2008 $100 14-KARAT GOLD COIN - 200TH ANN. OF DESCENDING THE FRASER RIVER (1808-2008)
From land to sea
Simon Fraser was just 16 years old when he joined the North West Company. At the time, the fur trade was the driving force behind the European development of the New World—it was natural for a young boy to pursue the adventure and riches this thriving industry offered. After spending three years establishing travel routes and building trading posts in modern Alberta and British Columbia, Fraser set out from Fort George with 23 other men aboard four large birch bark canoes to descend a river believed to lead to the Pacific Ocean. It was May 28, 1808 and many aboriginal guides declared the expedition as madness. Travelling by land was no easier; the portages so difficult the expedition sometimes opted to take its chances with the water. The men persevered and after 36 days, arrived at the mouth of the river now known as the Fraser. Although its rushing waters and wild terrain did not deliver a viable transportation for the fur trade, the river that Fraser descended did play an integral role when the region's development began in earnest half a century later.
Face Value: 100 dollars
Composition: 58.33% gold, 41.67% silver
Weight (g): 12
Diameter (mm): 27
Superior sculpting captures Simon Fraser as he
directs his expedition down the river that now
bears his name. A portion of a massive birch bark
canoe, its cargo and the towering banks that flank
the river allude to the magnitude of their task.