Yesterday I headed out to Vancouver with my two sisters. D really wanted to go to the Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion and when we arrived, there were two line-ups. We weren’t aware of this at first, so we lined up in the first line that we say (which snaked around the entire block and rounded a corner). This line was for viewing the Olympic medals, as well as getting to touch them, and the rest of the pavilion.

That line up was an estimated 7.5 hours – just for viewing the medals, on top of everything else!

We switched to the second line up, as that was 45 minutes to an hour wait (we waited for an hour and maybe 20 minutes). During this wait, J stayed in the line while D and I walked across the street to get food from Subway – solid food! I’m so happy, haha.

This was the insane lineup. On the right was the ‘shorter’ line for the pavilion, sans medals. On the left is the massive lineup (7.5 hours!) to see and touch the medals (wearing gloves!) as well as the rest of the pavilion.

Line-ups at the Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion
Super insane lines for the Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion.

I got to see some really beautiful coins – there are so many. I also learned that the Royal Canadian Mint has made currency for over half of the world’s countries, including the United States of America at one point. Plus, the mint runs 24/7, making new coins all the time. I thought this was really cool. All the ‘limited run’ coins are made in Ottawa (they only produce ~8,000 coins per day), while the general minting occurs in Winnipeg, Manitoba (and they produce a lot).

Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion
Entrance to the Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion.

Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion - Million Dollar Coin - tails
Tails side of the Million Dollar Coin

Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion - Million Dollar Coin - heads
Heads side of the Million Dollar Coin

A block or so away from the Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion was Northern House, representing Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Sunday was Nunavut day! I got two pins (one with Nunavut, the other with Northern House), which was nice. There were demonstrations of games that children play, as well as displays of mining, transportation, traditional clothing and shoes as well as artwork.

It was well-worth the wait to get in, just to see everything! There was this impressive mountain of food, the sign said that it was approximately 6 months of food for an average family and most families only get the chance to order food twice a year and that if they forgot something, they would have to either go without or trade with another family. It really put things into perspective, considering how lucky I am and a lot of others are to be able to go to a grocery store on a whim to get whatever food we want while some people need to plan for months in advanced. Also, a dollar for a can of pop in Vancouver, BC is nearly $3 for a can of pop in Nunavut.

I also got to say hi to John Furlong (the CEO of VANOC!) while I was in the Northern House, but he couldn’t pose for a photo because he was constantly having mothers shove children into his hands for photo opportunities. The artwork there was amazing. The small gift shop that was there had a sweater that was made from 100% qivuit (for those who aren’t completely fibre geeks, it’s the fibre that comes from a muskox which is incredibly expensive because the animals aren’t sheared like sheep) that was adult-sized and priced at well over $2000 for one sweater. But it felt like a complete dream.

Northern House - Cariboo
Caribou at the Northern House

Northern House - Muskox
Muskox at the Northern House – this is the animal that qivuit comes from!

Northern House - Polar Bear!
Polar bear (squee!) at Northern House

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