Couldn’t have gone better
After four years of plans, worries, setbacks, successes and sheer hard work, the Bank of Canada Museum opened its doors—on Canada Day, right on schedule. Whew! Our future began with a ribbon cutting. And no, the deed was not done by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. The Bank has its own in-house ribbon cutting team, thank you very much, in the form of Governor Stephen S. Poloz with Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn A. Wilkins. They may not be royalty, but it’s nice that our ribbon cutters are both Canadian VIPs and friends.
Since we were expecting around 2,000 visitors, it was an “all hands on deck” day for the opening event. Nearly the entire Museum staff was there, helping kids at the craft tables, working the door, assisting with the interactives or just strolling around and lending a hand where needed. Fortunately, there was no need to employ another nautical term: “all hands to the pumps.” At no time did our opening day resemble a sinking ship—just a crowded one. In fact, keeping the crowds down to our maximum capacity required a fair amount of management in itself but fortunately we did not require a bouncer. To keep the folks in line happy, our roving entertainer was on the plaza, helping the wait times seem as brief as possible.
In fact, a number of things were happening on the plaza where our rather unmissable welcome tent was set up. From under it (a relief for staff no matter what the weather) we distributed our swag: bookmarks, balloons, hand fans, temporary tattoos and cookies—all very popular. The cookie supply actually lasted a surprising amount of time. (about 20 minutes) To be honest, anything longer than fifteen minutes was surprising and it didn’t matter whether the cookie consumers visited the Museum or not. The cookies were simply clever advertising and a whole lot tastier than a brochure or button.
Even though the Museum has a legal capacity of 400 visitors, there are only so many digital label stations or interactive units. We needed a little supplemental labelling of the human variety for this contingency, so our team of guides got a major verbal workout. For the very curious, two of our curators were on hand to explain the significance and history of the artifacts in greater detail. It’s not every day they get to talk to the public about their subject —and they really like their subject. Fortunately, nobody got our Chief Curator going on Japanese Hansatsu paper money or they’d still be there.
The Museum team was joined by a few members of the Bank’s Currency Department. They were promoting the Canada 150 commemorative bank note and along with an information kiosk, had a table where visitors could get a fresh, new commemorative $10 bill. Of course the staff weren’t giving the notes away—visitors had to exchange their old $10 bills for new ones—but it proved a popular feature anyway.
In all, 2,823 people walked through our doors this Canada Day. That’s a major crowd and they sure seemed to have a good time—especially the kids. I doubt that even half our visitors got a chance to fly the 2 per cent rocket and the digital labels proved a bit too popular for most visitors to get a close-up of their favourite artifact, but that was never the point. The point was for people to wander around, learn what we’re about and want to come back and explore the Museum at their leisure. It was really just a big “Hello” to Canadians and there couldn’t have been a better time than when so many thousands of them were in the neighbourhood and in a mood to celebrate.
And now we’d like to thank you for visiting us. It was our pleasure and we hope to see you again, soon. Just not all at once, please.
The Museum Blog
Teaching math using money
From skip counting to making change, working with money is a great way for students to practice math skills.
Caring for your coins
Coin collecting can be a fun and fascinating hobby. But there are a few things you should know to keep your collection safe and in good condition. Because coins aren’t as robust as you might imagine.
Security is in the bank note
Security printing is a game of anticipating and responding to criminal threats. Counterfeiting is a game of anticipating and responding to bank note design. This cat and mouse relationship affects every aspect of a bank note.
Teaching art with currency
From design to final product, bank notes and coins can be used to explore and teach art, media and process.
New Acquisitions—2022 Edition
It’s a new year—the perfect time to look back at some notable artifacts the Museum added to the National Currency collection from 2022. Each object has a unique story to tell about Canada’s monetary and economic history.
Money: it’s a question of trust
The dollars and cents we use wouldn’t be worth anything to anybody if we didn’t have confidence in it. No matter if it’s gold or digits on a hard drive, public trust is the secret ingredient in a successful currency.
The day Winnipeg was invaded
People on the street were randomly stopped and searched, and some were even arrested and imprisoned in an internment camp. Even German marks replaced Canadian currency in circulation—in the form of If Day propaganda notes.
The imagery on the Bank of Canada’s 1935 note series depicts the country’s rich industrial history.
Army bills: Funding the War of 1812
In 1812, British North America had no banks and little currency. With the prospect of war drying up supplies of coins, the government of Lower Canada decided to issue legal tender notes called “army bills” to pay for troops and supplies.
Between tradition and technology
What was proposed was a complete about-face from the philosophy behind recent security printing. If photocopiers could easily deal with the colours and designs of the current series, then the next series should be bold and simple.