Great Seal of the Province of Canada (1841-1867), 10 oz. Pure Silver Coin, 2019 Royal Canadian Mint
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The design for this coin comes from an important moment in Canada's past. The official seal it is based on was created when Britain's two major Canadian colonies were brought together under a single government for the first time. The images in the design build on the separate seals of Upper Canada (now Ontario) and Lower Canada (now Quebec) and use popular Victorian imagery—all showcased in stunning detail on a large-format fine silver coin.
Before 1841, Upper and Lower Canada each had their own seals. The Great Seal of the Province of Canada placed these seals side-by-side, held up by two allegorical figures with their arms around each other's shoulders. Over top of the entire scene is the Royal Arms of Queen Victoria, held by the lion representing England and the unicorn representing Scotland. Every element in this detailed design is symbolic. Here are some of the important symbols:
- Lower Canada seal (engraved by Thomas Major in 1793): A graceful oak tree on the bank of a river overlooking several ships at anchor, with a typical Quebecois town featuring a church steeple in the background.
- Upper Canada seal (from when the province was established in 1792): A peace-pipe or calumet crossed with a sword and an anchor and bound by an olive crown. The Union Jack is visible in the upper right-hand corner and two cornucopia decorate the bottom. Topping the design, to the left of the Union Jack, is the Royal Crown.
- The royal arms of Queen Victoria (1837): Victoria's shield, held up by the lion (England) and the unicorn (Scotland).
- Two allegorical figures: A common practice during this era was to embody political entities like countries or provinces as a Grecian-style female figure. In this image, two graceful ladies embrace each other with one hand while holding up the seals of Upper and Lower Canada with the other.
- Floral ornamentations: The seal is decorated throughout with the Scottish thistle, English rose, and Irish shamrock.
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