A New Canadian $1 Coin Will Honour Montreal Jazz Legend Oscar Peterson

The new loonie enters circulation later this month!

Senior Editor
New Canadian $1 coin commemorating Montreal jazz legend Oscar Peterson.

New Canadian $1 coin commemorating Montreal jazz legend Oscar Peterson.

The Royal Canadian Mint has unveiled a new $1 coin (loonie) that commemorates Montreal-born jazz legend and eight-time Grammy Award winner Oscar Peterson.

The coin, designed by artist Valentine De Landro, shows Peterson playing the piano with musical notes emerging from his hands and wrapping around the instrument. The notes, according to a press release, are the final bars of Peterson's song, "Hymn to Freedom."

The loonie enters circulation on August 15. There will be three million total. Two million of them will include a background in purple, said to be the musician's favourite colour. The coin is also available online for collectors to purchase.

Mint President and CEO Marie Lemay says Peterson will be the first Canadian musician to be featured on a circulation coin.

"Throughout Oscar's career, he received many awards and honours, each of which meant a great deal to him," Kelly Peterson said in the release.

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"During the nearly fifteen years since his passing, there have been more. All of them humbling. All of them a source of pride. The addition of this commemorative circulation coin bearing his likeness is something neither he nor I could ever have imagined."

"Knowing that Canadians now, and for generations to come, will hold this coin and be reminded of Oscar Peterson or be inspired to learn about him for the first time evokes emotions challenging to describe."

Peterson is honoured locally with a park bearing his name near Georges-Vanier metro station in his home neighbourhood of Little Burgundy.

In 2021, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante announced that the forthcoming grand public square replacing a part of avenue McGill College downtown will also be called Place Oscar-Peterson.

The announcement followed a failed petition to rename Lionel-Groulx metro station in his honour.

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