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Industry Insights

Celebrating 100th Anniversary of the RCAF

2024 fine silver proof dollar features design by Compass' own

One of the new releases to show up on Netflix— just in time for the Christmas holidays — was “Top Gun Maverick,” the 2022 action drama sequel to the popular 1986 film “Top Gun” starring Tom Cruise. It was welcome entertainment for the holiday break and a great lead up to another special event happening this week.

Top Gun was an inspirational movie for me growing up. I was among the likely millions of teenage boys who were suddenly inspired to fly jets! I bought and read books on military aircraft, drew pictures of jets in my class notes, attended airshows and even researched course options for obtaining my pilot’s license. Teachers were supportive. They invited a commercial airline pilot to come in and talk to those of us who were interested in pursuing a career in aviation. I made countless plastic model airplanes, which I hung around my room. I even bought a flight suit from a military surplus store in Hamilton, ON.

I got as far as a “discovery flight” in a Cessna 172, out of our local airpark at Bell School line in North Burlington, ON. Shortly after that flight, my flying career “crashed and burned”, as they say. Something to do with my lack of aptitude for math and physics. It didn’t mean I was no longer interested in flight though. I continued to draw jets and dream about one day launching off an aircraft carrier in the back seat of an F-14 Tomcat.

I have yet to experience that particular rush, but this week I’m pretty excited to share that the Royal Canadian Mint is releasing a special coin to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). It’s among the first Canadian coins to feature the new Monarch. And the design “flying” on the reverse of the coin is my own creation.

“I am honoured to have contributed a design that commemorates the rich history of the RCAF and the advances it made on 'the pathway to the stars.'”

Jason Bouwman

I have been honoured to design several coins for the Mint over the past number of years. But given my interest in military aircraft, this one was a special commission. The design brief for this project was very tough. Tougher than most. But I’m happy with how the final design turned out, thanks in no small part to the craftsmanship of the Mint’s engraving department. This Coin features many new and innovative engraving and manufacturing techniques, from laser-engraving to brilliant relief — “a mix of carefully executed frostings.”

In keeping with the Royal Canadian Mint's mandate to celebrate Canada's values, history and culture, the design includes multiple renowned Canadian aircraft: the Tiger Moth, a Hercules Transport, a CF-18 and a Chinook helicopter — all flying in loose formation over the RCAF roundel. The jet streams and flight paths of aircraft flow geometrically out of the Air Force tartan pattern (a world first) which has been incorporated into the background. The design also features orbiting planets and stars, representing the RCAF’s moto, Sic Itur ad Astra (“Such is the pathway to the stars”) and a Flaming Parrot Tulip, one of four tulip varieties specifically chosen to commemorate the 100-year milestone.

I am honoured to have contributed a design that commemorates the RCAF’s 100 years of service. Check out the new 2024 Fine Silver Proof Dollar and the Fine Silver Proof Set for yourself on the Mint’s website.

Written by Jason Bouwman, RGD

January 9, 2024