After several attempts at introducing acts to have Canada produce it's own currency, in 1857 the government of Britain finally approved the production of Canadian coinage. It was decided that the new Canadian money would be based on a decimal system instead of the pounds/shillings that Britain used. Thus, a new one cent coin (as well as 5, 10, 25, etc) was required. The design chosen featured a motif of 16 serpentine maple leaves on the reverse side and a youthful, idealized bust of the queen wearing a laurel wreath on the obverse side. In fact, by the late 1850's, the queen was quite pudgy and decidedly older looking than the coinage portrait suggested.
The government optimistically ordered approximately 10,000,000 1-cent pieces, which proved to be much more than the province could absorb. The coins would last almost 10 years after confederation (1867) before new coins needed to be minted.