1971 represented the 100th Anniversary of the British Columbia Province of Canada. In 1871, to ensure the development of a transcontinental railway, Canada accepted the furthest most west region of modern day Canada, British Columbia, into the Canadian Federation as a province.
To commemorate the occasion, a circulating commemorative with a nickel composition was authorized for minting.
The obverse, designed by Arnold Machin, features the bust of Queen Elizabeth the II facing right. On the outer periphery are the words “ELIZABETH II” and "D. G. REGINA" which is the abbreviation for the latin term Dai Gratia Regina or By the Grace of God, Queen. Surrounding the overall design is a circle of beads.
The reverse, designed by Thomas Shingles, prominently features a shield design with dogwood blossoms above is based on a variation of British Columbia's Coat of Arms. The shield design features the Union Jack over a sun setting on the sea (wavy lines) which symbolizes brilliance without setting. The Designer's initials “TS” are located directly below the shield design while on either side of the shield is the dual date of 1871 & 1971. On the upper outer periphery are the words “BRITISH COLUMBIA” and on the lower outer periphery is the word “CANADA” and denomination “DOLLAR”.