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

Abra Brynne wins Kootenay-Columbia Green Party nomination

Brynne is one of three candidates who will challenge MP Wayne Stetski

Stetski talks up NDP election platform

NDP candidate for Kootenay-Columbia riding outlines election ‘commitments’ to Canadian voters

Rossland council passes plastic bag ban despite legal questions

Appeal court ruling threw bylaw in limbo, but council voted to move forward

Nelson’s Walgren added to B.C.’s speed skating team

Walgren will compete at next year’s Special Olympic Speed Skating Nationals

Police call Appledale death a homicide

But few other details being released

VIDEO: Reports say Lashana Lynch is the new 007

Daniel Craig will reprise his role as Bond one last time

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Graphic suicide scene edited out of ‘13 Reasons Why’ finale

Suicide prevention groups support the decision

Nine kittens and cats rescued after being locked in bins in northern B.C.: SPCA

SPCA says cats were starving, and matted with feces and urine

High-speed rail link would run from Vancouver to Seattle in under 1 hour: study

Annual ridership is projected to exceed three million

ICBC insurance renewals get more complicated this year

Crash history, driver risk prompt more reporting requirements

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Most Read