Majestic, powerful and hauntingly silent in flight, the Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) embodies the enigmatic nature of Canada’s distant Arctic. It is one of the largest owl species, and contrary to common belief, can see equally well day or night; an ability that is particularly important for this northern resident that must hunt under the midnight sun of the Arctic summer.
The reverse design is by Canadian artist Trevor Tennant and features a breathtaking scene of a Snowy Owl flying close to the ground in search of a meal. The grass, open water and exposed hills in the background clearly show it is summer, a painfully brief season in the North that explodes with life. The Snowy Owl has been so finely engraved that the powerful gaze of its signature eyes is unmistakeable, and the wings convey varying shades of colour to reveal that the owl on this coin is a female. Unlike the all-white male, a female’s plumage has dark brown bars to provide critical camouflage while nesting on exposed ground.