The Royal Canadian Mint, Winnipeg, Canada

Touring the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg

For some reason, perhaps due to my curiosity, I love seeing how something is made. I always enjoy taking tours through factories and production facilities to get an inside look into how items we use come into existence. So, when I was researching Winnipeg, and I happened across the Royal Canadian Mint, I figured we just had to get a glimpse at how money is made.

The Royal Canadian Mint, Winnipeg, Canada

The Royal Canadian Mint, Winnipeg, Canada

The Royal Canadian Mint offers tours 7 days a week to give you a behind-the-scenes look into the production facility, and it’s a really interesting process! I even had the opportunity to become a penny myself…let me ask you: how can life get much better than that?

The Royal Canadian Mint, Winnipeg, Canada

The Royal Canadian Mint produces around 20 million coins per day, and due to their specialized techniques (they are the only mint that has perfected the 2 tone coin), they produce coins for many other countries besides Canada. They are also the only mint that makes colored coins. In order for the color to stay, the coins have to be painted, then baked and varnished—we were able to get a peek at a few of the coins with color on them, and they were impressive to see.

Most of the tour is held on the second floor of the facility, and no pictures are allowed in this area because it has to stay secure. The tour starts out with a bit of history and facts; for example, there have not been any pennies in Canada since 2012. It costs 1.6 cents to produce a penny and Canada used to print around one billion pennies per year—it definitely makes sense why they would want to get rid of the penny! And, even though the 50 cent piece is no longer in circulation, it is still printed for collectors, and because it was the first coin ever printed at the Winnipeg Mint, it holds a special place in the mint’s heart. The 50 cent piece boasts a design that represents the 4 founding countries of Canada: England, France, Scotland and Ireland.

In Canada, the $1 coin is nicknamed the “Looney” because its design depicts a loon, but this was not the original design intended for the $1 coin. The original design consisted of two men on a boat, but when the coin mold was in the process of being sent to the mint, it was lost; this meant they had to scrap the idea for the first design and go with the second, the loon, to avoid the possibility of an amass of counterfeit coins. New coin designs are created by artists and sometimes even the general public though contests.

Regarding the coin production, coins are first made into blanks and once the blank is perfect, it is stamped with the coin’s design. Machines stamp the coins incredibly fast—they are stamped at a rate of 14 coins per second. The coins have to go through a quality check before they are packaged and shipped out. Tours lead you through a hallway where you can look down upon the production process as the various steps and procedures are explained. Brinks Security delivers the coins to where they need to go—the mint doesn’t want to attract attention by sending out one of their branded trucks! Damaged coins, either from the factory or from the public, are crushed by the mint and cannot be reused or remade into new coins.

Understandably, employees have to go through a rigorous security process every day when they arrive and when they leave. Their uniforms cannot have any metal on them—this spawned after a past employee managed to steal thousands of quarters in his “steel-toed” boots.

The Royal Canadian Mint, Winnipeg, Canada

The Royal Canadian Mint, Winnipeg, Canada

The entire tour lasts around 30-45 minutes and once the tour is over, you can head back downstairs for a look around the small museum type lobby. There are interactive displays showing what countries the Royal Canadian Mint produces money for, the weight of gold compared to other materials and more. The Royal Canadian Mint has also made medals for the Olympics, so they were on display in the lobby as well.

The Royal Canadian Mint, Winnipeg, Canada

The Royal Canadian Mint, Winnipeg, Canada

Also, if you are lucky, you will have the chance to hold a half million dollar gold bar. The gold bar weighs around 10 kilos, and it was definitely much heavier than I was expecting.

The Royal Canadian Mint, Winnipeg, Canada

The Royal Canadian Mint, Winnipeg, Canada

Even though it may not be the most exciting and adventurous activity around, touring the Canadian Mint definitely made for an interesting morning. I loved getting a peek behind-the-scenes into how money is made and we learned a gamut of out of the ordinary facts!

The Royal Canadian Mint, Winnipeg, Canada

Have you ever been to a mint to see how money is produced?

 

18 Comments
  • Ryan Biddulph
    Twitter:
    Posted at 22:56h, 20 June Reply

    Awesome pics Jenna! Neat Looney fact too 😉 Thanks!
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted…How to Live the Dream: 1 Tip to Go from Rags to RichesMy Profile

  • Raphael Alexander Zoren
    Twitter:
    Posted at 08:23h, 24 June Reply

    I love toonies and loonies! Canadian currency rocks!
    Raphael Alexander Zoren recently posted…Costa Rica and the importance of wildlife conservationMy Profile

  • Bev
    Twitter:
    Posted at 14:34h, 24 June Reply

    I think that they need a new cutout to pose with since the demise of the penny. Which countries does the mint make money for?

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 18:49h, 29 June Reply

      They could use a new cutout for sure! There are over 60 countries that they make money for–not sure of the full list, but a few of them are Cuba, Norway, USA and Columbia.

  • Michelle - Very Hungry Explorer
    Twitter:
    Posted at 18:44h, 24 June Reply

    I’m with you – I love factory tours and things like this! I went on a tour of an Audi factory last year and it was absolutely fascinating to see how they make the cars (and I don’t even drive)!
    Michelle – Very Hungry Explorer recently posted…Doel; The Ghost Town of BelgiumMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 18:51h, 29 June Reply

      That would be a super interesting tour to take! I’ll have to check into that it we are ever around one!

  • Lauren Bassart
    Twitter:
    Posted at 08:35h, 25 June Reply

    It’s a shame they don’t give you some cash as a parting gift 🙂 Love the giant gold brick you tried to make off with and your penny portrait is a hoot.
    Lauren Bassart recently posted…A Day at the Spa at Hotel HersheyMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 18:53h, 29 June Reply

      Haha, thanks–I wish the gold bar wasn’t chained up!! I like your idea though–they should definitely give some coins as a parting gift! 🙂

  • Megan Kennedy
    Twitter:
    Posted at 01:17h, 26 June Reply

    I had no idea we made money for countries besides Canada, great fact. I love learning how things work and are made. I haven’t been to the Mint in Winnipeg but I’m pretty sure we went to the one in Ottawa when I was a child. Time to make a return visit!
    Megan Kennedy recently posted…Why Visit British Columbia – #WhyVisitCanadaMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 18:54h, 29 June Reply

      I was surprised they make money for so many countries too! It was a super interesting tour–time for another visit indeed 🙂

  • Mary Calculated Traveller
    Twitter:
    Posted at 07:38h, 26 June Reply

    I’ve never been to an actual mint before and think it would be super cool. I have visited currency museums in Washington DC and in Ottawa Ontario (I’m a geek that way – postage and currency and I swoon LOL). I agree with Bev – they need new cut outs for the loonie and the toonie – I’d be posing in all of them!
    Mary Calculated Traveller recently posted…Goldilocks and the STM dux for iPad Case – A ReviewMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 18:56h, 29 June Reply

      I agree too; they really do need new cutouts! The currency museums sound like fun–I always love that type of stuff too–the history and production process is so interesting!

  • Lew
    Twitter:
    Posted at 23:18h, 26 June Reply

    You know, I’ve never been to a mint. Hadn’t really thought about how it was all made – thanks for sharing!
    Lew recently posted…Enjoying a drink at the Czech Beer FestivalMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 18:57h, 29 June Reply

      Thanks! Glad you found it interesting–I hadn’t thought about it either until researching things to do in the area. I’m happy we made the stop!

  • Megan Claire
    Twitter:
    Posted at 17:03h, 27 June Reply

    I love visiting Mints! I always pay double the price for $1 coins made there and have a little collection going lol. Though I like the look of that gold bar more than the $1 coins lol

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 18:58h, 29 June Reply

      That’s a great idea!! I should have done that; although I liked the idea of the gold bar too 🙂

Post A Comment

CommentLuv badge