Ottawa resident rallying for recognition of attraction's designer
Stephen Trenka was responsible for designing what could be the city's most notable attraction.
If you don't recognize his name, you aren't alone.
In fact, very few know that he was the man responsible for designing the 1951 refinery nickel — the one Sudbury's Big Nickel was made to replicate.
“I'm trying to get some recognition for Trenka,” said Jim Gledhill.
The Ottawa-area resident is rallying for support of the giant coin's 50th anniversary, which will take place in 2014.
“I have started a letter-writing campaign to federal, provincial and municipal leaders informing them of the anniversary and its importance to the culture of not only the Sudbury region, but to Canada, as well,” Gledhill wrote on a Facebook page he created to garner support for the milestone.
“I have started a more targeted letter campaign focusing on the need to have a commemorative five-cent circulation coin for 2014 using a design similar to the one used in 1951 for the Refinery nickel designed by Stephen Trenka.
"I am hoping this page will be of some value to further the cause by becoming a hub for the collection and sharing of information on the efforts to create a celebration befitting the Big Nickel.”
So far, Gledhill has sent letters to nearly 20 politicians, including Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk.
“It just seems there needs to be a grassroots support of our Canadian history,” Gledhill said.
On June 20, 1950, Trenka received a letter from the Minister of Finance, signed by D.C. Abbott, saying his design for the commemorative five-cent piece was approved by the Governor in Council.
“It is my very pleasant duty to advise that your design, representing a nickel refiner, has been adjudged the winner,” Abbott wrote.
“You will recall the requirement that a plaster model be submitted, 8 inches in diameter, from which a master die can be reproduced. As you are a sculptor, it is assumed there will be no difficulty in this regard.”
The letter ended with Abbott sending his “most sincere congratulations on behalf of the Board of Judges and myself.”
From now until the Big Nickel's anniversary, Gledhill plans to continue pushing the mint to produce a commemorative coin, and continue to collect information about its role in Sudbury's history.
For more information, search Big Nickel 50th anniversary 2014 on Facebook.