Canadian Geographic
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Geography of coins


The first coins intended specifically for circulation in the Province of Canada were struck in 1858 by the Royal Mint in London, England. Fifty years later, Canada began its own homegrown coin production in Ottawa. On Jan. 2, 1908, Governor General Earl Grey activated the press that struck the Dominion of Canada’s first domestically produced coin, a 50-cent piece bearing the effigy of King Edward VII.

In 1931, the British Royal Mint transferred its Ottawa minting operation on Sussex Drive to Canada, giving birth to the Royal Canadian Mint. It was great timing, given the burst in silver and gold production in the Yukon and British Columbia in the 1920s and 1930s and the growing needs of central banks in Canada and other countries.

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It was also a time for nation building, and the Royal Canadian Mint took up the challenge. In 1937, it introduced new 50-cent, 25-cent, 10-cent, 5-cent and 1-cent coins for Canada. The coins featured familiar Canadian icons: the coat of arms, caribou, the Bluenose schooner, the beaver and the maple leaf.

The Mint became a Crown corporation in 1969, with the expectation that it operate as a profitable commercial business.

In 1976, the Mint opened a second, ultra-modern, facility in Winnipeg. Its high-speed presses produce all Canadian circulation coins, as well as coins for other countries.


This piece features a timeline of significant milestones in the history of the Royal Canadian Mint from its creation in 1908 through to its operations in 2012. It is supported by historical images and photography of coins and medals struck at the Mint.


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Quiz :

How much is the Mint's largest gold bullion coin worth?

$1 million
$10 million
$500 000