At the moment, our crew is either in the pool, in their rooms, or watching THE game on TV here in the lobby of our hotel.
Today after breakfast we boarded our school bus, driven by our new friend Ernie, and headed to the Royal Canadian Mint in St. Boniface. (If you want to be hip, you can call it “St. B”)
At the Mint, we were fascinated to see and learn how our coin currency is made. The machinery and innovation at the Mint is astounding. Canada is the world leader in coin fabrication, so many countries around the world hire our Mint to fabricate their coins too. In the photos of the Mint, you see many flags representing the countries that have partnered with the Canadian Mint to have their currency made. Here is some money trivia for you:
- 15 MILLION coins are made per DAY at this Mint.
- All the circulation coins you have in your pocket, were made at this Mint.
- Vending machines have a “metal reader” to tell the difference between coins inserted, so each denomination of coin has a different metallic “signature”. That’s why coins issued before 2002 don’t work in modern vending machines.
- The first “glow in the dark” circulation coin ever, was made last year in Canada. It’s a “loonie” featuring the Northern Lights.
- To disguise the truckloads of valuable currency leaving the Mint for distribution, the Mint uses generic or randomly labled trucks.
- The base of a coin, before electroplating or painting, is steel.
- 1 of the 5 “million dollar gold coins” has been turned in to a coffee table by the owner!!!
We also saw what happens to coins that are taken out of circulation: they get destroyed by putting them in a press that turns them into what looks like a ripple potato chip! Because of all the mixed metals, these decommisssioned coins can’t get made into new coins again, so they are sold and recycled to make light posts and parking meters.
We had a quick a cappella performance at the Mint, and remarkably, there were quite a few people there to hear us.
Now we know why they call Winnipeg “Chicago of the North” and why Portage & Main is the windiest intersection in north america!!! It was a REALLY wet, cold blustery day, so for lunch, instead of a picnic or lunch out, we got Ernie to drop us off at the mall, and we went to the food court. Everyone was happy about that!
After lunch we headed to St. Boniface for our walking tour. To their credit, the singers didn’t complain, but we all were getting our umbrellas buffeted and turned inside out… so there aren’t many photos of singers today… everyone was all hunched under umbrellas and coats, trying not to get soaking wet!
We stomped around St. Boniface for 90 minutes, and learned about the French area and history here. We visited the tomb of Louis Riel and learned about the controversy around the modern sculpture representation of Riel. At the Cathedral, the group I was in, sang the Kyrie. There is acknowledgement of the Métis culture in the Cathedral, with the ceinture fléchée and moccasins on the Virgin Mary.
We changed plans from the itinerary and jumped back on the bus, and headed back to the hotel early since we were wet and cold. The Humphry Inn and Suites has been SO GOOD to us! We have tea and hot choc and fruit available to us any time, and they’ve been great about letting us have rehearsal space as needed. Kids got a break to change and warm up/ dry off. At 4, we had our dress rehearsal. It’s hard not to get emotional! These singers are so committed to their performance, and are so invested in the shape of the program. They have oodles of ideas and feedback for each other as we polish up the details of the set. They do ALL the announcing of the pieces, and have complicated transitions that they’ve honed. SO PROUD OF THEM!!!!
Our super duper chaperone team had ordered pizza for dinner, so we ate in the hotel breakfast area / lobby and then kids scattered to go swimming. Now they have popcorn and are hanging out and being chill. All good and mellow! We called an early night tonight so they can be in fine form tomorrow for our concerts and Pow Wow at night. Nobody complained about the early night!
Right now, we are washing our tour shirts and waiting for them to dry, watching the Jets start the second period, and chatting with singers coming through the lobby. Apparently this lobby is the place to be!
Here are a few photos from today- as I said, not many with all the kids because it was so wet and our group was divided into French and English for the tour.
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