The Polar Medal consists of a silver octagonal medal that is 36 mm in diameter with a suspension bar adorned with a representation of the North Star, with limbs evoking strong winds, water currents and the aurora borealis.
The obverse depicts a contemporary effigy of the Sovereign, circumscribed with the inscription in capital letters of the Canadian Royal Title and the word “CANADA”, separated by two maple leaves. The edge of the obverse is decorated with small denticles. The reverse bears a representation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police schooner St. Roch depicted in the Arctic near a tall iceberg and two crew members standing on the ice. The medal is suspended from a watered white ribbon that is 32 mm in width. Each subsequent award of the Medal to the same person will be indicated by a bar, which will be in silver with raised edges and bear a centred silver maple leaf.
The design of the Polar Medal was created by the Canadian Heraldic Authority, as part of the Chancellery of Honours, based on a concept by Major Carl Gauthier of the Directorate of Honours and Recognition section of the Department of National Defence. The medal is manufactured by the Royal Canadian Mint at its Ottawa facility.