Canada's New $1 Coin Has A Splash Of Colour & The Loonie Honours The 'Queen Of The Hurricanes'

You could find this new loonie with red, blue, green and brown hues in your change soon!

​Canadian loonies and toonies in a pile.
Senior Creator

Canadian loonies and toonies in a pile.

Canada is getting a new coin to celebrate the country's very own "Queen of the Hurricanes" and the loonie features a unique colourful design.

On August 1, 2023, the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled this special new $1 circulation coin to honour Elsie MacGill , "an exceptional Canadian who broke barriers as an engineer and leading advocate of women's rights."

If you don't know her, MacGill is credited as the first woman in Canada to graduate with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering which she received from the University of Toronto in 1927.

Then, in 1929, she became the first woman in North America to graduate with a master's degree in aeronautical engineering and in 1938, was the first woman in Canada to become a practicing engineer.

MacGill is also credited as the first North American woman, but possibly the first woman in the entire world, to design an aircraft that was produced under her direction: the Maple Leaf Trainer II.

After accepting a position as chief engineer at the Canadian Car and Foundry plant back in 1938, MacGill played a key role in retooling the factory for the production of Hawker Hurricanes.

The Canadian-made Hawker Hurricane fighter planes that she helped create were used during WWII by the Allied forces.

Her wartime contribution earned her the nickname "Queen of the Hurricanes."

MacGill also spearheaded improvements for the cold-weather performance of the fighter jets by designing adaptations like ski landing gears and de-icing capabilities. How very Canadian!

The Royal Canadian Mint shared that the artwork appearing on the new 2023 $1 circulation coin is the creation of Claire Watson, an artist from Tofino, B.C.

It features MacGill holding a pair of rolled-up blueprints as the Maple Leaf Trainer II is flying above her.

Also, beside her is the Hawker Hurricane fighter plane that she helped produce for the Allied war effort in WWII.

Surrounded by the classic gold colour of the loonie, the plane is coloured with green and brown hues representing military camo and with blue and red accents.

Her name, "Elsie MacGill", is engraved beneath the fighter plane.

The design also includes an Engineer's Iron Ring on her hand that's holding the blueprint to commemorate her being the first woman elected to the Engineering Institute of Canada.

There is a lapel pin on her suit jacket which symbolizes her work as a women's rights advocate with the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs.

Since this is a commemorative coin, there is a limited mintage of the new $1 honouring MacGill, according to the Royal Mint.

Two million of these coins will be coloured, featuring the green, brown, blue and red hues on the Hawker Hurricane fighter plane.

Then, the other one million MacGill loonies that are minted will be completely gold just like other $1 coins in Canada.

These coins started going into circulation as of August 1, 2023, and you can find them in your change as bank branches and businesses replenish their inventories of $1 coins.

These new coins honouring MacGill will still have Queen Elizabeth's effigy on the obverse side instead of a portrait of the new king.

Following the coronation of the king earlier this year, it was revealed that the federal government tasked the Royal Canadian Mint with designing and putting an effigy of King Charles III on all new Canadian coins .

The Mint said that engravers and coin artists will be invited to participate in a design process for the new effigy.

King Charles' profile on new coins will face left which is the opposite direction of Queen Elizabeth II 's portrait that appears on nickels, dimes, quarters, loonies and toonies.

While there isn't an exact date for when the new design will be unveiled or when you'll be able to find a King Charles coin in your change, the Royal Canadian Mint said it's expected to be revealed to Canadians in the fall.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Lisa Belmonte
Senior Creator
Lisa Belmonte is a Senior Creator for Narcity Media focused on jobs and careers and is based in Ontario.