In this sixth installment of the road to the Summer Olympics we move to the 1976 Montreal, Canada, Olympics. Montreal was the underdog city for the Olympics for 1976, with Moscow and Los Angeles both competing for the honor of hosting the Olympic Games. After rounds of voting to decide which nation would host the Games, the city of Montreal in Quebec, Canada, was awarded the Olympiad. With the stain of the honorific terrorist attacks at the 1972 Munich games it was an Olympics that saw highly visible security.
The Olympics, never without controversy, saw a boycott by 29 countries. Many of the countries were from Africa and had demanded New Zealand be banned after their rugby team played in South Africa – a country facing a sports embargo due to the nation’s practice of racial segregation known as apartheid. China also boycotted the Games due to the participation of Taiwan participating under the name Republic of China. Four countries made their Olympic debut in the 1976 games, including Andorra, Antigua, Cayman Islands, and Papua New Guinea. There were also many highlights. Queen Elizabeth II opened the Games as the head of state for Canada. Meanwhile, Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, competed as part of the British riding team. A member of the Japanese shooting team, Taro Aso, would 32 years later be elected as prime minister of Japan. The Soviet Union won the most medals, with 125 total, including 49 gold. East Germany won 40 gold with 90 medals total, and the United States ranked third with 34 gold medals and 94 total medals.
For coins, Canada began to issue commemorative $5 and $10 coins for the Montreal Games in 1973. A total of 28 sterling silver coins and two different gold-fineness issues of the same design were released. All coins featured an obverse of the bust of Queen Elizabeth II. The following are the various coins and their reverses:
Other countries also made coins for the 1976 Montreal Olympics, including:
Haiti issued a 50 Gourdes silver and 500 Gourdes gold coin in 1974 for commemoration of both the Summer Olympics in Montreal and Winter Olympics in Innsbruck.
Poland issued a 200 Zlotych in 1976 for the Montreal Olympics as well as six additional Proba issues for the Olympics.
Samoa issued a 1976 Tala in copper-nickel and silver coins and 100 Tala gold coins for commemoration of weightlifting in the Olympic Games.
Yemen issued 1975 silver 10 Rials of two different types and a gold 75 Rials for commemoration of the 1975 Montreal Olympic Games.
The legacy for the Olympic coins issued by Canada for the 1976 Montreal Olympics is one that followed the metal value. When the silver value dropped below the intrinsic bullion value for the coin, a large number of coins were taken to Canada and exchanged for their face value. This and other issues would make governments rethink face value and legal tender standards for commemorative coins. For today, most of the Canada issues are readily available for slight premiums to the metal value of the coins with the exception of the mule error which is still a rarity today. For the legacy of the 1976 Montreal Olympics the issues from the Munich Olympics – and now the knowledge of what came in 1980 and 1984 – overshadows the memory of these Games.
View the full list of Canada Montreal Olympic Commemoratives by clicking the links below.