Ottawa, Ontario, May 16, 2008 – The Royal Canadian Mint is honoured to have participated in the production of Canada’s very own Victoria Cross, fashioned of material from across Canada. Canada’s highest honour, now hailing from the same shores as its intended recipients, was unveiled today at a ceremony hosted by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. The Royal Canadian Mint, which engraved and finished the Victoria Cross, was led by its Master Engraver, Mr. Cosme Saffioti.
"Since the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Mint has minted Canadian military medals of a standard worthy of the selfless men and women to whom they were awarded, and the privilege of engraving Canada's very own Victoria Cross crowns a distinguished chapter in our history," said Ian E. Bennett, the Mint's President and CEO. "As the Mint celebrates its centennial in 2008, the opportunity to contribute our skill to produce Canada's highest honour is an unforgettable legacy."
The Royal Canadian Mint team was responsible for turning a two-dimensional drawing approved by Canada's Chancellery of Honours at the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, into a high-relief medal. Once a proprietary alloy was cast into medal form by Natural Resources Canada's CANMET, the Mint's Master Engraver hand-chased the final details and finished each new Victoria Cross, which now await the future recognition of extraordinary acts of valour in the face of the enemy by members of the Canadian Forces.
The Mint's role in producing military medals began in 1943, when the Mint was commissioned by Canada's Department of National Defence to produce the Canada Medal, for "meritorious service above and beyond the faithful performance of duties". By 1949, the Mint had struck over three million medals and campaign stars for Second World War veterans, including more than 500,000 bars as subsidiary awards. Today, the tradition of meticulously crafting medals for exemplary military service continues with the production of medals such as the General Campaign Star and the ISAF Bar, currently awarded for active service in Afghanistan, the Canadian Forces' Decoration and the Memorial Cross. The Mint also produces long service medals for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, among many others.
About the Royal Canadian Mint
The Royal Canadian Mint, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2008, is the Crown corporation responsible for the minting and distribution of Canada's circulation coins. An ISO 9001-2000-certified organization, the Mint is recognized as one of the world's largest and most innovative mints, offering a full range of extremely high-quality, specialized products and services to markets worldwide. For more information on the Royal Canadian Mint's history, products and services, visit www.mint.ca.