The Medals Story

Pan Am and Parapan Am competition medals

The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am competition medals awarded for gold, silver and bronze performances tell the rich story of the “People’s Games” through a beautifully layered design that showcases innovation and inclusion. The Royal Canadian Mint produced the medals using metals provided by Barrick Gold Corporation.

The medals design team was a collaborative process involving the TO2015 brand and creative services team, the Royal Canadian Mint and artist Christi Belcourt. Belcourt is a Métis visual artist who combined her fine artistry and storytelling skills, the innovative and unique techniques of the Royal Canadian Mint and TORONTO 2015 brand elements. Belcourt has won recognition for her work through numerous exhibitions and is a past recipient of awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Chalmers Family Fund and Métis Nation of Ontario.

The creative process led to a texture of playful, engaging and authentic elements combining to welcome the world to its most multicultural city and a celebration fueled by sport...United We Play!

The three irregular shapes layered on the front of the medals represent North America, Central America and the Caribbean, and South America coming together as the Pan American nations competing at the Games. The three layers on the front of the medal are raised—similar to a medals podium—creating dynamic texture. On the medals’ reverse, the shapes are sunken for a smoother finish and more formal presentation. These simple, curved shapes are inspired by the TORONTO 2015 logo, reflecting the city’s name and friendly, accessible character. The United We Play pattern is displayed on the middle shape, which combines sport pictograms and play icons that represent participation, excellence and inclusion. This graphic pattern inspires people to come together through sport. The medals’ design incorporates the ancient technique of mokume gane, which requires a high degree of skill to fuse or “unite” different alloys into one useable material while creating unique and artistic patterns. These different patterns are created by repeating a process of high-speed carving, de-burring, forging and shaping. The Royal Canadian Mint’s innovative approach in applying mokume gane to the athletes’ medals results in each medal being truly one of a kind, while stylistically reflecting the multicultural celebration of athletes and nations coming together.

Belcourt’s art illustrates flowing water, considered by many indigenous people as the lifeblood of the Earth. It represents the rivers, lakes and oceans within and surrounding the countries that make up the Pan American region. “Water unites us all as human beings,” Belcourt states. “Water also sustains and replenishes the bodies of the athletes as they train and compete.” The majority of Belcourt’s work explores and celebrates the beauty of the natural world.

The Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) and the Americas Paralympic Committee (APC) are recognized as governing body stakeholders on the medals’ reverse with the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games identified in the three official languages of the Games—English, French and Spanish.

Braille is used to identify TORONTO 2015—the first time ever it has been applied on both Pan Am and Parapan Am medals. This showcases TO2015’s commitment to accessibility and inclusion across both Games. The CNIB has provided specific guidelines for the use of braille in this application.

The competition medals will be an important legacy and forever represent the story behind the TORONTO 2015 Games as well as be a valuable keepsake for the athletes.