new toonie

There's a new Canadian toonie and it features the coolest Haida art

Take note, folks; there's a new Canadian toonie in town, and it features a pretty cool design by the late Haida artist Bill Reid (Iljuwas). The red and black image is one of his most famous pieces.

Released by the Royal Canadian Mint, the $2 circulation coin commemorates what would have been the B.C. artist's centennial birthday last January.

The toonie features Reid's iconic Xhuwaji / Haida Grizzly Bear, which is a symbol of strength frequently used by the artist in his sculptures and jewerly designs since 1988.

The coin was put into circulation on July 28, and it will reach the pockets of Canadians as more banks replenish their inventories.

Three million of the new coins were minted and two million of them feature the Haida Grizzly Bear in red and black, colours of Haida artistic tradition. The other coins are uncoloured.

"The Mint is delighted to add the story of Bill Reid's pivotal role in raising awareness of Haida art, and the traditions and culture it represents to the long list of circulation coins celebrating what makes us proud to be Canadian," said Marie Lemay, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint, in a press release.

"Millions of Canadians will experience the power and beauty of Bill Reid's art as this coin finds its way to them in their change."  

Reid's hefty body of work spans 1,500 different pieces ranging from jewelry to silk-screen prints, to impressive carvings and sculptures for which he is most widely recognized.

Reid has also contributed to Canadian currency before; between 2001 and 2006, Canada's $20 banknote highlighted several of his works, including Haida Grizzly Bear.

For security, technical and aesthetic reasons, Reid's iconic grizzly bear was rendered in yellow and orange on the banknote.

Lead photo by

Royal Canadian Mint

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