What happens at the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg?
January 29, 2021
Dylan Friesen, user experience designer with Western Financial Group, outside the Royal Canadian Mint building in Winnipeg.
Established in Ottawa in 1908, the Royal Canadian Mint is the Crown corporation that manufactures all Canadian circulation coins and also manufactures circulation coins for other countries. The Mint also produces collector coins, medallions, tokens and medals. Its also mandated to manage distribution and teams advise the Minister of Finance on coinage related matters.
The Royal Canadian Mint operates in the public’s interest but is also mandated to be profitable and operate without taxpayer support. Like private companies, it also has a board of directors.
The Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg
Construction of the Royal Canadian Mint facility in Winnipeg began in 1973 and it opened in 1976. Designed by the architect Etienne Gaboury, it is a dramatic, triangular building.
The opening of the Winnipeg branch of the Royal Canadian Mint allowed the Ottawa branch to produce only collector coins while the Winnipeg facility took over production of circulation coins and foreign currency. The high-tech 14,864 square metre facility produces up to 2 billion coins per year.
Canadian circulation coins
The reigning monarch appears on all Canadian coins but the reverse design often changes to commemorate Canadian values, culture and history. All Canadian circulation coins since 2000 have been produced using multi-ply plated steel, except loonies and toonies, which have been manufactured using this process since 2012.
One major change to circulation coins many Canadians remember is the toonie, which came into circulation in 1996 and was the first Canadian bi-metallic coin.
Foreign circulation coins
The Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg has produced coins for more than 75 countries including New Zealand, Uganda, Cuba, Colombia, Norway, Yemen, Thailand, Papua New Guinea and Iceland.
Gold and silver coins
The Royal Canadian Mint manufactures palladium, gold, platinum and silver Maple Leaf bullion coins, as well as bars, and wafers for investors. In 2019, the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg produced gold and silver numismatic (collector) coins. They were a joint effort between the Ottawa and Winnipeg facilities to produce a tribute to the famous Maple Leaf bullion coins.