|Royal Canadian Mint|
|Name||Royal Canadian Mint|
The Royal Canadian Mint (RCM, Francais: Monnaie Royale Canadienne) produces all of Canada's circulation coins, and manufactures circulation coins on behalf of other nations. The mint also designs and manufactures: collector coins; gold, silver, palladium, and platinum (1989–1999) bullion coins; customized medals, tokens, trade dollar watches, and, for a brief time, high end jewellery featuring coin designs. It further offers gold and silver refinery and assay services.
The RCM has been at the forefront of currency innovation. Among the mint's technical innovations are its plating process, which consists of a multi-ply technology that allows electromagnetic signatures to be embedded in the coins, assuring readability in the coin-processing industries. Another innovation was the world's first coloured circulation coin, the 2004 Remembrance Day 25¢ piece, with a red poppy on the reverse. Further innovation was achieved with the adaptation of the physical vapour deposition (PVD) technology to coat its dies, extending the life of the die beyond that of past chrome-coated dies.
For the first fifty years of Canadian coinage (cents meant to circulate in the Province of Canada were first struck in 1858), the coins were not struck in Canada. For the most part, they were struck at the Royal Mint in London, though some were struck at the private Heaton's Mint. With greater coinage needs, as well as Canada's emerging status as a nation in its own right, a need was seen for coinage to be struck within Canada. A branch of the Royal Mint was authorized to be built in Ottawa.
Established as the Ottawa branch of the Royal Mint, Governor General Lord Grey and Lady Grey activated the presses for the Canadian Mint on January 2, 1908. When the facility first opened, it had 61 employees. Three years later, the refinery opened, and in 1915 the mint chlorine method of gold refining was introduced. In its first years, both Canadian gold coins and British sovereigns were struck, but the disuse of gold as a coinage metal meant it was not until 1967 that gold coins were again struck.
The Ottawa facility on Sussex Drive passed from British into Canadian control in 1931, reporting to the Department of Finance. It was then renamed the Royal Canadian Mint. The mint struck medals for military and volunteer war service between 1945 and 1947 and began producing commemorative and collector coins during Canada's centennial in 1967.
In 1969 the Government of Canada reorganized the RCM as a Crown corporation. In 2006, the Royal Canadian Mint's new silver refinery was commissioned. Customers bringing their gold to Ottawa for refining now have the opportunity to have the silver refined too.
The last surviving member of the RCMs original staff was Owen Toller. He started in the RCM as a Junior Clerk and retired as an Administrative Officer. He retired after 45 years of service on January 6, 1953. At the age of 102 years, Mr. Toller died in November 1987.
In November 1960 the Master of the Mint, N.A. Parker, advised the Minister of Finance that there was a need for a new facility. It was recognized that there was a need to have an additional facility to produce coins. The Philadelphia Mint produced some 10¢ coins, and all numismatic coins were produced in Hull, Quebec. The facility in Ottawa served as a refinery.
In 1963 and subsequently, in 1964, the government discussed the possibility of producing a new facility, which would be functional within 2 years. Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson suggested building the facility in Elliot Lake, Ontario.
Despite these discussions, nothing had yet occurred. A 1968 study indicated that the Ottawa Mint facility was truly antiquated. When the Royal Canadian Mint became a Crown Corporation in 1969, the belief was that a decision would be reached. Ironically, there was no need for a new facility because most of the workload was a carryover from the high demand of 1968.
Funds had been allocated to a new facility, but no real planning had begun. Once more, the emphasis was to search for a facility in Ottawa. Initially, the first consideration was to replace the existing facility altogether. In May 1969, the idea flickered out. It was decided that the Royal Canadian Mint would keep the historic building but have a new facility for the manufacturing of circulation coins.
Upon completion, it was very clear that this new facility was completely different from the facility in Ottawa. Architect Etienne Gaboury designed a striking sight with its triangular form soaring above the flat prairie. The RCM facility in Winnipeg started to manufacture coins, and the facility was officially opened in 1976. The Winnipeg branch of the Royal Canadian Mint allowed Ottawa to concentrate solely on collector coins while the Winnipeg mint would produce the entire supply of circulation coins.
Notable foreign coinsEdit
In 1997, the Royal Canadian Mint produced a commemorative gold coin, issued by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to mark the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on 1 July 1997. The gold coin bore the standard Bauhinia design on the obverse side, with a special commemorative design of the Hong Kong skyline (removing Mount Victoria, which the HK government stated was a symbol of British colonialism) on the reverse side. The gold coin is legal tender with HK$1,000 face value.
Two years later, the Monetary and Foreign Exchange Authority of Macau commissioned the Royal Canadian Mint to create a commemorative coin to recognize the transfer of the Macau region to the People’s Republic of China. The coin is sterling silver and featured a gold cameo. The face value is 100 Pacatas and had a diameter of 31.103 mm and a weight of 38 grams. The coin features a Portuguese ship and a Chinese barque sharing coastal waters. The historic Ma Gao Temple (Pagoda de Barra) appears in the cameo.