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NWT refusing to play Canada’s coin design game

A day before the deadline, the Northwest Territories is the only Canadian region without an entry into a national coin design contest.

The Royal Canadian Mint is running a competition in which anyone can submit new designs for each of the five Canadian coins.

The winners receive a $2,000 prize and will see their designs minted on Canadian currency from 2017 – the year of Canada’s 150th birthday.

Yet nobody in the NWT seems interested.

Enter the contest: Visit mint.ca/canada150

“The response is going very well across the country, but we do not have any entries yet from the Northwest Territories,” admitted Christine Aquino of the Royal Canadian Mint.

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“We hope they’re just thinking about this and putting a lot of time and effort into it. There’s so much to be inspired by, there. We’ve reached out to schools in the Northwest Territories as well – we know there’s some great talent.”

The contest closes at 9pm mountain time on Thursday, April 30.

Designs are split into five categories.

Four are open to anyone. They are:

  • Our Wonders (Canada’s beauty, from nature to monuments)
  • Our Character (Values or principles which define Canadian identity)
  • Our Achievements (Discoveries, exploration or victories)
  • Our Passions (From culture to sports, to pastimes)

The fifth category, Our Future, is reserved for children aged 12 and under. That category’s winning design will appear on the 25-cent coin.

“We’ve received hundreds of entries in the last couple days. There is still time to do it,” insisted Aquino.

“It really is an honour to have your design featured on a coin. It’s a very rare opportunity. We only do this once a generation.”

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Mint employees will help to create shortlists once the deadline has passed, then a celebrity panel – featuring the likes of astronaut Chris Hadfield – will narrow down the list to five finalists per category.

In September, Canadians will be asked to vote for their favourite designs.

So what will help you win?

“One thing to keep in mind is you’re designing for a very small canvas. Your design could end up on a dime. We’re looking for something simple,” Aquino told Moose FM.

More info: Royal Canadian Mint design tips (pdf)

“Don’t spend a lot of time on colour – this is in black and white, there’s not a lot of colour on coins.

“Your design has to pop, and it has to relate to as many Canadians as possible. When they’re voting, they’re going to look for designs they identify with.”

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