This morning I was up bright and early for my tour of the Mint. Somewhere deep down in my consciousness, I know I already knew that Canada’s circulation coins are made in Winnipeg – not Ottawa – however, I was still irritated when I was reminded. WTF? Our change come from the Nation’s Capital! Our paper money does. They do make coins in Ottawa, albeit the non-circulation kind. The process is the same, so at least on the tour you do get to see how it all works. The mint in Ottawa also makes war medals and produced the Vancouver Olympic medals. (Interesting side note about the Winnipeg mint: Not only does it produce Canada’s circulation coins, it also makes coins for lots of other countries – Barbados and Cuba being the only two that I can remember).
Next up, I took a very touristy amphibus tour. I’d accidentally missed the tour I planned my entire trip around (a four hour fall foliage tour to Gatineau Park) but the lady working at the kiosk assured me I’d get to see some nice leaves on this one too. Happily, she didn’t lead me astray. My tour went out into the Greenbelt and took me past some stuff I either wouldn’t have been able to see (like the RCMP stables where the Musical Ride horses are kept and trained), didn’t care enough about to spend all day on (the aviation museum) or didn’t know about (the church the Queen attends mass at when she’s in town). I felt kind of weird when the bus turned into a boat. So ridiculous, yet awesome. Joining me on the tour were people from India, Oman, China, Germany and New Zealand, and only two other Canadians. So suck on that, everyone who didn’t think Ottawa was cool.
I finished up the day by walking around Sparks Street, which I thought was a titch overrated. I wanted it to be a bit more uniquely Ottawa, I guess. But with the emphasis on high-end shopping, Sparks rather reminded me of Toronto. I’ve got enough Toronto in my life.