Mint to put iconic New West photo on a toonie

This photo, titled
This photo, titled 'Wait for me Daddy' was shot by Province photographer Claud Dettloff on Oct. 1, 1940.
— image credit:

Wait For Me Daddy has a hat trick of recognition with a statue, a stamp and now a toonie.

It's the latest honour for the iconic photograph of little Whitey Bernard reaching out to his father as he marches off to war down Eighth Avenue in New Westminster on Oct. 4, 1940.

The Royal Canadian Mint has announced it will have a circulating $2 coin to commemorate the photograph. New Westminster Coun. Lorrie Williams said it will be first available when the city unveils its long-awaited Wait For Me Daddy memorial statue in Hyack Square on Oct. 4. The chair of the city's Wait For Me Daddy memorial task force said the mint will be there to exchange the commemorative coin for anyone giving them a regular toonie.

Lorrie WilliamsThe mint originally rejected the city's request. But when she was in Ottawa for Canadian of Federation of Municipalities meetings she went there and pleaded her case.

"This is the most recognized photo in Canada, and famous, and here's a chance to celebrate this photograph. There's something about face to face discussion and dialogue that makes things happen," said Williams, who will be seeking her fifth consecutive term on council in the November civic election. "It really does make a difference."

Williams is particularly pleased it will be a circulating coin instead of one of the mint's collection coins.

"I prefer it. That is a real tribute," said Williams. "That is a real recognition that this is just not a New Westminster event, this is a national event. This picture belongs to Canada, period. This is why New Westminster is celebrating it with such magnitude. This is a national photograph that just happened to have been taken in New Westminster."

She said once Canada Post agreed to do a stamp everyone else seemed to come on board including Heritage Canada, Parks Canada, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, which she said has a 12-foot version of the photo.

"Things just grew, and things are beginning to exceed my expectations. I never realized the scope until we put all the pieces together," said Williams. "People realize this is once in a lifetime occurrence and it's going to spectacular."

The Oct. 4 celebration will also include a reenactment march by the Westminster Regiment and the B.C. regiment.

Williams said the celebrations will continue in 2015 with a grand march down from Royal Avenue with troops and sale of memorial bricks to be installed in front of the memorial.

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