Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Royal Canadian Mint
Monday was our day to go to the Canadian Mint. While we’ve been in Winnipeg, our daily routine has been to have breakfast, do the morning chores, then go up to the office for about an hour for internet. About 9:30 we’re ready to head out for the sightseeing activity of the day then come home for a late lunch and spend the rest of the day piddling around the house. That schedule has worked out very well and this has been a very relaxing week.
We were going to follow that same plan for Monday. The guidebook indicated the Mint didn’t open until 9 AM. When we got back from our internet time, Gene called the Mint just to make sure they were open and giving tours. They were, on both counts, but the tour schedule was different on Mondays. Instead of a tour every half hour, they were only every hour beginning on the half hour. They offer two tours--one in French and one in English. We, of course, wanted English and as it turned out the next one was at 9:30. We didn’t have time to get there for that so had to wait for the next English tour at 11:30. It was good thing Gene called.
We went over about 11 and had a few minutes to take photos outside and browse around the gift shop before our tour started. Photos are not permitted on the tour.
There are two mints in Canada. The other is in Ottawa which produces the collectors coins. The mint in Winnipeg makes all the coins for circulation in Canada--millions of coins a year. They also strike coins for over 70 other nations. Currently, they’re producing coins for Ethiopia. The drive through two rows of national flags as you approach the building represent all the nations for which the mint has produced coins.
The tour was conducted from the second level so we were actually looking down on the work being done on the first floor. The tour began at the “loading” dock where spools of steel are delivered then continued through each step to the finished coins counted, wrapped, and boxed to be sent out another “loading” area for distribution. It was very interesting and worth the $5 each for admission.
In the gift shop, there is a 99.99% pure gold bar on display. It’s chained down and there is an armed guard standing by, but you can pick it up. Our AAA guidebook from 2009 lists its worth at $200.000. The 2011 Winnipeg Visitor Guide lists it at $400,000. The current value when Gene picked it up yesterday was over $600,000. Wish our little next egg were doing as well as that gold bar.
When we finally got back home after the tour, a quick stop at the grocery, and lunch at Perkins, we didn’t have water. Apparently, it was some sort of electrical problem at the office. They didn’t have water or electricity. Boy, were we lucky since it was 90 degrees and we really needed the AC. Anyway, the couple of hours before it’s fixed turned into something like 12. We have often said, and sometimes practice, that we should always have some water in the fresh water tank and also have a gallon of drinking water in case of emergencies.
We had some water in the fresh tank, but not much and we were really lucky to have that because Gene was planning to drain that tank and put in fresh water before we left here. If he had drained it, we would have been out of luck. We didn’t have any drinking water except for what was in our small water bottles we carry around with us.
It’s not often that the water is off at a campground, but it happens from time to time. Usually, it’s a scheduled repair and we know in advance. Monday was an emergency. We have a new rule now--always have some water in the fresh tank and a gallon of drinking water on hand.
Tuesday will be our last day in Canada. We plan to head to Minnesota Wednesday morning. So no more sightseeing; we’ve got to prepare to move and get things in order for a border crossing.
That’s it for today. Thanks for tagging along.