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Name this bear!

NEWS RELEASE ROYAL CANADIAN MINT *********************** Canada's two-dollar coin and its polar bear turn 10 this year The Royal Canadian Mint challenges Canadians of all ages to name the Toonie Polar Bear OTTAWA, Aug.



*********************** Canada's two-dollar coin and its polar bear turn 10 this year The Royal Canadian Mint challenges Canadians of all ages to name the Toonie Polar Bear

OTTAWA, Aug. 28 - What is the name of Canada's most recognizable polar bear? This question has puzzled Canadians since the two-dollar coin - affectionately dubbed "the Toonie" by Canadians - was first launched in 1996.

However, Canadians can now rest easier knowing they have the chance to name our iconic polar bear, which is featured on the special 10th anniversary commemorative Toonie launched today by the Royal Canadian Mint. To celebrate, the Royal Canadian Mint is running a Name Our Polar Bear contest.

At long last, the nation will be able to sing a proper Happy Birthday to our world famous polar bear.

Starting today until October 5th, Canadians from coast to coast can participate by visiting and voting for one of five names - Churchill, Wilbert, Makwa, Sacha or Plouf. "We are encouraging all Canadians to participate and vote for one of five great names for the commemorative polar bear," says Ian E. Bennett, president and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint. "I'm confident that they will make an excellent choice and have fun in the process." "I'm not going to lie, it's been a difficult 10 years," says the as-yet-unnamed Toonie polar bear when reached for comment on its ice field. "Not having a name is a lot more challenging than people might think." The Name Our Polar Bear contest grand prize is a trip for four to beautiful Manitoba.

Winners will first be taken on a VIP tour of the Royal Canadian Mint's state-of-the-art Winnipeg facility - home of the Toonie.

This facility produces up to 15 million Canadian circulation coins a day and has also produced circulation coins for 60 countries over the past 25 years.

The winners will then travel to Churchill to observe real polar bears in their natural habitat.

The prize package includes: transportation, accommodation and spending money.

Several runner-up prizes are also available.

For full contest details please visit

"I encourage every Canadian to log on and vote for their favourite name," says the Toonie polar bear. "I'm really looking forward to having a cake that says more than Happy Birthday."

Fun Facts Special-Edition Toonies

Two special edition Toonies have been issued in the past. In 1999, the commemorative Toonie featured an Inuit drummer to celebrate the founding of Nunavut. As part of the Millennium coin series in 2000, the Royal Canadian Mint produced a Toonie featuring a polar bear and cubs and the words "KNOWLEDGE" in English and "LE SAVOIR" in French.

What do the Toonie and Campbellford, Ontario have in common?

The original 1996 Toonie was designed by Brent Townsend of Campbellford, Ontario and the town has honoured its local artist with a large Toonie monument standing 27 feet high.

Here a bear, there a bear...

Over the past ten years, approximately half a billion Toonies have been produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. These coins are used daily in Canada and can also be found in collections around the world.

Also known as...

When the two-dollar coin was first introduced in Canada, a number of nicknames were suggested before "Toonie" was popularized. Some examples include:

- Bearly - Deuce - Doubloonie - Polar About the Royal Canadian Mint

The Royal Canadian Mint, an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is the crown corporation responsible for the minting and distribution of Canada's circulation coins. In operation since 1908, the Royal Canadian Mint is recognized as one of the largest and most versatile mints in the world, offering a wide range of specialized, high quality coinage products and related services on an international scale.

For more information on the Royal Canadian Mint, its products and services, visit


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