In 2017, the Royal Canadian Mint released a unique puzzle coin to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Confederation. The set featured 13 pieces shaped like puzzle pieces representing Canada’s provinces and territories arrayed around a central coin featuring the Centennial Flame burning in front of the Centre Block of Parliament Hill. The set proved so popular that it sold out very shortly.
If you are a coin collector or are close to someone who is, you’ll be excited to know that the RCM has recently released a new puzzle coin set. Called “The Four Winds: Pathfinders in Canada,” it represents over 1,000 years of history by featuring pathfinders who, through making maps and recording history, contributed to our understanding of our place in the world as a country.
Who Is Featured As Part of the Four Winds Pathfinders Set?
As with the previous puzzle set, the Four Winds features 13 puzzle coins, each featuring a portrait of a famous pathfinder from Canada’s history. Every puzzle coin included in the set has a fascinating story to tell and here are some examples of what you will find.
- Leif Erikson, believed to be the first European to set foot in North America in 970, represents the Viking Age.
- Kate Rice, adventurer, writer, and homesteader represents the 20th century, in part because of her rare success as a woman in the mineral industry.
- Shawnadithit was the last known survivor of Newfoundland’s Beothuk tribe. Captured at Badger Bay in 1823, she gained the patronage of explorer William Eppes Cormack, the president of an institution created to protect what remained of the Beothuk culture. Through her artistic ability, Shawnadithit recreated the customs and significant events of her people through her drawings that are still recreated today. She died of tuberculosis before the age of 30, but in that short time contributed much of what we know today about the language and customs of the Beothuk.
- Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de La Vérendrye. Emblematic of the voyageur, La Vérendrye organized expeditions to introduce the French fur trade to the Missouri River and lower Saskatchewan River. Today both La Vérendrye and his sons are remembered for their discoveries on the Central Plains of Canada and the United States.
- Sir John Franklin conducted two successful expeditions into the Canadian Arctic in 1819 and 1825. Following his death during the third expedition in 1845, his ships were abandoned and not rediscovered until approximately 170 years later.
- Giovanni Caboto was an Italian explorer hired by the King of England to sail across the Northern Atlantic in the late 15th century. His new employer anglicized his name to John Cabot. He landed somewhere in the Maritime Provinces in June 1497 and perished on a second expedition the following year.
More significant historians and cartographers figures featured on the Four Winds puzzle coins are Cartier, Vancouver, Frobisher, De la Salle, Mackenzie, Hudson and Champlain.
What Is the Significance of the Coin Design?
In designing the central coin, artist Rebecca Yanovskaya took inspiration from the Anemoi, which in Greek mythology are the personifications of the four winds. Each is associated with a certain season or weather condition, but collectively they were believed to be benevolent spirits guiding adventurers and aiding in their travels.
In the coin’s design, the Four Winds are ranged around a stylized compass rose to indicate cardinal and intermediate directions. Selectively plated in gold, the compass rose features the sun and the moon, symbolizing both strength and beauty.
Each 99.99% pure silver piece in the set is legal tender. With a mintage of only 800, supplies are limited. Pre-order this remarkable Royal Canadian Mint coin set from Colonial Acres today either for yourself or the coin collector on your gift list.