Mint unveils coins for War of 1812 anniversary


(QMI Agency) -- Royal Canadian Mint unveiled the first in a series of coins Monday in Halifax to mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812.


The $2 circulation coin has an image of the British HMS Shannon frigate -- to signify the historic capture of the American USS Chesapeake off the coast of Boston. The defeated warship was escorted into Halifax Harbour in 1813.


The War of 1812 marks an important part of Canadian history in the country's evolution from colony to sovereign nation.


Four new 25-cent coins will be released this year and in 2013, as part of the series, commemorating 200 years since the U.S. declared war on Great Britain.


"Honouring the bicentennial of the War of 1812 with this special circulation coin pays tribute to some of our greatest national heroes and a crucial moment on the road to Canadian nationhood," Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in a statement Monday.


Meanwhile, Parks Canada sites across the country, such as a new exhibit to be featured at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, will commemorate the anniversary with special events and re-enactments of the time period over the next three years.


Canada Post has also released a new stamp.


"These exhibits, special events, coin and stamp tell the story of how a fiery conflict with an uncertain outcome brought forth unity, bravery and perseverance, and how this remarkable shared history can help us connect with our roots and values as a nation," Environment Minister Peter Kent said in a statement Monday.


The events kicked off Monday, in St. John's, N.L., with historical re-enactors at Signal Hill and Perry's Victoria in Put-in Bay, Ohio, with a mock declaration of the war on June 18, 1812.

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