History of Commemorative Medals

Commemorative medals have a long and rich tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages. It became customary for monarchs to have medals struck to commemorate their coronation and other important events. During a coronation ceremony, velvet pouches were passed down the aisles of Westminster Abbey so that all those in attendance could pick a medal as a personal memento of the historic event. Medals were awarded to those who took part in the celebrations of the coronation.

Starting with the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887, the medals were suspended from a ribbon and worn on the chest in the same fashion as military medals. Medals were issued for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, King Edward VII's Coronation in 1902, King George V's Coronation in 1911 and his Silver Jubilee in 1935, King George VI's Coronation in 1937 and the present Queen's Coronation in 1953. Since 1935, a larger number of medals have been struck and are awarded more equitably throughout the population.

Since 1967, Canada has carried on the tradition of issuing commemorative medals. These are distinct honours that recognize the work and dedication of Canadians, particularly on joyous occasions such as royal events and national anniversaries. Modern Canadian commemorative medals include the Canadian Centennial Medal in 1967, The Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977, the 125th Anniversary of Confederation Medal in 1992, The Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

In 2005, the first officially recognized provincial commemorative medals were created by Alberta and Saskatchewan, marking the 100th anniversary of their entry into Confederation. These medals were established through provincial legislation and received Royal Assent by the Lieutenant Governor on behalf of The Queen. They were also approved for wear by the Government of Canada.

In the absence of a national Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Medal commemorative medal program, many provinces have established their own Jubilee Medals. Each program has a similar criteria and the design of the ribbon and front of the medal is shared by all, with a standard reverse design incorporating unique provincial symbols.


Her Majesty The Queen approved the design of the Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Medal (Nova Scotia), and it was created on March 28 by an Order-in-Council and Letters Patent under the Great Seal, approved by His Honour the Honourable Arthur J. LeBlanc, Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, on the advice of the Honourable Tim Houston, Premier of the Province. The Medal will be awarded to 5,000 deserving Nova Scotians through collaboration with federal, provincial and municipal partners to ensure an equitable representation of all regions and all fields of endeavor.


The obverse (front) of the medal, displays a Crowned effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with her Canadian Style and title, along with two natural maple leaves. This effigy was designed by renowned heraldic artist, Cathy Bursey-Sabourin, Fraser Herald of the Canadian Heraldic Authority, part of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General.

The reverse (back) displays the shield of arms of Nova Scotia, surmounted by The Queen’s Royal Cypher and the dates of the reign being celebrated, “1952”-“2022”, separated by a pair of mayflowers (the provincial flower and shape of the Order of Nova Scotia), with the phrase “VIVAT REGINA” at the base, which means “Long Live The Queen.”

The ribbon is based on the next permutation in the alternating colours used for the Coronation and Jubilee Medals issued throughout The Queen’s reign. Blue and White are the Provincial colours as taken from the flag, while Red and White are the national colours of Canada, as taken from the National Flag and Royal Arms of Canada. The colour white also doubles as a representation of platinum.


This Medal will be cherished and worn with pride by thousands of recipients in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the accession to the Throne of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada. The Platinum Jubilee Medal is a tangible way to publicly acknowledge the work and dedication of many Nova Scotians, who are actively contributing to our communities, our province and our country.

Questions about the Platinum Jubilee Medal program can be sent to the Protocol and Honours Secretariat, jubileemedal@novascotia.ca or by calling 1-902-424-4199.