New Westminster's "Wait For Me Daddy" WWII moment to be minted in 5 million toonies

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wait for me daddy toonie canadian mint

The famous “Wait For Me Daddy” moment will be immortalized by the Royal Canadian Mint in a limited series edition of the toonie.

On October 1, 1940, local photographer Claude P. Dettloff captured five-year-old Warren Bernard broke free from his mother’s hand to reach out for his father.

Private Jack Bernard was marching with B.C. Regiment the Duke of Connaught’s Own Rifles down 8th Street at the intersection of Columbia Avenue in New Westminster. He was leaving for additional training in Nanaimo before deployment to the front lines in France and the Netherlands. Fortunately, Bernard returned home safely at the end of the war.

During the war, the photo was used extensively for war bonds fundraising campaigns and featured on Life magazine. It has since become one of the most famous photographs taken during the Second World War.

"Wait For Me Daddy," by Claude P. Dettloff
Image: Claude P. Dettloff

Five million units of the two-dollar “Wait For Me Daddy” coins will go into circulation beginning this month.

“The Mint has embarked on an extensive coin program that will last until 2020, to commemorate the many aspects of Canada’s experience, at home and on the battlefield, during the First and Second World Wars,” said Marc Brûlé, Interim President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint. “This new circulation coin furthers our proud tradition of remembering the many sacrifices of Canadians at times of war.”

The toonie was introduced in 1996 to replace the paper bill version. Since then, there have been at least six other commemorative editions for circulation, including editions for the founding of Nunavut in 1999 and the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s reign in 2002.

Over the weekend, the City of New Westminster also unveiled a bronze statue replicating the scenes from Deloff’s iconic image. A re-enactment of the soldiers’ march also occurred to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

The “Wait For Me Daddy” moment celebrates its 75th anniversary next year.

Wait For Me Daddy New Westminster statue 1
Image: City of New Westminster

Wait For Me Daddy New Westminster statue 2
Image: City of New Westminster

Wait For Me Daddy New Westmisnter Statue 6
Image: City of New Westminster

Wait For Me Daddy New Westmisnter Statue  4
Image: City of New Westminster

Wait For Me Daddy New Westmisnter Statue 3
Image: City of New Westminster

Wait For Me Daddy New Westmisnter Statue 5
Image: City of New Westminster

Feature Image: Royal Canadian Mint

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