Canada’s newest $2 commemorative coin features an iconic Haida art image of a grizzly bear by renowned artist Bill Reid. The special wrap roll includes 25 brilliant uncirculated classic engraved versions of the $2 commemorative coin. The coin pays tribute to Bill Reid marking the 100th anniversary of his birth and acknowledges Reid’s contribution for bringing Haida art and Canadian culture to a global audience. Mintage is limited to 5,000 rolls for this classic finish – just one third of the mintage for the coloured coins.
A Haida symbol of strength, Bill Reid’s beloved grizzly bear first appeared on a ceremonial drum crafted in 1988. Two years later, Reid adapted the design for reproduction as silkscreen prints with proceeds benefiting the Artists for Kids Trust. The design was also included with other Bill Reid art on the back of Canada’s $20 banknote introduced in 2004. The Haida Grizzly Bear symbolizes strength and shows the animal from multiple perspectives. It's large flaring nostrils attests to the fierce character of the Grizzly Bear and the protruding tongue symbolizes the oral nature of the Haida people.
Bill Reid: Master goldsmith, sculptor, cultural bridge builder:
Bill Reid (1920-1998) was an acclaimed master goldsmith, carver, sculptor, writer, broadcaster, mentor and community activist. Reid was born in Victoria, BC to a Haida mother and an American father with Scottish German roots, and only began exploring his Haida roots at the age of 23. This journey of discovery lasted a lifetime and shaped Reid's artistic career. He expanded the world’s appreciation for Haida art and influenced new generations of artists. His astounding body of work includes 1,500 pieces ranging from jewellery art to monumental work like The Spirit of Haida Gwaii which has appeared on RCM coins.
Reid became a pivotal force in building bridges between Indigenous people and other peoples. Through his mother, he was a member of the Raven clan from T'aanuu with the wolf as one of his family crests. Raven is known as a mischievous trickster, who also plays an important part in transforming the world. Many of these traits matched Bill Reid's personality. In 2008, the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art was created to honour his legacy and celebrate the diverse indigenous cultures of the Northwest Coast.