Canada: 25th Anniversary Of Nunavut Territory Marked With Release Of New Silver Proof Coins

The Royal Canadian Mint have released new silver proof coins marking the 25th anniversary of Canada’s newest territory.

by Michael Alexander | Published on June 19, 2024

This year marks an important milestone in the creation of the Territory of Nunavut and its formal status which was achieved on the 1st April 1999. Upon its creation, Nunavut – an Inuktut word meaning ‘Our Land’ was made the largest Indigenous land claim settlement in recent Canadian history, encompassing one-fifth of Canada’s total land mass and also became the largest and northernmost Territory.

During the 1970s, as part of the land claims negotiations between the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada and the federal government, the parties discussed division of the Northwest Territories to provide a separate territory for the Inuit. As a result of these negotiations, a plebiscite on division was held throughout the Northwest Territories on the 14th April 1982. Nearly 85% of the residents voted in favour and the federal government gave a conditional agreement seven months later. The land claims agreement was completed in September 1992 and on the 9th July 1993, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act and the Nunavut Act were passed by the Canadian Parliament. The transition to establish Nunavut Territory was completed on the 1st April 1999.

Nunavut is the least densely populated major country sub-division in the world with a population of 36,858 consisting mostly of Inuit, as of the 2021 Canadian census. Nunavut's land area of 1,836,993.78 sq. kilometres or, 709,267.26 sq. miles is equal to a land mass almost as large as Mexico but is also home to the world's northernmost continuously inhabited place. The territory is administered from Nunavut’s capital city of Iqaluit - formerly known as Frobisher Bay since 1987 on Baffin Island in the east, and was chosen by a capital plebiscite in 1995. With just under 7500 residents, it is also Nunavut’s largest settlement in terms of population.

In 2002, Nunavut along with Greenland, co-hosted the first jointly hosted Arctic Winter Games with an Arctic Winter Games Arena constructed in Iqaluit for the event. In February 2010, Canada’s government designated Iqaluit as host of the finance meeting as part of the G-7 summit. Most recently and on the 29th July 2022, Pope Francis visited Iqaluit to meet with a group of former residential school alumni during his penitential apostolic visit to Canada. Francis became the first Pope to visit Nunavut and the Arctic region.

The reverse side of the proof coins are designed by Inuk artist Aija Komangapik, born and raised in Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut. Her interpretation Nunavut is represented by an Inuit mother figure who holds over her head a ring representing the midnight sun which in turn, allows her to cradle and shelter Nunavummiut, as they dance to Nunavut’s heartbeat while nestled in a traditional amauti, used to hold Inuit infants. The primary design is surrounded as a border of markings inspired by kakiniit, traditional Inuit tattoos. To the left is the text NUNAVUT and ᓄᓇᕗᑦ in both Western and Inuit script. The year of release 2024 is shown just to the lower right portion. The obverse side includes an effigy of HM King Charles III and is the work of Canadian artist Steven Rosati. The King is shown facing to the left surrounded by the legend CHARLES III D G REX. The coin’s denomination 20 DOLLARS is placed just under the King’s likeness.

DenominationMetalWeightDiameterQualityMaximum Mintage
20 Dollars99.99 Silver31.3 g.38 mm.Proof5,000

Each coin is encapsulated and presented in a custom case accompanied with a certificate of authenticity. For additional information, please visit the e-webshop of the Royal Canadian Mint.

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Author: Michael Alexander

Michael Alexander image Michael’s background in both numismatics and banknotes spans more than three decades and whose activities have varied from being a dedicated world coin collector to coin & medal design, marketing, theme concept and production. His additional interests include banknote research and in 1997, he founded the London Banknote and Monetary Research Centre to further these interests and activities. The company continues to offer monthly currency bulletins to both online and printed publications which includes information about the latest banknote news and releases from Central Banks and Monetary Authorities around the world. Michael has been a contributor to COIN NEWS magazine based in the UK since 1998 where many of his in-depth interviews, articles and bulletins have been published.

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