The Royal Canadian Mint has released new silver Proof collector coins which mark an important anniversary for the country’s smallest province. Prince Edward Island celebrated its 150th anniversary of entry into the Canadian Confederation when it became the seventh province to join on the 1st July 1873. Despite the Charlottetown Conference taking place in 1864, Prince Edward Island did not become a province of Canada until 1873. As such, it also became the third of Canada’s Maritime Provinces, the other two being Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Newfoundland became the fourth Maritime Province in 1949. Prince Edward Island, abbreviated to PEI, is by far the smallest province in Canada at just 280 kilometres (174 miles) long but with a coastline of just over 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) in circumference.
Over three-fourths of current Islanders are descendants of early settlers from the British Isles, predominantly Highland Scots, English, and southern and Ulster Irish. Prior to European settlers, the Mi’kmaq Native Canadians have had an unbroken presence on Prince Edward Island, with about 1,700 living on the island at the beginning of the 21st century. Of particular interest are the ancestors of several hundred British loyalists who settled on the island during and after the American Revolution. Prince Edward Island is often noted for its curiously red soil, which is due to the high iron-oxide content, which simply turns to rust.
Three specific landmarks dominate the design on the reverse side of the collector coin. First of note is Point Prim, the first lighthouse in Prince Edward Island, which was built in 1845, nearly 30 years before joining Canada’s Confederation. This major coastal light protects mariners from the extensive reefs at the entrance to Charlottetown Harbour. The second landmark is the Confederation Bridge, a curved, 12.9-kilometre (8-mile) long bridge that has the distinction of being the longest in the world, crossing ice-covered water. Constructed between 1993 and 1997, it continues to endure as one of Canada’s top engineering achievements of the 20th century. The third and last is the Confederation Trail, the name for a 470-kilometre (290-mile) long recreational and nature trail path, which was developed in the 1990s. The pathway was developed following the abandonment of all railway lines in the province by the Canadian National Railway in December 1989.
The coin is designed by artist Bonnie Ross, whose work features an engraved collage of iconic sights and symbols of Prince Edward Island. The Point Prim Lighthouse appears in the foreground and sits atop the shield from the arms of Prince Edward Island, which is flanked by another official provincial emblem, the lady’s slipper (Cypripedium acaule) flower. Behind the lighthouse and beneath the view of the Confederation Bridge is a map outline of the island that shows the Confederation Trail. Above the bridge is the denomination 20 DOLLARS along the upper rim, and the commemorative text 150 YEARS / ANS is placed to the right of the lighthouse. The obverse features the memorial effigy of the late Queen Elizabeth II (1926–2022) by Susanna Blunt, which also bears a special marking to the left of the portrait that includes four pearls symbolising the four effigies that have graced Canadian coins and the double date of her reign, 1952 and 2022. The year of release, 2023, is shown below the late Queen’s likeness.
|20 dollars||.999 Silver||31.3 g||38 mm||Proof||5,000|
Each coin is encapsulated and is presented in a custom case accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. For more information about these and other coins available from the Royal Canadian Mint, please click here.