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Canadian Mint marks 100 years
By Simon Fuller

There was no nickel and diming yesterday as the Royal Canadian Mint marked the end of its centennial year in style.

The Crown corporation has been making coins for the last 100 years. And since 1976, the Winnipeg plant at 520 Lagimodiere Blvd. has minted and distributed every last one of them.

To mark this achievement, the mint cut the ribbon yesterday on a brand new high-speed blanking press. It replaces 30-year-old equipment and doubles the speed of coin production.

"The Schuler press produces blank coins before the image is struck on them," said Christine Aquino, the mint's director of communications.

She said the last two years have seen a record in production for the mint. Last year alone, it made more than two billion coins of all denominations, most of them are pennies.

"This facility can produce up to 20 million coins a day and this new machine will help us produce them even faster," Aquino said.

The St. Boniface building, designed by Etienne-Joseph Gaboury, doesn't just service the Canadian market.

"We get a lot of orders from foreign governments around the world," said Aquino. "In the last 25 years, we've made coins for over 60 different countries here in Winnipeg."

After the unveiling, the mint welcomed employees past and present to a special anniversary celebration, where guests were allowed access to high security parts of the building usually restricted to the public.

The mint's distinctive ultra-modern facility on Lagimodiere Boulevard opened in 1976 and has become a local landmark with its distinctive triangular roof soaring above the flat prairie landscape.

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