To view an elk or wapiti (Cervus canadensis) in the wild is to catch a glimpse of one of Canada’s most majestic animal species. Armed with impressive antlers that give it a stately air, the elk moves through the wilderness with a steady, confident gait as it browses for the vegetation that sustains it throughout the seasons. With this coloured fine silver coin, the Royal Canadian Mint celebrates this wild animal species – one that delights wildlife watchers and contributes to Canada’s rich biodiversity.
The reverse image by Canadian artist Maurade Baynton features a striking portrait of an elk, which is rendered in exquisite detail through expert engraving and selective colour. The majestic, tan-coloured elk stands tall in an open grassland area at the edge of a boreal forest that is resplendent in the green colours of summer. Perhaps hearing a call from a nearby herd or the warning sound of birds suddenly taking flight, the elk’s head is turned to its right as it lifts its gaze upward to the sky; this allows the viewer to glimpse its beautiful facial features in side profile, along with the long, darker-coloured mane that covers the elk’s neck. Its distinctive, wide antlers are prominently displayed in the centre of the image field, where they seem every bit as majestic as the rugged mountain peaks seen in the engraved background.