Cabinet OKs plan for Mint to craft special toonies to mark D-Day anniversary

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OTTAWA — The Royal Canadian Mint is creating two commemorative coins to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The Liberal cabinet approved the design of the new toonies, one of which will have multiple colours instead of the usual two-toned coin, to commemorate a key turning point in the Second World War.

On June 6, 1944 a combined force of about 150,000 Allied troops, made up of largely of Canadian, American and British soldiers, stormed the beaches on France’s Normandy coast, coming up against Nazi troops in concrete fortified gun positions.

About 14,000 Canadians were involved in the assault, known as Operation Overlord. Canada also contributed some 110 ships and 15 fighter and bomber squadrons.

On D-Day, 359 Canadians died as they ran from boats onto Juno Beach and more than 1,000 were injured.

The invasion marked the start of months of fighting to free France from Nazi occupation and would eventually lead to victory in Europe.

The Mint regularly creates commemorative coins to mark these kinds of anniversaries, having done so earlier this year with three million limited-edition toonies to mark the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War in 1918.

And in 2014, for the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the Mint created a commemorative silver coin depicting soldiers in full battle gear disembarking a landing craft towards Juno Beach. But the Mint only created 8,400 of the coins, for collectors. The new toonies are to be “circulation” coins, used as regular money.

Alex Reeves, a spokesman for the Mint, said the Crown corporation couldn’t discuss the new coins because it doesn’t disclose information beyond what is published in official notices prior to the launch of a new commemorative coin.

The government order says the D-Day toonies will have an image of four soldiers and one sailor, all wearing helmets and one holding a rifle, in a landing craft at Juno Beach.

The helmet of the middle soldier will be olive green on the coloured toonie.

There will also be renderings of a Canadian destroyer, barrage balloon and Spitfire fighter planes.

The terms “D-Day” and “Remember,” along with the French “Le Jour J” and “Souvenir” will be inscribed around the coins.

Separately, the Liberals have also approved a commemorative loonie to mark the 50th anniversary of Parliament’s decriminalizing homosexual acts.

Up until 1969, sexual acts between consenting same-sex adults were deemed crimes in Canada and punishable by jail time.

The loonie to be created by the Mint will have two faces overlapping to create one face, with a small hoop earring on the left ear, surrounded by wavy and curved lines, the official posting says.

The words “Equality” and the French “Egalite” will be inscribed on the coin along with the year.

The Canadian Press