Thursday, August 20, 2015

More Canada, Eh?

Our Winnipeg adventure continues!  Our sleeping schedules usually flip on vacation and I become the early riser, but I actually slept in on Saturday.  I was a bit bummed because I had a schedule in mind, but it worked out!  We were cruising Yelp for meal ideas and I was excited to see a place call The Nook Diner!  One of our favorite spots back home is called The Nook too!  This was a breakfast joint serving up some killer homestyle eats (that sounded a bit like Guy Fieri.)
 Jimmy got the egg special and I got eggs benedict.  They had some great looking asparagus dishes on the menu, but were out for the weekend.
We visited the Royal Canadian Mint for the morning.  They offer tours for just $4.50!
There are dozens of flags lining the entrance of the mint.  These flag represent many of the countries Canada makes coins for.  Over half of the countries in the world, including the US have some or all of their coins made in Winnipeg!
The Loonie is their one dollar coin, nicknamed for it's trademark loon.  This is also the state bird of Minnesota, so it made up feel right at home.  The original design for the coin actually included two explorers and a canoe.  The master die was lost (or stolen) in transit from Ottawa so the design had to be changed.
They ceased producing the penny in 2012 since it cost 1.5 cents to produce.  Businesses are no longer obligated to accept or distribute pennies and have adopted a system of rounding to the nearest 5 cents for cash transactions.
No pictures were allowed on the tour, but it was really interesting.  We got to see some production and learn about the history of the mint.  All circulation coins are produced at the Winnipeg facility and they have the ability to create up to 15 million coins per day.  They are the largest of the 150 mints in the world.  They are a popular choice for outsourcing because they have material locally available and the productions equipment.  Each minting machine cost $2 million.

The highlight was getting to hold an almost pure gold bar.  It weighed 27 pounds and is worth about $500,000!  If the chain didn't stop you, the armed guard just out of the picture will!
The Forks is a 14 acre center of arts and entertainment.  People have been gathering on this site for thousands of years.  Two major rivers, the Red and Assiniboine, converge at this site.
We took a boat tour to learn more about the history of the rivers and the city.  Winnipeg floods every year, an unfortunate side effect of a north flowing river.  They hit the blue line every year, that is 12' above the current water level.  They can easily handle water at the yellow line, but the red line is where things get tricky.  They have hit that mark two times in relatively recent history.  Winnipeg add a floodway around the city in the late 60's to divert water at peak times.  Despite these efforts, the city was at capacity during the big flood of 1997.  They have since expanded the floodway to accommodate even more water.
The Manitoba Legislature Building was built in the early 1900's and is an example of the hermetic code as practices by the masons.
Saint Boniface Cathedral was built in 1906.  A fire in 1968 destroyed everything but the facade.  The hole in the center house a huge stained glass piece.  It exploded in the fire and piece were found all the way on the other side of the river.
Lunch was at Fergie's Fish and Chips in the Forks Market.  It was probably some of the best we have ever had!  The seafood chowder was amazing as well, right up with the stuff we had in Seattle.  I really need to find a local place to get this stuff!
We headed back to the hotel for a relaxing swim in the rooftop pool.  It was very refreshing on the hot steamy day.
We took another stroll around town after a quick nap, then grabbed lunch at the hotel restaurant.  I couldn't resist another plate of poutine and Jimmy had been craving Salmon for days!
We woke up early on Sunday to head home.  A quick stop at the duty-free shop (to spend the leftover money) at the border and we were home free!  It was a great trip and we hope to visit again some day!

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