An Altona-area resident was on hand at the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg earlly this week for the unveiling of a new coin sporting the likeness of King Charles III.

Callum Morrison says it started with a phone call from The Monarchist League of Canada.

"Essentially, they were allowed to have so many people to go to the ceremony, uh, members of the public. I have, obviously, a history where I've done this sort of thing before related to the monarchy. I put on a party for the King's coronation and the Queen’s 70th Jubilee, and I am a lifelong member of the Monarchist League. I'm guessing that's one of the reasons why they ended up choosing me."

Once guests were dressed in the proper safety gear and passed a security check, the group was seated to witness the unveiling of a replica of the new currency.

"When it was time for the striking, the President of the Mint - who came out from Ottawa - had to quickly turn on the machine so just one {coin]we go through," explained Morrison. "Then there's sort of a scrum to go in and see the coin. And then of course everyone wanted to have their photo taken."

Mint President and CEO Marie Lemay struck the first $1 Canadian coin to bear the King’s likeness, marking the first time in 70 years that a new monarch’s face graces a coin in Canada.

Having collected coins as a young boy made this a very especially interesting experience for Morrison.

"There's something almost eternal with them in the sense that you can still look and hold coins from the Roman Empire if you came across them. Whereas other mediums of our culture don't last as long. The fact that in your pocket today you'll be seeing coins which are, you know, 50, 60, 70 years old. I've been in Canada since 2017. I've found quarters which have the Queen's Father on them. Something which we may not think about quite often, the coins in our pocket, they will be with us for such a long time. It will be an image that we will all be familiar with for some time to come." 

The image on the newly minted coin was designed by Montreal-based artist Steven Rosati and was approved by the king himself.

The new loonie bearing the likeness of King Charles

The event took place on the day King Charles turned 75 years old.

Morrison thought the king 's likeness looked very human.

"I’m sure it was like a little birthday present. I like the way that they showed all the imperfections that comes with aging. It's the reality and it makes it kind of sympathetic and caring portrayal of someone who I believe wants to be seen as a sympathetic figure. He's not wearing a crown, of course. It just seemed like a very relatable image, which I think is fantastic. I particularly love that unlike all the other realms that I'm aware of, Canada is the only country which makes its own image of the king separate to what Britain does. One of my favorite bits of the day is I got to take a loonie home with me. It was official, don't worry, I didn't just put in my pocket."

Morrison received a new loonie as a memento of the occasion.

"Hopefully, it will keep shiny and will remind me of the very, very small part that I played in the event."

Canadians can expect to begin seeing a small number of $1 coins featuring the new portrait of the King starting in December.

With files from Candace Derksen

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