New Canadian commemorative coins feature lake dragons and underwater panthers

Daily Brew

The latest collection of Canadian commemorative coins steer far away from traditional images of prime ministers and historical monuments.

Lake dragons and underwater panthers have usurped the poppies, hockey players and royal newlyweds of coins past.

Designed by illustrator Emily Samstra, the cryptid coins pay homage to the Canadian legends known as the Memphré and the Mishepishu.

"The mystery of Memphré comes alive on this oversized coloured coin," states the Royal Canadian Mint website.

"Memphré's dragon-like head peers from the waves as its serpentine body propels it through the waters of Lake Memphremagog. The mountain in the background echoes the rolling landscape of Quebec's Eastern Townships."

"First Nations legends from the area speak of mysterious monsters lurking in the lake. Official records begun in 1816 reveal as many as eight sightings every year; the majority of them confirmed by numerous, independent eyewitness accounts."

And then there's the Mishepishu, the amphibian feline known as "the fabulous night panther."

"For centuries, Ojibway legends have described a mysterious creature lurking in the depths of Lake Superior. They call it Mishepishu, which means "Great Lynx", to describe its wildcat shape."

"This clever shape-shifter is also believed to swim the waters of Lake Ontario and other Great Lakes in order to protect the precious copper found in the rocks throughout the region. Chances are, you'll never be quick enough to spot it among the waves."

Sci-fi enthusiasts at i09 published their approval with a story titled "Canadian cryptid coins are the most bad-ass currency in the history of legal tender."

"If you live anywhere but Canada, your money officially sucks," said Cyriaque Lemar in the story. "The Canadian Mint also has a Sasquatch coin for sale. When a coin emblazoned with Sasquatch is somehow the least interesting of your moneys, you're doing something terribly right."

And while foreign feedback condoning the decor of our legal tender is refreshingly welcome, those north of the border may not share the sentiment.

"Because the world doesn't already think our money is silly enough," stated one Canadian commenter, drawing reference to the notion the colour of our bank notes closely resemble that of Monopoly money.

The cost for each coin will set you back $24.95 Canadian.

(Photo: screengrab i09)