2021 $20 Commemorating Black History: The Black Loyalists - Pure Silver Coin

SKU: 623932105447

RCM Number:
Country: Canada
Year: 2021

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The Royal Canadian Mint’s Commemorating Black History series honours the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present, whose achievements and struggles are an important part of Canada’s story and its journey towards greater inclusion and diversity. This fine silver coin honours the Black Loyalists who re-settled in present-day Canada during the late 18th century. On its reverse, the armorial bearings of the Black Loyalist Heritage Society symbolize the past and present; they represent the proud legacy forged by these early Black settlers, whose trials and tribulations are an important part of Canada’s story.

The coin’s reverse features the armorial bearings of the Black Loyalist Heritage Society granted in 2006 by the Canadian Heraldic Authority and designed by Darrel E. Kennedy, Assiniboine Herald.

On the shield, three Loyalist civil coronets represent the non-combatants who fled to British North America (Canada), while the ship’s wheel represents both the past (the ships landing in 1783) and the present (the Society’s focus on community development). The lion supporters symbolize the pride of Africa and the courage demonstrated by those who sought a better life in Nova Scotia. Beneath the shield, the province is represented by its official floral emblem, the mayflower, while the rock symbolizes the landings near Birchtown, N.S. The anchor in the crest honours the sacrifices of the families who undertook the journey, which is represented by the footprints in the mantling. The motto “THE HEART OF YOUR KNOWLEDGE IS IN YOUR ROOTS” speaks to the Society members’ interest in their heritage.

The armorial bearings are flanked by maple leaves. The obverse features a repeating maple leaf field pattern and the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.

The Black Loyalist Experience
Before, during and after the American Revolution, hundreds of Black Loyalists settled in the Niagara Peninsula, along the St. Lawrence River, and in the Eastern Townships. But the large majority of Black Loyalists, roughly 3,000 of them, landed in Nova Scotia and present-day New Brunswick in 1783. They settled in areas such as Halifax, Annapolis Royal, Fort Cumberland, Shelburne, Port Mouton, Saint John, and along the Saint John River; they also established communities in Tracadie and in Birchtown, N.S., then the largest settlement of free Black people outside of Africa.

For many Black Loyalists, the promise of a better life went unfulfilled: climate and agricultural conditions here were harsh; the land grant system favoured white Loyalists; and unemployment, lower wages and discrimination were the norm. Tensions mounted in some places, and in 1784, a mob of disbanded soldiers targeted Black Loyalists in Birchtown and Shelburne, N.S., in the first recorded race riot in North America.

Disillusioned, about 1,200 Black Loyalists left Nova Scotia in 1792 to build a new life in the West African country of Sierra Leone. Those who remained in British North America helped re-define Canada’s history and character, and today, the descendants of Black Loyalists can lay claim to an extraordinary legacy of courage and perseverance.


Produced By: RCM
Denomination: 20 Dollars
Year: 2021

Diameter: 38mm
Material: Silver
Fineness: 0.9999
Weight: 31.39 grams
Bullion Weight: 1.0075 Troy Ounces

Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II
Finish: Proof
Quantity Produced: 5500
Monarch: Queen Elizabeth II

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