new loonie 2021

Canada just got a new design for the loonie that honours Indigenous communities

Since the 1987 introduction of the loonie, Canada has seen dozens of commemorative and special edition variations of the coin.

Now, there's one more for collectors to seek out, the latest loonie design being introduced to mark the 125th anniversary of the Klondike Gold Rush kicking off in Yukon.

Just in time for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the new coin tells of the experiences and hardships of Indigenous peoples during the 1896 gold rush.

"As central as the Klondike Gold Rush is to the Yukon's fame and history, its portrayal has often been one-sided and reductive," stated Sandy Silver, Premier of the Yukon.

"The incorporation of the Carcross/Tagish and Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nations perspectives in the design and spirit of this coin represents a meaningful step in acknowledging a truth long missing from the Gold Rush story."

The reverse of the coin, designed by Vancouver artist Jori van der Linde, depicts four people credited with the find that set the gold rush into motion: Keish (Skookum Jim Mason), K̲áa Goox̱ (Dawson Charlie), Shaaw Tláa (Kate Carmack) and her husband, George Carmack.

Also featured on the coin's reverse is an image representing the Moosehide Gathering place, where the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation were forced to relocate after being displaced by gold-seeking settlers.

The obverse features the familiar face of the Queen.

"The Klondike Gold Rush was a world-changing event, and with it came more than a century of challenges for our First Nation," said Roberta Joseph, Chief of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation.

"Today, we are proud to be a self-governing, First Nation government and leaders in our community and territory."

One million uncoloured versions and another two million coloured versions (with a Moosehide Gathering place icon in red) entered circulation this September.

The Mint has an online store where the commemorative loonies are being sold, along with a limited run of crazy $200 (face value) 1 oz pure gold coins being sold for almost $4,000 a pop.

"The Mint is thankful to the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in and Carcross/Tagish First Nations, as well as the Dawson City Museum for helping us tell a complete, shared story of the Klondike Gold Rush," said Marie Lemay, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint.

"As this new coin circulates from coast to coast to coast, we hope that the social and environmental impacts of the Klondike discovery will become as well understood as its role developing the Yukon and transforming the Canadian economy."

Lead photo by Royal Canadian Mint

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