Voyageur and Indian in Canoe, Canada


Voyageur and Indian in Canoe

The reverse depicts a voyageur sharing an Algonquin-style freight canoe with his Indian guide. The Indian, the more experienced canoeist, sits in the bow to choose the path for the canoe, so as to avoid the rocks. On the floor of the canoe rest two large bundles of cargo, the front one of which bears the incuse letters HB for Hudson’s Bay Company. The canoe passes an island on which there are two wind-swept pine trees. The vertical lines in the background represent the brilliant varicolored northern lights (Aurora Borealis) that are common in the northern reaches of the continent. (Aurora was the Roman goddess of dawn, Boreas was the Greek god of the north wind.) The initials of the designer, the sculptor Emanuel (Immanuel Otto) Hahn (1881-1957), appear in the water below the left end of the canoe. The design remained in use for more than 50 years (1935-1987).

Note: The “voyageur and Indian in canoe” design was to be used for the smaller sized aureate bronze-plated nickel 1-dollar circulation coin that was introduced in 1987. However, the master dies for both the obverse and the reverse of the new coins disappeared in 1986 in transit from the head office and engraving facilities of the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa to its coin production plant in Winnipeg. For security reasons it was decided to substitute another design for that of the voyageur. The image of a swimming loon was selected, which had been submitted and rejected in 1978 for a 100-dollar gold coin. The mystery of the disappearance of the voyageur dies remains unsolved.