Happy early 20th, Nunavut


The work of Pangnirtung artist Andrew Qappik is featured on a new collectible coin minted from gold mined in Nunavut in advance of the territory’s 20th anniversary next year.

photo courtesy of Royal Canadian Mint
Andrew Qappik has designed a new collectible coin for the Royal Canadian Mint made entirely of Nunavut gold mined at Hope Bay and Meadowbank.

Qappik has previously designed four gold coins for the Royal Canadian Mint, including two 25 cent coins in 2017, but this is a first imprinted on Nunavut gold.

The coin is crafted from 99.99 per cent pure gold mined at TMAC Resources’ mine at Hope Bay and by Agnico Eagle Mines’ Meadowbank mine near Baker Lake, according to a news release.

“We are honoured that gold from our Meadowbank mine is part of the Royal Canadian Mint’s special Symbols of the North collectible gold coin,” stated vice-chair and chief executive officer for Agnico Sean Boyd.

“Our Inuit employees, suppliers and partners can all take great pride in knowing that they have participated in making this unique coin that celebrates their heritage and culture.”

Qappik says he submitted several renditions of animals because “they are strong symbols that represent the North.”

He chose the walrus, ptarmigan, polar bear, bowhead whale and narwhal, which are framed within the outline of a maple leaf.

“It’s been an honour,” said Qappik. “I feel privileged they want to see my work more than once now.”

Qappik is the artist who designed Nunavut’s coat of arms, for which he was made a member of the Order of Canada, and logos for the Government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

His print work is available through the Pangnirtung Print Shop at the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts in Pangnirtung.

The 2018 $20 coin has a limited mintage of 1,500 and retails for $359, according to the release.

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Michele LeTourneau first arrived at NNSL's headquarters in Yellowknife in1998, with a BA honours in Theatre. For four years she documented the arts across the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Following a very short stint as a communications officer with the Government of the Northwest Territories, Michele spent a decade at a community-based environmental monitoring board in the mining industry, where she worked with Inuit, Chipewyan, Tlicho, Yellowknives Dene and Metis elders to help develop traditional knowledge and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit contributions for monitoring and management plans. She rejoined NNSL and moved to Iqaluit in May 2014 to write for Nunavut News. Michele has received a dozen awards for her work with NNSL.