Have you wondered how money is made and how it affects our country’s economy?
As a resident of Ottawa, I’m fascinated by the history and culture of the city, and one of my favorite places to learn about our heritage is the Bank of Canada Museum, an institution that offers a view into the world of money and finance.
In this guide, I will provide some information to help you plan your visit.
What You Need to Know Before Visiting the Bank of Canada Museum
Located in the heart of downtown Ottawa, the museum is an accessible place. However, it is best to create a plan to make the most out of your visit.
Location: 30 Bank Street, Ottawa, Ontario
Operation Hours: Thursday – Monday (10:00 AM to 5:00 PM)
Admission Fees: Free
What You Will See in the Bank of Canada Museum
The Bank of Canada Museum showcases permanent and special exhibitions featuring money-related artifacts. The exhibitions aim to teach visitors about the appreciation of money and economic heritage.
The museum’s permanent exhibition uses a huge digital touch wall where people can swipe through 1,400 digitized objects including coins, banknotes, documents, and payment cards. I was impressed by the use of technology in this section.
The interactive activities that guests can do include creating their own banknote, creating an avatar on the digital wall, and playing a game where they can fly a rocket through the galaxy of economic challenges.
Moreover, the museum also has a collection of finance-related articles that the guests can use as references for their research.
Another exciting feature of the museum is the special exhibitions. The current special exhibition is composed of 800 money-related questions from children across Canada, along with answers from the museum staff.
According to the museum’s website, the special exhibitions can be from the museum’s own collection or from other institutions.
How to Get There
There are many ways to get to the Bank of Canada Museum. You can use public transportation, ride a car, or a bike.
If you choose to go to the museum by public transit, you can take the O-Train from Ottawa and get off at Parliament. From Gatineau, any STO bus that passes through downtown will take you to the museum.
Car or Bike
You can also go to the museum by car or by bike. There are bike racks in the area, but there are limited spaces for vehicle parking.
Important Objects in the Bank of Canada Museum’s Collection
The Bank of Canada Museum has a huge collection of money-related artifacts. The collection was designated as the National Currency Collection and has grown from when it was founded in 1962.
Due to their sensitive nature, the objects are displayed in protective display cases. They can be viewed up close using the digital kiosks which are also included in the exhibitions.
Here are some of what the museum considers the highlights of its collection:
1943 Canadian Nickel Without the Beaver
In one of the permanent exhibitions, visitors will find important artifacts including a 1943 Canadian Nickel.
What is unique about this Nickel is that during World War II, nickel was rationed and the Royal Canadian Mint was forced to use steel to make coins instead. This is why they removed the beaver to save on materials.
1908 One Cent
Also in the permanent exhibition, a 1908 once cent is displayed.
The significance of this coin is that in January 1908, the Canadian branch of the Royal Mint opened after years of having all the coins minted in the United Kingdom. This historic coin was used to mark the occasion.
1859 $10 bill from the Bank of Montreal
Another part of the permanent exhibition highlights an 1859 $10 bill which is notable for its design. It marked the beginning of the sophisticated design of money.
The bill features fine details that are hard to duplicate to deter counterfeiters. Towards the nineteenth century, two-color printing and the use of finely detailed, machine-made patterns called ‘guilloche’ became the standard.
1858 one-cent piece from the Province of Canada.
Going through the artifacts in the permanent exhibition, visitors can also find another historic coin which is an 1858 one-cent.
In a major step towards independence, the Province of Canada (Québec and Ontario) adopted a decimal currency system. In 1858, the new currency was divided into 100 cents taking reference from the US dollar.
The new system became simpler and easier to use than the old system which used pounds, shillings, and pence.
Educational Resources in the Bank of Canada Museum
The Bank of Canada Museum offers a variety of educational programs for students (Grades 4, Grades 5-8, Grades 9 -12) using materials such as lesson plans, video discussions, and articles.
Most of the materials are interactive, making it easier for children to learn.
Other Facilities of the Bank of Canada Museum
Aside from the well-thought-out curation, another thing that contributes to the overall experience in the museum is the facilities that make it accessible and exciting for everyone. These include:
- Audio tours for visitors with hearing impairments
- Captioning in English and French
- Areas for children to play
- Gift shop
- Facilities for special needs including wheelchair ramps and accessible washrooms. Guests can also borrow magnifying glasses from the reception.
The Bank of Canada Museum is a fascinating place to learn about the economic heritage of Canada with its informative exhibits and entertaining programs. It is accessible and child-friendly, which makes the experience suitable for everyone.