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1930s & Earlier / Godless Canadian Coins 1911
Except for one year, all Canadian coins have featured the phrase 'DEI GRA' or 'DEI GRATIA' on the obverse side. The Latin words mean 'by the grace of God' and refer to the reign of the monarch whose likeness appears on the coin. The year 1911 was the lone exception. George V had ascended to the throne in 1910, so 1911 was the first year he was featured on British Empire coinage. Because of an oversight or a misunderstanding (nobody is quite certain), the phrase was omitted from Canadian coins in 1911--much to the outrage of the public. (Some people blame the Liberal goverment's defeat in the federal election that year on the 'godless' coins.) The phrase was restored to Canadian coinage in 1912 and has appeared every year since then.