Some of the most fascinating coins issued by Royal Canadian Mint recount our history and tell fascinating stories of our past. This 2022 $20 fine silver coin honours the flight to freedom of those who “rode” the Underground Railroad to Canada, a safe haven after slavery was abolished here on August 1, 1834. Mintage is limited to 5,500. HST/GST exempt.
From the early 1800s through 1865, at least 30,000 enslaved people of African descent fled to British North America by way of a covert network of routes and safe houses. Many of these freedom seekers—men, women and children—travelled by foot, and often at night to avoid re-capture. Once in Canada, they found refuge in Black communities and settled in parts of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, where they were secure in their freedom, although not free from discrimination.
Designed by Canadian artist Kwame Delfish, your coin’s reverse is an ode to the “Gospel Train” or Underground Railroad. The placement of men, women and children along the coin’s edge creates a sense of circular motion to represent a long, continuous journey. The tall trees and rocky terrain are a reminder of some of the challenges they faced in the wilderness, where they often battled the elements while avoiding capture. Travelling at night, these freedom seekers are guided by the Big Dipper appearing in the night sky, where the stars directed them north to freedom and a new life in “CANADA”. The obverse features a maple leaf pattern, the year “2022”, a denomination of “20 DOLLARS” and the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.