Description of obverse and reverse
The coin’s massive size (180 mm) is complemented by the reverse image of renowned Canadian artist Bill Reid’s monumental sculpture, The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Black Canoe. The original bronze statue, which took Reid five years to build, was his largest and most complex work—standing more than 3.89 metres high and weighing 4,900 kg.
The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, by Susanna Blunt.
The coin’s reverse image reveals in stunning detail Reid’s massive Haida canoe filled with thirteen powerful human and animal figures from Haida myth, locked in intricate relation to represent the journey all living beings share in their eternal journey toward an unknown— and perhaps unknowable—destination.
A brief annotation
This coin celebrates Bill Reid, an eminent Haida sculptor, carver, and master goldsmith, and one of Canada’s greatest artists. Born in 1920 to a Scottish-German father and a mother who was a member of the Haida First Nation, Reid lived with a passion for the Haida art tradition. Over the course of his life, he created more than 1,500 exceptional works. The sculpture featured on this coin is considered his masterpiece.
The Spirit of Haida Gwaii is also depicted on the back of Canada’s $20 note (2001-2004 Series, Canadian Journey) to represent the theme “Arts and Culture.”