Artist Claire Watson holds ‘60 Years of Prominence: The St. Lawrence Seaway’, her first silver coin designed for the Royal Canadian Mint. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

B.C. artist designs coin for Royal Canadian Mint

“I was quite blown away that I won it.”

Tofino illustrator and artist Claire Watson designed a pure silver coin for the Royal Canadian Mint to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

The special edition coin, says Watson, was a venture outside her creative comfort zone, which ultimately led to one of her greatest accomplishments to date.

“I remember getting really excited five years ago when I won the Whale Festival poster. This coin is a bit of an interesting step up,” Watson told the Tofino Westerly News from her floating home, a wooden sailboat called ‘Razmur’.

Last winter, a creative director from the Royal Canadian Mint reached out to Watson to see if she would like to be added to their pool of artists.

“Then, two months later, I got another call asking if I wanted to participate in the contest to submit designs for the Saint Lawrence Seaway,” Watson recalls. “To do the [initial] sketch was pretty simple. I did everything on my iPad with Procreate and a pen. I submitted my design and got a call a few days later saying that I had won it.”

RELATED: ‘Give Peace a Chance’: New silver coin celebrates John Lennon and Yoko Ono

RELATED: New commemorative loonie marks progress’ for LGBTQ2 people

Apparently, notes Watson, it is rare for a first-time contender to be selected.

“I was quite blown away that I won it,” she said.

Located on the east coast of Canada, the Saint Lawrence Seaway is a series of locks, canals, and channels that connects Canadian and American vessels to the Atlantic Ocean. The Seaway opened in 1959 and was hailed one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century.

“The Saint Lawrence Seaway is a vital waterway, serving as a key part of the North American logistics chain and as an important gateway for trade with over 50 nations across the globe,” wrote Terence Bowles, President and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.

Watson’s design provides a water-level view of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, where a ship moves through one of 15 lock systems. A split maple leaf and star symbolizes the Seaway as a partnership between Canada and the United States and the anchor is a special tribute to all who oversee the safe and efficient passage of marine traffic through our waters.

“The Montreal skyline is tucked in there really small. Originally, my design had more landscape in the background, but then I changed it more. It’s amazing how much detail they got in there,” said Watson, who is known for being the Tofino Time magazine’s illustrator queen of the colouring page.

Titled ‘60 years of Prominence: The St. Lawrence Seaway’, the collector’s edition coin can be purchased on mint.ca for $219.95. At the time this article went to press, Watson’s first silver coin was 81 per cent sold out of its 2,000 mintage.

“What do I do from here?” Watson ponders. “I have no idea what the next step is.”



nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Volunteers step up during pandemic to work on Shuswap trails

New Shuswap Memorial Cemetery Trails loop ready to hike and ride

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

B.C. forestry policy and practices challenged at Shuswap rally

Salmon Arm Rally for the Forests one of 16 similar events held Friday

COVID-19 minimizes Okanagan Regional Library budget increase

Library adapts to pandemic fiscal disruptions

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Reward offered for return of Okanagan puppy

An 11-week-old boxer-mastiff cross pup was allegedly taken from Lake Country home Friday, Sept. 18

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Stranger in truck grabs boy walking home from school in Kelowna

The 11-year-old boy escaped the incident, RCMP are investigating

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

‘This is a very difficult sentencing’; Judge delays Okanagan manslaughter trial to next week

The courts heard Friday that Bourque “did not intend to cause harm” but that her actions were “reckless”

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read