Ten years after it was first issued, Canada's two-dollar coin has received a face-lift.
Originally issued in 1996, the "toonie" (a silly name, by the way) featured an adult polar bear on an ice flow created by artist Brent Townsend. At that time, artist Tony Bianco's design was a finalist in the design competition, and now after ten years Tony's design appears on the 2006 issue.
In this version, the bear's head is looking upward with rays of sunlight in the background. This coin also marked the naming of the bear, with the Royal Canadian Mint conducting an online poll to select the name. The winner was "Churchill" which refers to the city on the edge of the tundra in northern Manitoba. (I voted for the name "Plouf" which came in third. I have no idea what it means.)
Five million of these coins were released into the Canadian wild at the end of August and they began trickling their way into Canadians' pockets.
Unfortunately, the 20th anniversary version of the coin may picture just open water, as the polar regions continue to melt and endanger not only the polar bears but a people and their way of life.