Expecting about 60,000 visitors throughout the duration of the Games, the Royal Canadian Mint has been overwhelmed with the positive public response to their exhibits and Olympic medal displays. Having seen about 80,000 visitors to date already, they have lineups that cross several city blocks, some often waiting about 5-7 hours just to get in the mint.
Located in the beautiful SFU Segal Graduate School of Business building the Royal Canadian Mint features a boutique, coin displays, the “Gold Room”, and of course the most popular attraction – the Olympic and Paralympic medals which the public can touch.
You can learn about the process of making these medals, which are the first-ever non-flat medals in Olympic history. Once the Vancouver 2010 Games are over they’ll live at the Mint in Ottawa and also at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
There are dozens of exhibits and commemorative coins on display and the “touch & feel” opportunities make this one of the best pavilions around. You can even catch a glimpse of the Mint’s $1 million gold coin. I was told that when it was made (of the purest gold bullion in the world) they made 4 more for private parties who were interested in purchasing one for themselves. Since it was made, the coin has appreciated and is now worth about $4 million.
The Royal Canadian Mint is currently running several contests.
The Royal Canadian Mint pavilion will wrap things up February 28th but until that time they are open from 9:00am until 10:00pm daily (at 500 Granville Street).
Update: It should also be noted that there are two lines for the Mint. There is a shorter one for just Mint exhibit access and the much longer one is specifically to view the medals. Make sure you line up in the right one so you don’t miss out.
Update: The Royal Canadian Mint pavilion will be open during the Paralympics. It will move to 350 W Georgia at the Vancouver Public Library’s main branch. Hours of operation will follow the Library’s schedule of Monday to Thursday, 10:00am to 9:00pm, Friday and Saturday 10:00am to 6:00pm, and Sunday 12:00pm to 5:00pm.