Canada’s Remembrance Day is solemnly observed each year on November 11, as a heartfelt tribute to the courageous Canadian soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country and the world.
Inspired by the timeless poem “In Flanders Fields,” the poppy has long served as a poignant symbol of Canadian wartime dedication. In 2004, the Royal Canadian Mint introduced a commemorative Remembrance Day silver coin, adorned with a vibrant red poppy. This year’s design captures the essence of the poppy, alongside a poignant depiction of a veteran and his grandchild at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The unidentified soldiers who died in World War I have been honoured by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey since 1920. Over time, several countries have followed in Britain’s footsteps and established their own memorials.
In 2000, Canada solemnly repatriated the remains of an unidentified Canadian soldier from their burial site in France. This heroic figure was laid to rest in the sacred grounds of Canada’s National War Memorial, a poignant testament to honour the fallen. The 2023 Remembrance Day silver coin proudly showcases this iconic monument, which has become the very heart of Remembrance Day ceremonies since its inception.
The Design of This Year’s Canadian Remembrance Day Coin
Each of the RCM’s Remembrance Day coins has depicted meaningful symbolism, but this year’s design is truly special. Etched in pure silver is a detailed image of the top of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, its surface strewn with poppies. An aging veteran, cane in hand and with medals on his chest, leans over the memorial with a face filled with sorrow. He stretches out a hand to place a single poppy on the memorial. Standing next to the old soldier is a small child who reaches out wonderingly as if to touch the petals of the flower his grandfather is gently lying down.
The red of the poppies is the only colour on this Remembrance Day silver coin. They stand in stark relief against the finely etched silver of the coin, a vibrant symbol of Canada’s reverence for its fallen soldiers. The obverse of the coin features the Susanna Blunt effigy of Queen Elizabeth II with four silver pearls and the double dates of her long reign.
Previous Remembrance Day Collectible Coins
Many of the Royal Canadian Mint’s previous Remembrance Day coins are still available for purchase. The original coloured-poppy Remembrance Day collectible coin from 2004 features a simple red poppy over a large silver Canadian maple leaf. Not only was it the first of the now-iconic red poppy coins, it was the first coloured coin to be placed into circulation rather than being solely for collecting. A similar design was released in sterling silver version in 2008 to commemorate the Armistice of 1918.
In 2010, the RCM released a limited edition silver dollar that featured a single, life-like red poppy with a field of silver poppies stretching into the distance.
The 2022 Canadian Remembrance Day coin features a tired Captain of the Canadian Army Medical Corps sitting by a tree, reflecting on the Second Battle of Ypres in the First World War. The image highlights blooming poppies in the foreground, with additional poppies appearing between the crosses marking fallen soldiers’ graves in the background.
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