The Royal Canadian Mint has released its first-ever Canada-shaped coin.

The $50 pure silver piece shows an iconic bird or mammal from each province and territory shaped like the landmass it represents. B.C. is represented as a kermode bear, Alberta by a bighorn sheep and Nova Scotia by an osprey.

Although the coin is legal tender, it’s considered more of a collector’s item than something to use in a vending machine. The mint is selling it for $339.95.

Ottawa-based graphic designer Alisha Giroux created the design years ago, and released a new version just before Canada’s 150th birthday.

Last year, she got an email out of the blue from the Royal Canadian Mint informing her that they wanted to buy the design to turn it into a coin.

“I did it just for me and it’s a representation of how I see things,” she told

“The fact that the mint was so interested in it that they wanted to turn it into a coin was special,” she added.

Giroux said some provinces and territories were easier to conceive, including Nunavut whose islands she instantly pictured as Canadian Inuit dogs.

Quebec, represented by a snowy owl, was the most difficult. Ontario, shown as a common loon, was the second most difficult, according to Giroux.

Yukon is represented by a raven, Northwest Territories by a gyrfalcon, Saskatchewan by a white-tailed deer, Manitoba by a plains bison, New Brunswick by a chickadee, Prince Edward Island by a blue jay and Newfoundland and Labrador by a woodland caribou.

Canada isn’t the first country with coins modelled on its shape. Australia’s Perth Mint sells several different $1 pieces shaped like the nation’s landmass. Each one features an iconic Australian animal, including dingos, great white sharks and kookaburras.