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The Canadian Mint is officially known as the Royal Canadian Mint – in French the ‘Monnaie Royale Canadienne’ – and strikes all of Canada’s circulating currency. It also offers refinery services and mints bullion, foreign and numismatic coins.
Before the establishment of the Canadian Mint, coins were imported to Canada from the United Kingdom as part of the British Empire. These were struck by the Royal Mint in London, and Heaton’s Mint in Birmingham.
The historic Royal Canadian Mint premises in Ottawa, Ontario.
The Canadian Mint began in Ottawa as a division of the UK’s Royal Mint in 1908. It was designed in homage to Windsor Castle, and for the most part acted as a smelting site for Gold Sovereigns; coins to be converted to bullion bars as part of war debt repayments to the United States.
It gained independence from the Royal Mint before the Second World War, during the Great Depression in 1931. Renamed the ‘Royal Canadian Mint’, it then reported to the Canadian Department of Finance.
In 1969 it became a Crown Corporation, governed by the Sovereign of Canada and reporting to its own independent board of directors. The Board consists of ten members; a president (known as the ‘Master of the Mint’), a chairman, and eight other members.
Royal Canadian Mint buildings in Winnipeg, Manitoba, opened in 1976.
In 1976, as an addition to the original historic Ottawa building in Ontario, new facilities were opened in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The two facilities are over 1,000 miles apart, which gives the mint comprehensive coverage of the country, and access to raw materials from all over Canada.
Canada is the 5th largest producer of gold in the world, and was home to the Klondike gold rush in the late 19th century. The new Winnipeg operation in particular has better access to mines in Alberta.
In 1979, due to its architectural significance, the original Ottawa facility was made a National Historic Site. Despite its age, it continues to function as a major part of the Canadian mint's overall operational production. Today, the historic site in Ottawa mints predominantly collectable and bullion coins. The newer Winnipeg site mainly produces circulation currency for its domestic market, and over 70 other nations.
Royal Canadian Mint
The Canadian currency, struck by the Royal Canadian Mint, is the Canadian Dollar. It is abbreviated to ‘$’, ‘CA$’, ‘Can$’, or ‘C$’ to distinguish it from the US Dollar.
The Canadian Dollar is divided into 100 cents. The dollar coin shows a loon bird on its reverse, and is affectionately called a 'loonie'. The two dollar coin is called a 'toonie'.
Circulation coins include:
- 5¢ - Nickel
- 10¢ - Dime
- 25¢ - Quarter
- 50¢ - 50¢ piece (little used)
- $1 - ‘Loonie’ or ‘Huard’
- $2 - Toonie
There are also five, ten, twenty, fifty and one hundred dollar banknotes.
Canadian Mint bullion and collectible coins
The Royal Canadian Mint has struck many fine bullion and collectible coins, such as the current Louis Riel Special Edition Proof Dollar. However, the Canadian Maple Leaf coin is by far its most famous and recognisable product.
The Royal Canadian Mint strikes a huge number of maple leaf coins for investors, with a new issue each year. The maple includes gold, silver, platinum and palladium versions. All of the maples are classed as legal tender in Canada, with face values attributed to them.
The 1oz Canadian Gold Maple Leaf is the official bullion gold coin of Canada. These 24-carat pure gold coins are perfect for investors who prefer the finest gold bullion for investment or collection purposes.
Introduced in 1979 to rival the Krugerrand, the Maple is one of the most famous and recognisable bullion coins in the world, featuring the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, and the iconic Canadian Maple Leaf on the reverse.
The gold one ounce coin has a face value of 50 dollars. There are also half, quarter, tenth and twentieth ounce coins. These are struck in 24 carat, 999.9 fineness, gold.
The one ounce silver Maple Leaf has a face value of 5 dollars. These silver coins are struck in 999.9 fineness pure silver.
2019 Canadian Silver Maples. These feature a machined effect to the coin blank – giving texture to the surface.
As well as bullion coins, the Royal Canadian Mint also produces a large range of proof and collectible coins that attract buyers with slightly different interests. Proof coins differ from uncirculated coins in that their higher production costs mean they will usually come at significantly higher premiums than their bullion value.
Besides the standard bullion Maple Leaf coins, the Canadian Mint has also struck bi-metal, square, and coloured coins.
In 2007, the Canadian Mint produced 6, 99.999 pure gold Maple Leaf coins each weighing 100kg, with a face value of one million Canadian dollars. At the time they were the
world's largest bullion coins,
and one of these was famously stolen in 2017 from a museum in Berlin.