20 dollar coin canada

Canada just came out with a new $20 coin

Canada now has a new $20 coin.

The Royal Canadian Mint has released a new coin that shines a light on Black history in Canada that you may not know about.

In conjunction with Black History Month, starting in February, the Mint created the 2023 $20 Fine Silver Coin – Commemorating Black History.

It honours the service and sacrifice of the members of No. 2 Construction Battalion, the first and only all-Black battalion-sized unit in Canadian military history.

20 dollar coin canada

The newly minted coin pays homage to Black Canadians that served in the First World War. Source: Royal Canadian Mint

"The remarkable legacy"

At the beginning of the First World War, hundreds of Black Canadians tried to enlist for Canada, but many were rejected due to anti-Black racism.

After years of persistent lobbying, No. 2 Construction Battalion was created in 1916.

They served alongside the Canadian Forestry Corps in the forests of France, helping with lumber and milling operations like loading and transporting finished timber by rail.

This timber was critical to the war effort as it helped line trenches, support observation posts and construct aircraft.

A few battalion members even fought and suffered casualties while serving with other Canadian Expeditionary Force units.

"These brave men had to fight for the right to serve, they provided valuable logistical support to the frontlines," said Russell Grosse, executive director of the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia, in a statement.

"This coin commemorates the remarkable legacy of No. 2 and builds on the formal apology that was given by the Government of Canada this past summer to ensure that this important history is remembered."

Grosse is referring to the formal apology that descendants of the battalion successfully campaigned for.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of National Defence Anita Anand delivered the apology for the racism and discrimination experienced by battalion members in Truro, Nova Scotia, on July 9, 2022.

The design

The striking coin, designed by artist Kwame Delfish, features a soldier of No. 2 Construction Battalion standing at attention between two railroad tracks on the "tails" side.

His battalion’s cap badge is prominently displayed on his right, adjacent to a landscape of France’s Jura region, where the battalion assisted with logging and building a railroad.

To his left, battalion comrades march in a parade before their March 1917 deployment to Europe.

20 dollar coin canada

The new coin features a solider standing in between railroad tracks. Source: Royal Canadian Mint

"The existence and accomplishments of the men of No. 2 Construction Battalion is another part of Canadian history that is to be acknowledged, celebrated and honoured -forever," said artist Kwame Delfish in a statement.

"I hope I was able to capture these honourable men in a way that represents their strength and resilience while also raising awareness about the important role that No. 2 Construction Battalion had in the Canadian armed forces."

The "heads" side of the coin features the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II set against the backdrop of a repeating maple leaf pattern.

20 dollar coin canada

The coin pays tribute to the Late Queen Elizabeth II. Source: Royal Canadian Mint

You can buy the 2023 $20 Fine Silver Coin Commemorating Black History on the Mint’s site for $99.95.

It's a limited edition with only 5,500 coins minted and available for purchase.

If you're an avid coin collector, you can also check out this $5 coin the Mint released in honour of Queen Elizabeth.

Lead photo by

Kris Pangilinan

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