Ever wonder where those coins jangling in your pocket are made? Or why Canadian coins don’t work in American vending machines? Maybe you’ve never thought about it. Maybe you have and couldn’t make heads or tails of it. Either way, you can find out by heading across the Red River to get an up-close, behind the scenes look at the Royal Canadian Mint, located across the Red River, at 520 Lagimoddiere Boulevard, about a fifteen minute drive from The Fort Garry Hotel.
Billions of coins are produced at the Winnipeg plant each year, literally. Dating back to 1976, every single Canadian coin is minted in Winnipeg. And not just Canadian coins are made here. The Mint has forged over 55 billion coins for over 75 countries around the globe, including Hong Kong, Uganda, and Norway. 50-ton presses are used to make of 1,000 coins per second. Yes, per second. At a size of nearly 15,000 square kilometers — or 9 miles in American terms — it’s not hard to understand how.
The Mint isn’t just for coin-collectors and numismatists. It’s interesting, informative, and interactive. Many visitors mint their own coins to commemorate their visits. Some test their knowledge by taking quizzes. Taking a selfie with the twenty-three pound gold bar is worth the cost of admission alone. More literally, that gold bar, which you’re permitted to touch and hold, is worth $100,000.
The Mint offers a 45-minute upbeat and entertaining tour. It’s so popular that is fills up fast and reservations are recommended, according to the website. Prices are cheap, and even cheaper on the weekend, at $6 dollars and $4.50, respectively. But be careful about visiting on the weekend, because operations shut down, so you’ll miss the massive and mesmerizing Rube Goldberg style production and stamping process. Family and group discounts are available as well.