Royal Canadian Mint fonds [multiple media]
Record Information – Brief1
Royal Canadian Mint fonds [multiple media]
- Hierarchical level:
- R726-0-4-E, RG120
- Type of material:
- Multiple media, Objects (including medals and pins), Art, Photographs
- Found in:
- Archives / Collections and Fonds
- Item ID number:
- Context of this record:
Record Information – Details
- Fonds includes:
5 lower level description(s)View lower level description(s)
- Bilingual equivalent:
- Click here
- Place of creation:
15.0 m of textual records
165 videocassettes (32 h, 31 min, 50 s) : Betacam, U-matic, VHS
6 optical discs : DVD
3 film reels (ca. 24 min) : 16 mm.
- Language of material:
- Added language of material:
- English, French
- Scope and content:
Fonds consists of records created and maintained by the Royal Canadian Mint. Researchers are cautioned that unprocessed textual records and records in other media are not reflected in this description.
Moving images consist of miscellaneous film reels. Consult collection file for further information.
- Biography/Administrative history:
Royal Canadian Mint : In 1856, after gold was discovered in the Fraser River, the British government appointed Driscoll Gossett treasurer and gave him a mandate to set up a mint, if necessary. In 1860, the British Columbia colonial government decided to establish an assay (the term is used in mining circles to mean the operation by which the quality of a mineral is determine) office in New Westminster. After lengthy discussions, Governor Douglas allowed Driscoll Gossett to persuade him of the need to choose New Westminster rather than Victoria. Gossett, however, had to resign himself to building a much smaller office than he had dreamed of building. Another major discovery of gold in the Cariboo region in 1861 forced the British Columbia government to use the New Westminster assay office as a mint for striking 0 and 0 coins. Shortly afterward, a slight decrease in the output of gold resulted in the cancellation of the project to develop facilities in New Westminster. In the Constitution of 1867, the federal government was given jurisdiction over the production of coinage. The following year, the Canadian government passed An Act Respecting the Currency (31 Vic. Ch.45). This Act linked the rate of currency in Canada to that in the United States. However, this legislation was never implemented. In 1871, the New Westminster assay office was closed. Until that time, colonial coins were usually struck by the Royal Mint in London. However, from 1871 to 1884, Canadian coins were struck by the Heaton Mint in Birmingham. In 1890, Senator T.R. Mclnnes of British Columbia proposed the establishment of a mint in this province. This seemed logical, since the precious metal originated in British Columbia; however, the proposal was not adopted. The federal government was promptly accused of indifference toward Western issues. A major gold rush in the Klondike Valley in 1897 revived the hopes of those who wished to see a mint established; however, they were no more successful than before. Following a very convoluted and extraordinary series of negotiations with the imperial authorities, a Mint was established in 1901 as a branch of the Royal Mint in London under the Imperial Coinage Act. 1870 and the Ottawa Mint Act. 1901 (1 Edw. VII Ch.4) (The term "the Mint" is commonly used and refers to the Ottawa Mint and later the Royal Canadian Mint). Although the building was supposed to be erected in the spring of 1902, the construction was delayed. In 1901, the government opened an assay office in Vancouver, administered by a division of the Mint, which was then under the Department of the Interior. It was not until early in 1905 that a decision was made to construct the Mint buildings in Ottawa which had originally been planned in 1902. In 1907, Mr. James Bonar was appointed Deputy Master of the Ottawa Mint, the second highest position in the organization after the Master of the Mint in London. This also marked the last year that Canadian coins were minted in England. The Mint buildings in Ottawa were officially opened by the Governor General of Canada, Earl Grey, on January 2, 1908. Two years later, the Canadian Mint obtained the authority to produce its first gold coins. However, it took two years before the project could proceed. The first Canadian gold coins were minted in May, 1912. This could not have taken place without the support of the Minister of Finance, W.S. Fielding. Although he had reservations about the project at first, the Minister was persuaded of its merits and became its tireless promoter. Until 1914, only small quantities of gold bars were refined in Ottawa. However, during World War I, the Mint in Ottawa assisted the British government by establishing a small refinery that processed almost 20 million ounces of gold from South Africa for the Bank of England. Thereafter, the refining of gold became a major element of the Mint's operations. That same year, Arthur Cleave succeeded James Bonar as Deputy Master. After the war, i.e., in 1919, the Ottawa Mint stopped producing British sovereigns. Arthur Cleave, Deputy Master of the Mint in Ottawa, retired in 1925 and was replaced by John Honeyford Campbell, much against the expectations of the Canadian Minister of Finance. He would have liked to see the post filled by a Canadian who had worked as an engineer in the mechanical workshops: H.E. Ewart. There is no doubt that London wanted to maintain control over the Mint's operations. However, the new Minister of Finance, James A. Robb, never let up on the pressure to put an end the control of the Royal Mint. His contacts with the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time, Winston Churchill, became increasingly intense and urgent. During the thirties, it became obvious that a problem was confronting Canada, as she was required to maintain sufficient gold reserves to ensure a balanced rate of exchange at the time when an increase in the output of gold had created a significant relationship between the practices controlling the refining and marketing of gold bars and the maintenance of gold reserves in Canada. In June 1931, Prime Minister R.B. Bennett tabled a bill establishing the new Canadian Mint. On December 1, 1931 the Act came into effect. The administration of the Canadian Mint was transferred from London to the Department of Finance (21-22 Geo. Ch.48). John Honeyford Campbell was appointed Master of the Royal Canadian Mint. On May 1, 1935, the Royal Canadian Mint issued the first Canadian silver dollar. It commemorated the 25th anniversary of King George V. In 1937, an act authorized the Department of Finance to sign coinage contracts with foreign countries, on the condition that this in no way interfered with the production of domestic coinage. Henry Edward Ewart became Master of the Mint in 1938, replacing John Honeyford Campbell. Mr. Ewart was the first Canadian Master of the Mint. The royal visit of 1939 was cause for celebration at the Canadian Mint. Orders for the production of coins and various commemorative medals filled the institution's order pad and contributed to its growth and the funding of its operations. The entire period of World War II caused feverish activity at the Royal Mint. The increase in orders resulted in an expanded workforce, longer hours of work and the purchase of new machinery to meet the demand for coins and all sorts of medals. In 1944, Mr. A.P. Williams was appointed Acting Master of the Mint. Mr. Walter Clifton Ronson was promoted Master of the Royal Canadian Mint in 1947. His term was coincided with the 1950's modernization of equipment that had sustained much wear and tear during the war and in the post-war period. Throughout the 1950s, the striking of medals became an increasingly important activity at the Royal Canadian Mint. When Alfred Percy Williams succeeded Walter Clifton Ronson as Master of the institution in 1954, the coinage forecasts established for the decade had been greatly exceeded. In 1959, Mr. Norval Alexander Parker became Master of the Mint and had to deal with the problem of understated forecasts made during the previous decade. In 1961, more than 237 million coins were struck and by 1964 this figure had already reached 665 million. In short, the institution's problem was predicting what its growth would be. Moreover, the Mint required constant physical and administrative reorganization. The only way of slowing the production system while maintaining efficiency was to mint less destructible coins that would remain in circulation longer. Events surrounding the 1967 Centennial celebrations had a spillover effect on the activities of the Mint, and legislative changes had an equally important impact on the future of the institution. The Currency Act had to be amended with respect to the alloy used to create the coins. This meant adjusting to American coinage, since the United States had switched to cupro-nickel as the price of silver had increased. In 1968, the Mint struck new coins out of pure nickel. Of note is the fact that the Mint had to turn to the Philadelphia Branch of the U.S. Mint to handle its excess production. Although it had been suggested as early as 1964, the reform that transformed the Mint into an independent corporation did not take place until 1969. On April 1, 1969, the Mint became a Crown Corporation (17-18 Eliz. Ch.28). This change was introduced to make the organization a more industrial and co-operative venture. Profit became a new idea that was espoused. The Mint was to practice cost recovery and make a profit if possible. Therefore, it started searching for markets and achieved success. In 1970, Gordon Edward Hunter was appointed Master of the Mint. Under his leadership, the Numismatics Division adopted new marketing policies with respect to the issuing of numismatic coins. Starting in 1973, the Numismatics Division was fully occupied with the Olympic coin collection. Throughout the sixties there had been talk of moving the Mint to new quarters, but at no time was consideration ever given to moving it outside Ottawa. Funds had already been set aside for the construction. In February 1970, the Minister of Supply and Services, James Richardson, suggested for the first time that Winnipeg could be a possible site. This was viewed as an opportunity to make up to Manitoba for the loss of some military bases. Objections to the plan were raised. In December 1971, Cabinet approved the recommendations for construction of a new building. In 1972, property for the construction of a new building was purchased in Winnipeg, and the project was scheduled to be completed in 1974. In 1975, operations began in the new building. A decrease in domestic demand cast some doubt on the new project. The same year, Mr. Yvon Gariépy became Master of the Mint. In 1976, the Mint in Winnipeg was officially opened. It should be noted that the Winnipeg plant was primarily responsible for the striking of coins, while the Ottawa facilities were responsible for all the basic operations involved in the production of coinage. The same year a Marketing Division was established to intensify the search for potential clients. The intent was to give the Mint an international presence. It is no secret that the Royal Canadian Mint seemed to have fallen behind after 1974. The results of this initiative were soon apparent, and demand increased significantly. Beginning in 1977, the Mint started revising the size of Canadian coins, a process which was to continue throughout the decade. Annual reports, Cabinet decisions, the Statutes of Canada and the work by Mr. James A. Haxby entitled The Royal Canadian Mint and Canadian Coinage were the references for this brief history.
- Finding aid:
(Other) Finding aids are available. See lower level descriptions and accession records in ArchiviaNet (the NA website).
- Additional information:
- Source of title:
- Lois révisées du Canada - 1985, R. 9, art. 3.(1) Loi sur la Monnaie royale canadienne
- Further accruals are expected.
- Former archival reference no.:
Ordering and Viewing Options
- Conditions of access:
Copyright belongs to the Crown.
You can order materials in advance to be ready for you when you visit. You will need a user card to do this.
Cannot visit us on site? You can purchase a copy to be sent to you. Some restrictions may apply.
- Date modified: