The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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A Historic Reign

Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston hosted a special event at Rideau Hall in celebration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becoming the longest-reigning sovereign in Canada’s modern era. "Today, we mark a milestone moment in Canadian history. But today is less about longevity than about the strength of The Queen’s dedication to Canada, and the dignity with which she comports herself," said the Governor General. Three commemorative pieces were unveiled on this special occasion. The Governor General and Mr. Richard Wall, Chief of Currency of the Bank of Canada, unveiled  a new $20 polymer bank note.  His Excellency then helped Mrs. Siân Matthews, Chairperson of the Board of Directors and Chairperson of the Strategic Initiatives Oversight of Canada Post, unveil a commemorative stamp. Finally, the Governor General and Mr. Claude Bennett, Member of the Board of Directors of the Royal Canadian Mint, unveiled a new coin commemorating this historic reign.

Commemorative Unveilings

On September 9, 2015, at a ceremony held in the Ballroom of Rideau Hall, the Bank of Canada, Canada Post and the Royal Canadian Mint together unveiled their contributions to mark The Queen’s historic reign. A legal tender bank note, a commemorative stamp, and a limited edition coin serve to demonstrate Her Majesty's lasting impact on Canada. Each of these commemorative media has a special connection to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The subtlety of the Bank of Canada's special-issue bank note demonstrates just how effectively Her Majesty's legacy permeates Canadian society. This legal, circulating bank note is not the premier appearance of Her Majesty on Canadian currency. The first time Queen Elizabeth II appeared on Canadian currency was in 1935, when she was still a princess at the age of nine.

The commemorative international-rate stamp features two photographs of The Queen. The stamp represents how Her Majesty has grown with Canada. A black-and-white photo, taken by Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh in April 1953, shows The Queen just two months prior to her coronation. It appears alongside a colour photograph of Her Majesty during the 2010 Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa.

The Royal Canadian Mint features the Royal Cyphers of both Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen first began appearing on Canadian coins in 1953 after her ascension to the Throne. In the place of a crown, she was depicted with a laurel wreath. It was only one year after Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee visit to Canada in 2002, that a renewed, crownless effigy of The Queen was revealed on Canadian coins.

Did you know?

  • The Royal Canadian Mint’s new commemorative coin features the Royal Cyphers of both Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. Beneath them is a motto ribbon which proclaims “VIVAT REGINA”, meaning “LONG LIVE THE QUEEN.” Together, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II have reigned during 96 of Canada’s 148 years since Confederation.
  • Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has been featured on more than 60 stamps issued by Canada Post and its predecessor, the Canadian Post Office Department. In 1977, on the occasion of Her Majesty’s Silver Jubilee (25 years on the Throne), the department issued a stamp using silver foiling for the denomination. This was the first time such a material was used on a Canadian stamp.
  • One of the first stamps to feature Queen Elizabeth II, issued on May 1, 1953, was based on a photograph by Yousuf Karsh. These stamps were implemented to slowly phase out the use of stamps depicting her father, the late King George VI.

Photo credit: Herman Herbert Schwartz based on a photography by Yousuf Karsh, May 1, 1953 / Canadian Bank Note Company; Library and Archives Canada POSTAL 0314

Date modified: July 18, 2017