Last updated on October 19th, 2023 at 09:11 am
Last Updated on October 19, 2023 Posted by Colonial Acres Coins
In 1996, a proclamation officially established the maple tree as the national arboreal emblem of Canada. However, the maple leaf had appeared as a symbol on Canadian coins long before that. Indeed, the proclamation specifically cited the importance of the maple tree to Canada’s historical development as a reason for making the existing association official.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the maple tree’s official recognition as Canada’s national arboreal emblem. To celebrate, the Royal Canadian Mint is issuing a piedfort coin in 99.99% pure gold bearing a maple leaf design.
How Did Maple Trees Become Associated With Canada?
With ten different species native to the country, maple trees are a common sight in Canada, so it makes sense that people would think of the country when they see a maple tree. However, it is not only how plentiful the trees are that accounts for their cultural significance. It is also because of the enduring role they have played in the lifestyle of Canadians throughout history.
The sap of the maple tree is rich in sugar, vitamins, and trace minerals. When the sap began flowing in the spring, it provided sustenance for people of the First Nations who may have been slightly deprived at the end of a long winter. They shared their knowledge of the nourishment that the tree provided to European settlers, who also relied on the trees for building supplies and firewood.
The affection for the maple tree is not only a reflection of how useful it is but also for its great beauty. As the first mayor of Montreal, Jacques Viger referred to the maple tree as a Canadian symbol and the “king” of the forest. His sentiment was echoed by many of his 19th-century contemporaries, who immortalized the maple in songs and poems.
Canadian soldiers wore maple leaves on their uniforms during World War I, and it came to represent their courage and honour. Reportedly, this is the reason that Conn Smythe chose “Maple Leafs” as the name for the Toronto hockey team that he acquired in 1927. In 1965, the maple leaf became the most prominent feature of the new Canadian flag, representing the country to the rest of the world.
The proclamation declaring the maple tree to be the official arboreal emblem of Canada referenced all these attributes as well as its contribution to economic activity in Canada and its environmental sustainability.
What Is a Piedfort Coin?
From the front, piedfort coins look identical to regular coins because they have the same diameter. However, a piedfort coin is thicker than a regular coin; twice as thick, in the case of the new maple leaf commemorative coin. It is also heavier, which is where the name piedfort, literally meaning “heavyweight,” comes from.
What Are Some of the Coin’s Special Features?
In 2010, the Royal Canadian Mint released its first gold piedfort coin, featuring a leaf from an Acer rubrum, the red maple tree. The 2021 coin celebrating the anniversary reproduces the design from the original coin. However, it also bears a privy mark featuring a maple leaf bearing the number 25 to mark the anniversary. Many smaller maple leaves shine in the background against the matte finish. This motif continues on the obverse in the background of Her Majesty’s portrait by Susanna Blunt.
Find Collectable Canadian Coins at Colonial Acres
The 2021 Maple Leaf Celebration coin is a fitting tribute to a beloved national symbol. To add exclusivity, the Royal Canadian Mint is only releasing 500 of them. You can find a wide selection of rare Canadian coins for sale to collectors at Colonial Acres.