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Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada

By Library and Archives Canada    |   Monday, 29 March 2004

The National Currency Collection contains some 100,000 items consisting of coins, tokens and paper money in the custody of, or owned by, the Bank of Canada. It includes a relatively complete collection of the coins, tokens and of paper money that have been used or are now being used in Canada. The purpose of the collection is to portray the development of money through the ages with particular emphasis on the history of Canada's currency.

The Currency Museum displays a considerable portion of the collection in its eight galleries. Six galleries describe the development of money through the past 2,500 years, each gallery focussing on a different phase. Gallery seven displays special exhibits. Gallery eight is the Collector's Corner - the most comprehensive display of Canadian numismatic material in existence. The museum, which opened on December 5, 1980, is housed in the centre block of the Bank of Canada.

The barter system, the use of special items for trading purposes, the chronic shortage of coinage during French and British rule, the transformation of ordinary playing cards into paper money - these are intriguing but little-known aspects of the history of money in Canada. Yet this is only a part of the history of money in the world as a whole. More chapters in this fascinating story are yours to discover with a visit to the Currency Museum in Ottawa.

The illustrations accompanying the introductory text of each section are the work of James Zagon, Ottawa.

Pre-Colonial Period

French Colonial Period

British Colonial Period

Confederation

Source : Library and Archives Canada

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