Sometime on Monday Canada’s Mint began issuing the brand new $1 Oscar – the first circulating Canadian coin to bear the likeness of a Black Canadian. The $1 commemorative coin is all about celebrating the artistic legacy of the late Oscar Peterson.
Called "the man with four hands" by jazz great and admirer Louis Armstrong, Oscar Peterson rose to the top of the music world through more than six decades of electrifying piano performances. The coin began circulating on Monday, August 15, to coincide with his birthday.
Peterson was born in Montreal in 1925 to immigrants from St. Kitts and the British Virgin Islands) -- his father worked as a porter for Canadian Pacific Railway. Oscar Peterson passed away in Mississauga back in 2007. He was 82-years old.
According to the Royal Canadian Mint the Oscar Peterson commemorative circulation coin was designed by artist Valentine De Landro, an accomplished comic book artist, illustrator, and designer from Ajax, Ontario. His design features Oscar Peterson at the piano, with his hands in full motion, from which emerges a flowing musical scale showing two closing bars of his famous Hymn to Freedom. Mr. Peterson's name completes the design.
The Oscar Peterson circulation coin is limited to a mintage of three million coins, of which two million feature a purple accent, Oscar Peterson's favourite colour. It will reach Canadians through their change as bank branches and businesses replenish their inventories of $1 circulation coins.