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

Just Posted

Block party at Northern View Cannery Road Race

Terrace family top the podium in each of their racing categories

Stolen property recovered

Police briefs from Sept. 9-11

Terrace couple wins Lotto Max

Money to be put towards retirement and motorcycle trip

Skeena Paddle Club awarded $2K grant for youth program

Sessions teach residents how to canoe, kayak

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

The Northern View announces inaugural Tyee Fishing Derby in Prince Rupert

More than $7,000 up for grabs for biggest legal salmon and halibut

‘This is where the movement is going to start’: Jessica Patrick remembered at memorial march

The march commemorates the one-year anniversary of the 18-year-old’s unsolved death

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

Most Read