Ardell Bourgeois designed these three figures from the war of 1812 which are now on the silver dollar coin.

Celebrating a Chilliwack artist at the post office

Come meet the local coin artist June 21 at the Yale Road post office on Thursday afternoon between 12:30 and 3 p.m. for a special event.

Everyone is invited to the downtown Chilliwack Post Office on June 21 to meet local artist Ardell Bourgeois.

Canada Post official Christine Lavergne, lead hand in retail, has organized a special “celebration” in Chilliwack Thursday afternoon, stemming from her patriotic pride and a strong interest in Canadian history.

The coin commemorates the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, with three powerful looking figures: an English sergeant, an Iroquois warrior and a Voltigeur Canadien.

“I thought that was interesting and that we should recognize it with an event for the public. It represents a time in our history when Canada really drew a line in the sand,” said Lavergne.

She read the news story in the Chilliwack Progress back in March about how the artist’s impressive design came to be stamped on a Canadian silver dollar coin.

The Alberta-born Bourgeois, an Emily Carr grad, earned the honour by winning a design competition for the 2012 silver dollar coin.

He’s had a strong interest in military history and aviation for as long as he can remember, and won 14 awards at aviation art shows. Bourgeois has his work displayed in museums, from the Canadian War Museum and Canadian Aviation Museum in Ottawa to features in magazines.

But still they had never done anything like this before, Lavergne explained, in the 25 years she’s been with Canada Post in Chilliwack.

She had to secure official permission for the event from both Canada Post and the Canadian Mint.

“It’s not about selling the coins. It’s a really exciting opportunity to celebrate Canada’s 200-year moment, as well as the work of a local artist,” said Lavergne.

The end of the 1812 skirmish also kicked off 200 years of peace between Canada and the United States, and accordingly there are 200 tiny beads of silver around the rim of the silver dollar.

The June 21 celebration will allow the public to meet Ardell at the Yale Road post office on Thursday afternoon between 12:30 and 3 p.m. and to have their 2012 coin packages signed by him.

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