In 2011, the Royal Canadian Mint (R C M) marked the 100th anniversary of the creation of Parks Canada (originally the Dominion Parks Branch within the Department of the Interior) with a multi-coin program that included circulation coins and collector coins. One of the collector coins released was a commemorative silver dollar (SD).
Today, Parks Canada oversees more than 225 National Parks (42), National Historic Sites (167), National Marine Parks/Conservation Areas (4) and other Canadian sites and landmarks of cultural and natural importance (12+).
The mandate of Parks Canada is to "protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural Heritage
, and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure the ecological and commemorative integrity of these places for present and future generations."
Banff (in Alberta's Rocky Mountains) was Canada's first natural area/park to be designated as a National Park by the Government of Canada - it happened on November 25, 1885. What began with a set aside of approximately 10 square miles around hot springs, has grown to be to a park that today covers 2,564 square miles!
The SD's commemorative reverse presents a close-up view of a Canadian youth peering into cupped hands. The hands are symbolically holding four of Canada's endangered species: a Whooping Crane, a Southern Maidenhair Fern, a Western Prairie-Fringed Orchid and a Kentucky Coffee Tree. (Note: The Mint does not specifically identify the gender of the young Canadian depicted, but the artist has stated that his young daughter served as his model for the coin.)
The design is the work of Luc Normandin, an artist/illustrator based in Quebec. In addition to the SD, he has designed the reverse of several other coins for the R C M, including the 2012 gold $500 Maple Leaf Forever coin, the 2014 $50 silver Maple Leaf forever coin, the 2015 $125 silver Conservation Series - Whooping Crane and the 2013 silver and gold 250th Anniversary of the End of the Seven Years War kilogram coins.
The 2011 SD was struck on a 0.925 fine (92.5%) silver planchet (Sterling Silver); the planchet's composition includes 7.5% copper. The coin's planchet is 36.07 millimeters in diameter and weighs 25.175 grams.
The Parks Canada SD was available in proof and brilliant uncirculated (BU) versions. The standard proof version had a maximum mintage of 40,000, while the BU version had a limit of 25,000; a selectively-gold-plated (SGP) version that was only available in the standard 2011 proof set, had a product limit of 45,000. Actual mintage figures for the coins are: individual proof - 30,692 / SGP proof in set - 32,910 / brilliant uncirculated - 26.304. The individual proof coin had an issue price of $55.95; the proof set price was $114.95 and the BU dollar issue price was $49.95; all prices CAD.
I find the design to be quite interesting, certainly a novel presentation. The placement of endangered flora and fauna in the hands of a child, who is intently looking upon them, makes quite a statement about the future and the need for improved environmental oversight so that future generations can enjoy what surrounds us today.2011 Parks Canada Commemorative Silver Dollar - Reverse (Proof)
For other of my posts about Canadian coins and medals, check out: Read More: Commems Collection