During our Winterlude 2016 roadtrip, we paid (literally) a visit to the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa which is a short walk from Byward Market and well worth a visit in my opinion just to learn about how coins are made.
There are actually 3 locations, one in Ottawa, one in Winnipeg, and one in Vancouver. The one that we visited in Ottawa is open daily for tours from 10:00am - 5:00pm. Call in advance to book a time just in case, tours are available in both English and French. It costs $6 per adult on weekdays and $4.50 on weekends. The reduced cost is because production does not happen on weekends, so while you do get the same tour as on weekdays, you don't get to see what happens. No photography is allow in the tour.
On the tour you learn that they don't actually make circulation coins here (coins that we use as currency), they only make collector and commemorative coins here as well as medals and medallions. Once you complete the tour, you will know how the entire process of how to make coins from metal purification to molds, stamping, and the end result. It worked like how I imagined it would, so it wasn't much of a surprise to me, but for those who don't know, it will be a learning experience. Our tour guide also would randomly quiz us with questions like 'how many types of coins are there' which adds to the experience.
There are other things that you will learn as well such as the highest purity that was achieved at the mint and you get to see the Vancouver 2010 Olympic medals here, the history behind their design and you get to find out how much each medal costs to make. This part was actually pretty fascinating for me.
The tour lasts roughly 1 hour long and it is a complete loop, so you won't get lost. Once you finish the tour, you head back to the boutique upstairs and you can buy any coins that they have available there or you can pose with the gold bar that is there as well. Overall, I thought it was a worthwhile experience and I wonder what they cover in the tours for the other locations.
For more information, visit www.mint.ca
Come back next Friday for another Past Point of Interest!