Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask

First a little history. The Bank of Canada Museum owes its existence to the National Currency Collection. Begun modestly by the Bank of Canada in the late 1950s, the Collection was mandated in 1962 to create the most comprehensive collection possible of Canadian coins, tokens and paper money. A series of curators took on this challenge, purchasing items individually and obtaining large private collections as well as holdings from Library and Archives Canada. Over the years, the curators have also acquired for the Collection many thousands of examples of international currency and trade items from throughout human history. Included in the Collection mandate were artifacts for money production, storing, measuring and accounting. The Collection was officially designated as “The National Currency Collection” in 1977. Now at over 110,000 artifacts, the Collection continues to grow, with special attention paid to further augmenting what is the world’s most complete collection of Canadian currency and currency production items.

A place in which to exhibit and interpret this comprehensive Collection was included in the plans for the Bank of Canada head office building complex—designed by Arthur Erickson in the early 1970s. In December of 1980, the Currency Museum opened its doors to the public, revealing a 5,200 square-foot space exhibiting over 9000 coins, notes, tokens, printing plates and related paraphernalia. Built in the former ‘Banker’s Hall’ of the original 1937 head office, the Museum had a prominent space opening into the magnificent Garden Court on the Sparks Street side of the complex. Through its permanent and temporary exhibitions, and educational programs, the Museum has fulfilled a significant role in educating the public on Canadian numismatic and economic history for over thirty years.

And now to the future. With the planned renovation of the head office complex came the opportunity to re-invent the Museum. Now the Bank of Canada Museum has a new mandate, a new mission and a new vision. In 2017, it will also have a shiny new state-of-the-art facility. With technology, creativity and innovation, our museum planners are creating an immersive, fun and compelling museum and visitor centre. It’s aim is to bring the work of the Bank of Canada to Canadians from the perspective of Canadians’ everyday experience with the economy and to feature new and exciting presentations of the National Currency Collection both as objects and in digital form.

The Bank of Canada Museum Mandate, Mission and Vision

Mandate

To provide Canadians with a public space where they are encouraged to learn about the policies and functions of the Bank of Canada and gain an understanding of the Bank’s role in guiding the Canadian economy, and to foster and grow the National Currency Collection.

Mission

To creatively bring the work of the Bank of Canada to Canadians by demystifying the Bank’s key functions and interpreting Canada’s monetary heritage; and to provide access to Canada’s National Currency Collection.

Vision

To be a recognized, world-class Museum that illuminates the work of the Bank of Canada and imagines a future where all Canadians can understand, appreciate and value their economic heritage.