Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion: GOLD!


There was so much I wanted to do during the Olympics, I couldn’t stomach the thought of an eight-hour queue to see the medals (even though I really wanted to see them). So I was excited when I heard that the Mint would relocate the pavilion and open up again during the Paralympic Games.

I went on Tuesday morning, when the line at the new location (the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library) was only two hours long. I spent the wait in good company, chatting with strangers from around the Lower Mainland.

Olympic gold medal
You must wear a cotton glove (provided) when you touch the medals.

{More after the jump, including a quote from one of the co-designers of the medals.}

After seeing the medals and perusing the pavilion, I emailed Omer Arbel, co-designer of the medals, and asked him how Vancouver influenced his design. Here’s what he said (speaking, I presume, in the royal “we”):

Vancouver is on the periphery of design culture, and as such it’s sometimes hard to work here; however, historically we note that it’s only in the periphery where new ideas are possible… So we prefer to see our relative isolation as an advantage. We are less influenced by the work of other designers than our peers in the design centers of the world (simply because there are so few here) – so we can hopefully focus on ideas we feel are new and meaningful.

The medals certainly struck me as new and meaningful, that’s for sure.

Paralympic silver medal

I also sent an email to my friends Rob and Andrea, who worked the Mint Pavilion during the Olympics. Here’s what Andrea told me:

Generally everybody was cheerful and positive about the experience. There was a tremendous amount of camaraderie amongst people who sometimes waited between 8 to 10 hours. Most of the people that we spoke to after seeing the medals said it was worth it and one of their best Olympic experiences.

The pavilion is only open through March 21st, so if you have a couple of hours to spare before the Paralympic Games end, you should head to the library to handle those heavy medals (the earlier in the day, the better! By the time I got to the front of the line, people at the end had a four-hour wait).

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I'm a writer, editor, blogger, crochet book author and tinkerer who loves thunderstorms, good books, sushi and wants to learn how to snowboard. I run the Mighty Ugly project, too. I moved to Vancouver in 2002, and I think it's awesome.