Olympic Medals on Display

This is the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa, Ontario.  It is the place where they make the money but it is also the place where this year’s Olympic Medals were constructed as well.

Security was really tight. You could only take photos of the medals and nothing else.

These are the moulds that were designed by artist Corrine Hunt. I was surprised to see that the medals aren’t flat. They have a wavy shape to them.

The tour guide said that there are 40 steps involved in creating each medal. Each medal is unique as well and they actually fit together to form an image.

Apparently there are over a thousand “different designs that are laser-etched onto the metals uneven surface.”

“Each athlete will also receive a silk scarf printed with the complete image so they can see where their medal fits.”*

Cameras of any kind are normally banned from the Royal Canadian Mint. I was glad that the ban was lifted this past weekend so I could take these photos.

It was cool being that close to an actual Olympic medal. Too bad we weren’t allowed to try them on or touch them. I guess these photos will have to do.

I took the tour of the mint but couldn’t take any more pictures. I did learn that not all coins are stamped. Some designs are cut into the coin by lasers.

Another interesting fact is that we produce some currency for other countries that do not have their own mints. There were about 40 different countries on a display wall showing which coins we have produced for them here in Canada.

* from Impression Winter 2010 pamphlet available from the Royal Canadian Mint. 

4 responses to “Olympic Medals on Display”

  1. Hi Chase – how interesting: I'd thought they were curved, having seen a presentation. Great to be allowed in and have a look around and actually see the medals – so often we just see a photo in the distance.

    I knew that not every country has a Mint and that countries' with Mints can bid for currency production. I expect the process has changed as lasers have become so sophisticated.

    Our currency, Sterling, here in England, tied in with the Euro, is now quite difficult to ascertain if it is real or not – if you're given a handful of change .. as some of the coins have the Queen on one side, but the other could be any number of designs – and it's quite disconcerting!

    Thanks and I love its castellated exterior!

  2. Hi Hilary,

    I know what you mean. There are so many variations of coins nowadays. It used to be just one design so everyone knew what a quarter was supposed to look like. But there are so many collector quarters being put into circulation these days that it is hard to keep them all straight.

    I haven't seen a Euro or a Sterling. Maybe one day I will get to visit the U.K. All of our coins have the Queen on them as well. I guess that's still the best way to know it's a legit currency.

  3. Wow, Chase, this is a very informative and valuable post! Great job! I certainly learned a few things.

    You must very proud of your country — a good host and a worthy place to hold the Olympics.

  4. Hi ECD,

    It's nice that the games are here. It's on the other side of the country but I did get to see the medals and I did see the torch come through my community as well. So, yeah, it's exciting and I'm glad I had those experiences. Go Canada Go!