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

Nail-biter win caps successful tournament for senior Mustangs

‘They were making junior mistakes — but that’s okay,’ says coach

Film club holds birthday bash for 75-year-old Hope Cinema

Hollywood starlet Judy Garland will grace the big screen in Hope on Dec. 19

Waterworks plan in final steps, says Hope District

Council approves borrowing of $1.8 million, upping water bills almost $50 a year

Petition for free menstrual products turned over to UFV president

Almost 1,300 signatures collected calling for all campus bathrooms to be stocked

New hiking trail to be built overlooking Hope

Waterfalls, rocky outcrops featured in new trail near Silver Creek

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

VIDEO: Giants edged out by Everett

Another case where Vancouver outshot an opponent, but couldn’t get past the other goalie

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Surrey councillor wants the policing transition process to ‘immediately stop’

Brenda Locke to make motion at Dec. 16 meeting to reconsider current plan

UPDATE: Highway 1 reopens after vehicle incident near Boston Bar

Initial reports of a jack-knifed semi truck had closed both directions of the highway

Most Read