John H. Campbell, who was the director of the Royal Canadian Mint in 1936, wanted to change the designs of our coins, since the Mint was already going through changes regarding the new king (Edward VIII) effigies. It was a big challenge: 5 new designs had to be chosen, as the then designs used on the 1 cent and 5 cent coins cannot give the way to a whole series. Twelve Canadian artists were invited to submit new designs, in April 1936. As time was short, three non-Canadian artists were added to the team: George E. Kruger-Gray, Percy Metcalfe and Frank Dobson.
The first coin for which a new design was chosen is the 50 cent coin. As a matter of fact, it was decided that the 50 cent coin would bear Canada's coat of arms. Then, a maple twig was suggested for the 1 cent coin, a caribou for the 5 cent coin, a ram or a mountain top for the 10 cent coin and a schooner (the famous Bluenose) for the 25 cent coin. Yup ! These designs we still have today were not necessarily intended for the coins that actually bear them!
As soon as in September, the Ministry of Finance, aided by fauna specialists, had made its final decision. The coat of arms design submitted by Kruger-Gray was selected for the 50 cent coin as intended, the caribou was selected for the 25 cent coin instead of the 5 cent coin, and the Bluenose was selected for the 10 cent coin. Regarding the 5 cent coin, it was to bear the beaver that Kruger-Gray had first suggested for the 10 cent coin, with some modifications. The 1 cent coin was to wear the maple twig, with some modifications too. The coins were finally issued after the Mint encountered some problems with the striking, and it was a popular success.