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Richmond brothers win 'toonie' design contest for Canada's 150th anniversary

Dr. Timothy Hsia learned he was one of the winners of the Royal Canadian Mint's 2017 circulation coin series design contest from a call at the end of a long work day.

"I thought it was a patient calling and, actually, it turned out to be the Mint," said Hsia, 32, a family doctor from Richmond, B.C.

"I was so thrilled. (It) couldn't have been a better way to end that work week."

Hsia and his brother Stephen, 30, worked on the design together. The public chose the winners.

The Mint revealed the winners to the public on Wednesday. The brothers' design, which depicts the northern lights, will adorn Canada's two-dollar coins — the toonie — next spring to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary.

Five other designs will adorn coin denominations — from nickels to toonies — during next year's celebrations.

The unveiling ceremony was at Richmond City Hall where the brothers were awarded a $2,000 cheque, a trip to Ottawa for two in 2017 and the special edition set of coins.

Depicts northern lights

Their design will be displayed on 10 million two-dollar coins.

"I've just been walking down the street and just seeing tons and tons of people, but just to think that they all have change in their pockets and that they're able to see my brother's artwork is an amazing accomplishment," said Stephen Hsia..

The brothers are both professionals; Stephen is a lawyer, and they do artwork in their spare time.

Timothy said he and his brother have worked on art projects together since they were kids, often providing feedback to one another.

It was Timothy who came up with the northern lights design. Stephen, a digital artist, helped translate the design onto the computer.

Dedicated to grandpa

Timothy and Stephen said the design was a gift to their grandfather, who died six years ago and who was an avid coin collector.

"He would actually give us a coin on our birthdays," explained Timothy.

"As kids we thought this was a very cute gesture, but then over time we realized these were special edition coins from the Royal Canadian Mint."

The win is also incentive for them to finally see the northern lights in person.

"It's on our bucket list, for both my brother and I to see the lights," said Stephen.