Troops and landing craft occupy a Normandy beach shortly after the D-Day landing. The bombardment of the beaches began at 6 a.m. on June 6, 1944, and within hours soldiers from Canada had established the beachhead at Juno Beach and the German defences were shattered. (The Canadian Press)

Canadian Mint to issue coins celebrating D-Day and gay rights

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The Royal Canadian Mint will issue commemorate coins in 2019 to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy in 1944 and the 50th anniversary of Parliament’s decriminalizing homosexual acts in 1969.

The D-Day landing marked the start of months of fighting to free France from Nazi occupation that would eventually lead to the liberation of Europe.

About 14,000 Canadians were involved in June 6 invasion by about 150,000 Allied troops.

Canada also contributed 110 ships and 15 fighter and bomber squadrons.

Three-hundred-fifty-nine Canadians died as they stormed Juno Beach from landing craft.

A new $1 coin will commemorate the removal of criminal sanctions against homosexuality in 1969. CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

More than 1,000 others were wounded.

The decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada was liberating in a less dramatic way, but liberating it was for many Canadians who had been forced to suffer discrimination because of their sexual preferences.

The new coin design was approved by the government on Dec. 14 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose father, Pierre, helped lead the fight to decriminalize same sex sexual activity between consenting adults, famously declaring “there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”

The news comes has an historic day was celebrated in Alberta with Premier Rachel Notley presiding at the wedding of of MLA Ricardo Miranda and his partner, Christopher Brown, the first time ever in the province that a cabinet minister was married in a same-sex wedding.

The Canadian Mint regularly creates commemorative coins to make important anniversaries.

Earlier this year, the Mint created three million limited edition coins to mark the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War in 1918.

With files from CP., BCC, Post Media, Globe and Mail

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