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Coldawa in Ottawa

This morning I went to the mint here in Ottawa. Not a gigantic Polo Mint, but the place where Canada’s comemmorative coins, collector’s coins, medals and even other nations’ currency is produced. Normal currency has been made at the mint in Winnipeg for the last few decades. However, the next tour was at 1pm, so …

This afternoon I went to the mint here in Ottawa. The tour was OK – there’s not really a huge amount to see and there wasn’t much that wasn’t obvious. Metals are melted down and pressed into strips; blanks are punched from the strips then stamped (by manually-operated machines); the coins are washed and polished and that’s about it.

There is a secret electoplating step in the process, which one of the tourists picked up on, but … well, it’s a secret. (Or maybe the pretty young tour guide didn’t know, and she was inventing to cover her arse … not that her arse was uncovered … unfortunately.) Apparently, more than 50% of the coins produced are substandard and are melted down to begin the process all over again.

In the gift shop was a range of coiny souvenirs, including a platinum $300 dollar coin that cost – wait for it – $3,000. Hmm, tempting. I bought a set of Canadian coins for $25.03. The set includes a 50c piece that isn’t in circulation for some reason. The set’s face value is $2 (a toonie) + $1 (a loonie, named for the duck-like bird on it) + 50c + 25c (a quarter) + 10c (a dime) + 5c (a nickel) + 1c (a penny) = $3.91.

Didn’t do much after that – I walked down the Rideau canal locks, took a couple of photos, but the weather wasn’t good enough for much of that kind of thing. Went back to the hostel for a lunch of cheese and cucumber sandwiches. Started reading The Crystal Shard. Stopped reading The Crystal Shard. Walked round town for a bit, looking, unsuccessfully, for a cinema. Had a dinner of Thai food (the dish was simply called General Thai – possibly he was a famous Thai soldier).

Later on this evening, I installed Civilization II and some photo utilities on my laptop. One of the utilities was a photostitching thing – and it’s a _hell_ of a lot easier to use than stitching manually – and the results are pretty good too.

Anything else to report? No, I don’t think so.

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