Friday, June 23, 2017

Canadian Railway Coins

When I heard the Royal Canadian Mint had made a special railway coin to mark the 150th anniversary of Canada, I thought I’d check it out.

Naively, I thought that might be the only railway coin the Mint has made. Boy, was I wrong!

Turns out the Mint has made a number of railway-themed coins over the years to commemorate achievements, specific railways and even locomotives.

(It also made a $10 bill featuring a VIA Rail locomotive.)

But back to the anniversary edition; the Mint had a competition to create its new 2017 Canada 150 circulation coin series featuring the work of five Canadians selected by popular vote.

Each coin had to be designed according to a theme. The two-dollar coin's theme was Our Wonders, the one-dollar theme was Our Achievements, the 25-cent coin theme was Canada's Future, the 10-cent coin theme was Our Character and the five-cent coin theme was Our Passions.

The winner of the competition for the $1 coin was Wesley Klassen  of St. Catharines, Ont. (photo above).

Klassen had two inspirations for his design; A love of trains, and Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister and a father of confederation.

“The coin got me to thinking about how Macdonald created the national railway,” he said of his design, which he called Connecting Canada. “Then I added in scenes from my boyhood vacations.”

The design shows two trains, and landmarks such as Vancouver’s Lion’s Gate Bridge, a prairie grain elevator, the CN Tower, Quebec City’s Chateau Frontenac, and an East Coast lighthouse.

Which is cool—but that’s not the only train-themed coin the Mint has made over the past 30 or so years.

Also this year it made a three-coin series called Locomotives Across Canada. It features an
4-4-0 steam locomotive, an RS 20 (I can’t tell if that’s true or not, but someone reading this blog can confirm it); and an ES44AC.

Another coin, made in 2011, commemorates the creation of the Champlain and St. Lawrence Railway in 1836.

Another coin was issued in 2014 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Grand Trunk Railway.

In 1986 the Mint issues a coin to celebrate the Steam Expo at the Vancouver World’s Fair.

In 2018-11 it issued a set to commemorate the creation of the CPR, featuring a D-10, a Royal Hudson, a Jubilee and a Selkirk.

It also commemorated the Countess of Dufferin, on display here in my hometown, the first locomotive in western Canada.

The building of the CPR received a coin in 2015.

The contributions of the railways to the winning of World War 1 was marked in 2015.

In other words, there are lots of train-related coins! So if you are a model railroader and coin collector, you are in luck in Canada. There's even one for those who like a train around the Christmas tree!


  1. Don't forget the June 1999 Millennium Quarter featuring a 4-4-0 designed by Gordon Ho of Nepean, ON. There was a ceremony at the Salem and Hillsborough Railroad in New Brunswick on June 2 featuring steam engine 1009 pulling a train with the president of the Mint aboard.

  2. John, I believe the RS20 was on the roster of the aptly-initialled Roberval & Saguenay.