The Royal Canadian Mint honors jazz giant Oscar Peterson with a $1 coin

The Royal Canadian Mint pays tribute to one of the greatest musicians the world has ever seen by issuing a new $1 commemorative mintage celebrating the life and artistic legacy of Canadians oscar peterson.

Nicknamed “the man with four hands” by the great and admirer of jazz Louis Armstrong, Oscar Peterson has risen to the top of the music world with more than six decades of electrifying piano performances and unforgettable compositions such as “Hymn to Freedom”, “Blues Etude” and “The Canadiana Suite”. The piece was unveiled in front of family and friends gathered at Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto, a well-known stage of the jazz giant. It began circulating on August 15, to coincide with his birthday.

“The Mint is passionate about celebrating the stories of exceptional Canadians on its coins and I am thrilled that Oscar Peterson, the first Canadian musician to be featured on a circulation coin, is being celebrated as one of jazz’s most respected artists. and most influential of all time. said Marie Lemay, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint. “Mr. Peterson’s legendary music and performances have brought joy to millions of music lovers in Canada and around the world and we are proud to honor him with this coin for his outstanding contributions to music. and Canadian culture.

The Oscar Peterson Commemorative Circulation Coin was designed by artist Valentine De Landro, an accomplished comic artist, illustrator and draftsman from Ajax, Ontario. Its design features Oscar Peterson at the piano, his hands in full swing, from which emerges a flowing musical scale showing two closing bars of his famous “Hymn to Freedom”. Mr. Peterson’s name completes the design.

“Throughout Oscar’s career, he received many awards and accolades, each of which meant a great deal to him. In the fifteen years since his passing, there have been others. All humble. All a source of pride. The addition of this commemorative circulation coin of his likeness is something neither he nor I could have imagined,” said Kelly Peterson.

“Knowing that Canadians today, and for generations to come, will hold this coin and remember Oscar Peterson or be inspired to learn more about him for the first time evokes emotions that are difficult to describe. I am deeply, deeply honored. Oscar was a great pianist and composer. He was a strong defender of human rights. Above all, he has always been a proud Canadian. Since his music is timeless, he will now be part of the Canadian consciousness forever.

Growing up in Little Burgundy, the neighborhood that was the hub of Montreal’s black community, Oscar Peterson was taught by his father and older sister Daisy the value of a musical education from an early age. Raised on the classics, he quickly mastered the piano and honed his craft through popular music to become one of the most acclaimed jazz musicians of all time. In a career spanning over 60 years, he has made over 400 recordings and his famous Oscar Peterson Trio has performed around the world. It won eight Grammy Awards and was inducted into Canada’s Music Hall of Fame in 1978. First nominated for Juno Awards in 1977, it won “Best Jazz Album” as The Oscar Peterson Four in 1987. He was also appointed Companion of the Order of Canada by the late Ramon Hnatyshyn, Governor General of Canada.

In 1962, he composed “Hymn to Freedom”, which became an anthem of the civil rights movement of the 1960s whose musical and social influence continues to resonate today. His “Canadiana Suite” was an epic and moving tribute to the country he loved and always called home.

The impact of Oscar Peterson’s work and life story transcends generations: inspiring countless artists who have themselves become musical icons, and always attracting new generations to his music and art. . Many music schools and scholarships have been founded in his honor. Peterson died in 2007 at the age of 82.

“When I was a kid, traveling the world with my father, I remember being curious about the currency figures of each country. It was an opportunity to learn about the history of the place where I was visiting. One thing that has always been important to me is that as Canadians we take the time to explore our history – all of its aspects,” said Céline Peterson.

“Knowing that Canadians at home and all who visit us from abroad will have the opportunity to learn about a tremendous figure in our country’s history in the palm of their hand, brings me immense joy. . My dad receiving this recognition from the Royal Canadian Mint is something I never thought I would imagine because to me he is and always will be a dad.

The Oscar Peterson circulation coin is limited to a mintage of three million coins, two million of which feature a purple accent, Oscar Peterson’s favorite color. It will reach Canadians throughout their currency as bank branches and businesses replenish their stocks of $1 circulation coins.

Colored and uncolored circulation coins can be purchased together as part of a Collector Keepsake six-coin set. They are packaged in a richly illustrated collector’s card that contains one coin of every coin currently in circulation, from five cents to two dollars.

Other collectibles that add to the celebration of Oscar Peterson’s legacy include special wrapping rolls of 25 one-dollar circulation coins, in colored and uncolored versions, as well as coins of 1 oz. fine silver and pure gold versions of the circulation coin design.

The various products can be ordered today by contacting the Royal Canadian Mint or online at They are also available at the Royal Canadian Mint’s Ottawa and Winnipeg boutiques, as well as through the Mint’s global network of merchants and distributors, including participating Canada Post outlets.

Listen to the best of Oscar Peterson on Apple Music and Spotify.

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