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Burlington airplane buff designs commemorative 2009 silver dollar

Child’s play makes it into coin


BURLINGTON, Ontario - Fascination with flying as a child helped illustrator and artist Jason Bouwman design a Royal Mint limited edition commemorative silver dollar, issued to denote the Canadian history of flight. The Burlington resident recalled the time that he and his friends ran around pretending to fly, a childhood activity that has now found its way onto an historical coin. Bouwman’s design depicts the silhouette of a young person running with arms outstretched, casting a shadow of an aircraft in flight. He worked in three particular aircraft: the Silver Dart, because it completed the first powered flight in Canada; the Avro Arrow, which was difficult to omit because it is such an icon of Canadian technological achievement in aviation; and the Snowbird, which the artist calls the more current representation of flight in Canada.

The 2009 Special Edition Proof Silver Dollar was recently released by the Royal Canadian Mint. The commemorative coin highlights the 100th Anniversary of Flight in Canada. Since the first successful flight of the Silver Dart in 1909 on a frozen lake in Nova Scotia, Canada has had a rich history of memorable airplanes, something that Bouwman set out to showcase in his silver dollar design.

Research as a start

This coin is not the first one the Burlingtonian has designed for the Royal Canadian Mint. Last year, Bouwman designed the commemorative coin for the Royal Canadian Mint’s 100th anniversary. The coin showcases a maple leaf transforming into a loon, two Canadian symbols found on our coinage.

Bouwman, who also created a commemorative painting for the Canada Netherlands Friendship Association some years ago, says he always starts with research. When in high school he would go to air shows and frequent airplane museums. His fascination with aviation has remained and he is thrilled to design a coin around that.


Bouwman noted that the young person in the coin personifies the “dream, aspiration and fascination of flight,” which he believes starts at a young age. The ingeniously placed maple leaf is what Bouwman describes as a “hook.”

Graduating from a technical illustration program in 1995, Bouwman worked as a freelance illustrator until he founded Burlington’s Compass Creative four years ago. Compass Creative is a design company that creates logos, illustrations, websites, brochures and shoots photography for its clients.