Often considered the Mother of Confederation, generations of Canadians have celebrated Queen Victoria’s May 24th birthday. This year the Royal Canadian Mint marks the 200th anniversary of Victoria’s birth with a stunning five ounce $50 fine silver coin depicting her 1838 coronation set against the intricate backdrop of Westminster Abbey. While Queen Victoria will always hold an important place in Canadian history, the limited mintage of just 1000 coins is not expected to last long. HST/GST exempt.
The coin features a selective colour and intricately engraved image of Her Majesty Queen Victoria based on the 1838 Coronation portrait by Sir George Hayter. Seated on the richly gilded Homage Chair, Her Majesty wears the red and gold Coronation Robes and the Imperial State Crown, and carries the Sovereign’s Scepter with Cross. The background is an engraved depiction of the site of the coronation ceremony, Westminster Abbey, and is based on an original etching by Wenceslaus Hollar. The obverse features dual effigies of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, together with their Royal Cyphers.
Queen Victoria – 1819-1901:
From 1837 to 1901, Her Majesty Queen Victoria presided over key events in Canadian history. While Her Majesty’s long reign began in the time of the rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada, she is widely remembered as a popular sovereign who modernized the monarchy and presided over the growth of democracy in British colonies such as Canada.
In addition to being a strong supporter of Canadian confederation, Queen Victoria left her mark on both Canadian government and geography. When Toronto and Montreal were both vying to become the national capital of a newly independent Canada, it was Queen Victoria who selected Ottawa as the capital city, being centrally located between the cities of Montreal and Toronto and along the border of Ontario and Quebec (the centre of Canada at the time). The cities of Victoria, B.C., and Regina, Sask. (“Regina” means “Queen” in Latin) are also named after Queen Victoria.
Canada’s annual Victoria Day holiday and celebration dates back to 1845, when a national holiday was declared in honour of Her Majesty Queen Victoria’s birthday (May 24). Upon Her Majesty’s death in 1901, the day was officially named Victoria Day. In 1952, the annual holiday moved to a Monday, either May 24th or the Monday immediately preceding this date. Canada also celebrates the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Victoria Day (although the actual date is April 21).