Royal Canadian Mint Celebrates 100th Anniversary

Royal Canadian Mint Celebrates 100th Anniversary

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Special commemorative products to be issued
OTTAWA, ONTARIO / WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - January 2, 2008  – One hundred years ago today, Governor General Earl Grey activated the press to strike a fifty-cent piece, Canada's first domestically produced coin. What would become known as the Royal Canadian Mint was officially open for business.

"To celebrate the centennial of the Mint is to celebrate the history of Canada," said Mr. Ian E. Bennett, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint. "Over the past century, the Mint has played an important role in the economic and social fabric of our nation, by creating circulation and commemorative collector coins which are a true testament to Canada's rich heritage and values."

The Mint's Ottawa facility, which occupies the same premises on which the Mint was founded, produces hand-crafted collector and commemorative coins, gold bullion coins, medals and medallions. Established in 1976, the Winnipeg Mint is a high-tech, high-volume manufacturing facility where Canada's circulation coinage is produced, as well as coins for countries around the world.

"Throughout 2008, the Mint is celebrating its employees who, both past and present, have contributed to its remarkable success," added Mr. Bennett. "Their combined efforts and overwhelming dedication have made the Mint one of the most innovative and respected in the world."

To commemorate its centennial, the Mint is producing a high-quality limited edition book which will describe the corporation's rich history in both text and photography. Numismatic coins marking this special anniversary will also be issued mid-year. In addition, Canada Post has announced that, in June, it will recognize the occasion by issuing a commemorative stamp in the Mint's honour.

This year, the Mint is inviting visitors to stop by its Ottawa and Winnipeg facilities, to take a tour, browse the boutique and be a part of its anniversary celebrations. To mark the occasion, the 100th visitor every day will receive a special commemorative gift. The Mint will also be taking an opportunity on Canada Day to open its doors and celebrate its centennial with fun-filled family activities.

For highlights of some of the significant moments in the Mint's history, please see below. To learn more about the Mint's products and services, visit www.mint.ca.

Over the last century, the Royal Canadian Mint has emerged as a global leader in minting. Some memorable events in its dynamic history include:
• 1908 – On January 2nd, Governor General Earl Grey activated the press to strike a fifty-cent piece, Canada's first domestically produced coin at the Mint's Sussex Drive facility, which is the site of the present-day Mint.
• 1911 – The Mint opened its gold refinery and by year's end, a record number of gold sovereigns were produced.
• 1931 – The Mint transformed from a branch of Britain's Royal Mint to the Royal Canadian Mint, a wholly Canadian institution.
• 1953 – The first effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II appeared on Canada's coins. Over the past five decades, the Queen's effigy has been updated three times, most recently in 2003.
• 1969 – The Mint became a Crown Corporation with a mandate to operate as a profitable business, rather than simply a supplier for Canada's coins.
• 1976 – The Mint's ultra-modern production facility opened in Winnipeg. All of Canada's circulation coins as well as coins for countries around the world are produced in this facility. Over the past 25 years, the Mint has produced coins for over 60 countries around the world.
• 1987 – The one-dollar circulation coin, affectionately known as the "Loonie", rolled off the assembly line in Winnipeg and into the pockets of Canadians. The bi-metallic two-dollar circulation coin followed in 1996.
• 1999 – The Mint's patented multi-ply plating technology made its debut and quickly revolutionized the industry. It delivers tremendous cost efficiencies and produces coins of increased durability and brilliance.
• 2004 – The Mint became the first in the world to issue a coloured circulation coin with the introduction of the "red poppy" 25-cent circulation coin, which was issued to pay homage to the brave Canadian men and women who have died while in the service of the nation.
• 2005 – Terry Fox became the first Canadian-born individual featured on a Canadian circulation coin when the Mint issued a one-dollar coin to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his Marathon of Hope.
• 2006 – The Mint became an Official Supporter of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Over the next four years, it will produce the most extensive Olympic circulation coin program ever conceived by any Mint worldwide and offer 36 numismatic products. The Mint will also strike the athlete medals for the Games, as it did for the XXI Olympic Games in Montreal.
• 2007 – The Mint unveiled a 100-kg, 99999 pure gold bullion coin with a $1 million face value as a flagship of its new line of one-ounce, 99.999% pure
Gold Maple Leaf coins - the purest gold bullion coins in the world.

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For more information, please contact:
Christine Aquino
Director, Communications
Royal Canadian Mint
(613) 993-9999
aquino@mint.ca