Toronto 2015 unveils one-of-a-kind medals

Around 400 sets of medals will be presented during August’s Parapan American Games in Canada. 03 Mar 2015
Toronto 2015 Parapans medals

The medals for August’s Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games in Canada, which will feature 1,600 athletes from 28 countries, were unveiled on Tuesday (3 March).

ⒸToronto 2015
By Toronto 2015

The medals for August’s Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games in Canada, which will feature 1,600 athletes from 28 countries, were unveiled on Tuesday (3 March) at a special ceremony at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Around 400 sets of medals will be presented during the Parapans and as athletes across the Americas get ready for Toronto 2015, the bronze, silver and gold medals they will compete for are following their own unique paths. The paths of the medals originate at different points across the western hemisphere thanks to the collaboration of Barrick Gold Corporation, Official Metal Supplier, and the Royal Canadian Mint, the Official Medals Design and Production Supplier.

“The Games unite us, inspire us and captivate us, and it’s the competition — the elite athletes striving for a moment of near perfection — that make it all so thrilling,” said Saäd Rafi, Chief Executive Officer, TO2015. “So, we’re grateful to all our partners for striving for that same level of excellence in our medals.”

For athletes, the path to international sport usually begins in their hometown. Skill and athleticism propel them to the next level. And it is a similar journey for the medals that they strive to achieve. Starting in local mining communities where the raw materials for the Toronto 2015 medals begin their journey, forged by skilled hands, hard work and civic pride.

The materials for the medals were supplied by Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corporation from three of its operations across the Americas: copper from its Zaldívar mine in Chile; silver from its Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic; and gold from its Hemlo mine in Ontario. The teamwork and pride of the people at Barrick reflect the excellence and dedication of the athletes competing at the Games. Barrick also has operations in Argentina, Peru and the United States.

“We’re honoured to supply the materials for the medals that will mark the success of the best athletes of the Americas,” said Kelvin Dushnisky, co-president, Barrick Gold Corporation. “Everyone in our organisation — especially those who produced the copper, silver and gold — will be thrilled every time an athlete holds up their medal to the cheers of their country.”

Just as athletes hone their skill with hours of training, the unique Games medals will be skilfully crafted by the Royal Canadian Mint in an innovative process featuring 25 production steps. The process involves 30 Mint employees, including engineers, engravers, die technicians, machinists and production experts working together. The team’s combined experience in medals production totals more than 100 years.

“Royal Canadian Mint employees have come together with pride to produce one-of-a-kind medals which truly symbolise the years of training and effort put forth by the remarkable athletes who will compete at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games this summer,” said Sandra Hanington, President and Chief Executive Officer, Royal Canadian Mint.

For the first time in medals history, the Royal Canadian Mint has applied the ancient technique of mokume gane, fusing different alloys to reflect the multicultural celebration of athletes and the fellowship of nations coming together under the motto “United We Play!” The mokume gane technique produces another valuable result: each of the competition medals is truly unique.

“When an athlete has a medal hung around their neck, it is a beginning not an end. As they go through life, people will want to see it, touch it and feel the weight of it,” said Elisabeth Walker-Young, Team Canada’s chef de mission for the TORONTO 2015 Parapan American Games. “The medals that are given out at the Games will hold pride of place in homes, hearts and memories throughout the Americas for decades to come. Through the design of the medal, the unity and joy of the Games live on.”

The artwork on the medals tells the rich story of the “People’s Games” through a beautifully layered design that expresses the values of inclusion and diversity, and highlights Aboriginal traditions of welcoming guests and cherishing the beauty of the natural world. The collaborative creative process included Christi Belcourt, a Métis visual artist who combined artistry and storytelling with the Royal Canadian Mint’s innovative production process. Braille is used to identify Toronto 2015 – a reflection of TO2015’s commitment to accessibility, and the first time it has ever been applied on both Pan Am and Parapan Am Games medals.

The Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am competition medals will be on temporary exhibition at the Royal Ontario museum from Saturday 14 March 14 through to Sunday 29 March. During the Games, they will be available for public viewing at the Royal Canadian Mint pavilion at CIBC Pan Am Park.

The Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games will take place between 7-15 August and will feature around 1,600 athletes from 28 countries competing in 15 sports.