Friday Two Cents: Ottawa Trip Part 3 – The Royal Canadian Mint



If this trip to Ottawa had a golden moment I would have to say that my visit to the Royal Canadian Mint would fit the bill. If you are not familiar with the Royal Canadian Mint they produce the coinage for Canada, but that is only one aspect of what they do. There are three locations that the mint maintains, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Ottawa. The one in Winnipeg produces the circulation coins for Canada, while the facility in Ottawa is responsible for the mint quality coins and the bullion investment coins, or coins made from silver, gold and platinum.

The Royal Canadian Mint

I was able to go for a tour of the Ottawa site but you cannot take pictures inside because even though the outside looks like a castle, inside it is a working factory. There they showed us the process of transforming bricks of gold, silver and platinum into the investment and collector coins. They have a forge that melts the metal, presses that cut, weight, inspect and stamp the coins. It was a very informative tour and an impressive process.

Yet I also learned a lot about the mint that I had not known before. I found out that the mint also produces coins for other countries. They estimated that they have produced coins for over 60 countries. Not only coins but the mint also created the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympics and the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Para Pan Am Medals. They had examples of the Olympic medals on display and I learned that each medal has a part of a larger image. If you place all the medals beside each other they create an aboriginal artwork of an orca and the Paralympic medals of a raven. Not only that but the medal are in a wavy shape to represent the mountain range in British Columbia. Inspiring!

Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Medals

Vancouver 2010 Winter Paralympic Medals


Orca (Left) and Raven (Right) Designs


They also told us about their purity of the gold. Most gold in the world is pure to 99.99 (99.99%) or four 9s. But the Royal Canadian Mint can get a purity of five 9s or 99.999. They showed us the largest, purest gold coin in the world. It has a face value of $1,000,000 CAD. The Australians have a larger gold coin but theirs’ is only 99.99 pure. The Canadian coin is 99.999 pure. They said they made only 5 coins and people and companies have bought them. But because they are also collectors’ coins their value has gone up to be worth about $2.1 million and it keeps going up in value. One of the owners is a billionaire from Saudi Arabia. They say he uses is as a coffee table. Must be nice to have money eh.

Million Dollar Coin

After the tour I was even able to lift a bar of gold. Mind you it was chained to the platform and a security guard was right beside it. If you ever get a chance to lift a bar of gold, try it. The first thing that I noticed was that the gold was soft to the touch like lead or hard clay but metallic. Also it was extremely heavy. One bar of gold weights 28 pounds and with the price of gold I was holding about $675,000 CAD or $500,000 US in my hands. I can now say that I have held over a half a million dollars in my hands, WWWOOO what a rush. Gold rush, that is. 😉


Gold I love Gold!!! Over a half a Million dollars in my hands.

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