The wood bison is uniquely Canadian: in its natural state, it only occurs in Canada. It is also the largest land mammal in North America often reaching two metres in height and weighing over 900 kilograms, mirroring our vast land’s massivity and power. Despite their great size and abundance—its population was once over 168,000—these great foragers were reduced to a few hundred at the dawn of the twentieth century.
In Wood Buffalo and Elk Island National Parks, the Parks Canada Agency has worked with great care and tenacity to bring the wood bison back from the brink of extinction, successfully growing their number back to over 10,000. Long an example of humanity’s destructive power, the bison has, for far longer, been a Canadian icon, symbol of the West, and a core component of the pantheon of Canadiana. Through its successful rehabilitation, the story of the wood bison may now also become one of Canadian conservation’s success stories.
- One in a series of four coins designed by Canadian Aboriginal artist Corrine Hunt- designer of the gold, silver, and bronze medals, produced by the Royal Canadian Mint, for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Other coins available in this series include the Orca Whale, Peregrine Falcon and the Boreal Forest.
- The reverse design by Corrine Hunt depicts a stylized wood bison executed with Hunt’s unique interpretation of traditional Kwakwaka’wakw and Tlingit forms. The wood bison’s massive, horned head bows gracefully toward the earth, to graze or perhaps in preparation for battle. Inside the hump of the bison is an ovoid—a symbol of life representing the seed of the future.
- The beautiful finishes on this coin make it a piece of art.