1967 Centennial collector is one who only collects issues with the Centennial symbol on it (11 equilateral triangles forming a maple leaf, which represents all 10 provinces and one territory of the time period). Some will go further and allow an issue with 1867-1967 on it with a Canadian reference also. 

Within this specialty, one can collect one of each medallion’s metal compositions, or just the base metal pieces without the silver and gold issues. The advanced collector will be on the lookout for anything different, such as trial strikes, off-center strikes, medals with die cracks, varieties, brockage errors and mule strikes. Approximately 500 pieces await the advanced collector who chooses to collect as a purist.

Besides medallions, one can also add wooden pieces, elongated cents and encased cents to a Centennial collection. 

The Expo 67 collector

From April 27 to Oct. 29, among the Centennial celebrations was a world’s fair called Expo 67, hosted by Montreal, Quebec. It was built upon the existing St. Helen’s Island and a second island, called Notre-Dame, that was created from the extra earth from the Montreal subway system and earth dredged from the St. Lawrence River. 

Sixty-two countries were represented inside the expo’s 90 architectural pavilions. Over 50 million visitors visited the event, and many medallions were struck to take home with them. The pavilion souvenirs and the Man and His World medallions are the most common to collect, but there are a few that are quite scarce to find in this 60 to 80+ piece potential collection.

The 1967-date collector

This collector wants everything that was issued during 1967 in Canada to add to his or her Centennial and Expo 67 collection. It’s a very eclectic adventure of discovering what else was issued this year and feeding an endless supply of possibilities for the collector. Notably, the 1967 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, sports awards, coin clubs, and private issues are a few to be mentioned here in this 150+ piece collection.

If you’re interested in finding out more about these fascinating medallions for the 1967 Centennial year in Canada, you can join the Canadian Centennial Collector’s Club for $20 Canadian (about $14 U.S.) for a one-year membership. We issue a quarterly newsletter in pdf called The Centennial Collector and hold regular meetings that you can attend. To become a member you can contact Treasurer Scott Douglas, Box CW 273, Mill St. E., Acton, Ontario, Canada L7J 1J7. 

You can reach me also at if you have any questions.

Brian Thomson is a longtime of collector and researcher of the medals issued during Canada’s Confederation Centennial.

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