This entry belongs way back under Ottawa but I think I forgot to mention this. Sandy took us down to the RCM tour one morning and it was really interesting. There are two mints in Canada: one in Ottawa, where they make specialty collector coins, and one in Winnipeg, where they make all the coins that are used in daily life. (Obviously the one in Winnipeg is much busier). It’s a pretty interesting tour. It is not all that large. In the gift shop they were selling a $500 gold coin (one you could really use to buy $500 worth of stuff in a store, at least in theory) for $8,000. They also have cast (and sold) $1 million coins in the past; they are about a foot in diameter and weigh many pounds. They also had many examples of square coins, coins in odd denominations such as $3 and $7. The RCM makes lots of coins for other countries that can’t justify their own mints, but there were examples of all of these from Canada as well.
Ironically (well, it seems ironic to me), our government seems to have put a lot of thought and energy into the mint and the science of casting coins. But the paper money they simply contract out to printing companies in each city. I am not really sure why coin production needs to be a government activity.
Anyways, I think we will try to go to the RCM tour in Winnipeg, if they have one.