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14 June 2017

The Bank of Canada Museum

Designed/Build by: GSM Project

Zone Display Cases scope of work: A total of nearly 50 display cases, most them being freestanding wall cases. The project included a 13ft. long curved table top case along with a freestanding cylindrical case measuring 6ft. in diameter with 6 curved hinged glass doors and a complete shelving system.

The Bank of Canada Museum owes its existence to the National Currency Collection. Begun modestly by the Bank of Canada in the late 1950s, the Collection was given the mandate in 1962 to create the most comprehensive collection possible of Canadian coins, tokens and paper money. A series of curators took on this challenge, purchasing individual items and obtaining large private collections as well as holdings from Library and Archives Canada. Over the years, the curators have also acquired many thousands of examples of international currency and trade items from throughout human history. Included in the Collection mandate was the gathering of artifacts for money production, storing, measuring and accounting. The Collection was officially designated the National Currency Collection in 1977. Now at more than 110,000 artifacts, the Collection is the world’s most complete collection of Canadian currency and currency-production items, and it continues to grow, with special attention paid to further enhancing this status.

A place in which to exhibit and interpret this enormous Collection was included in the plans for the Bank of Canada head office building complex—designed by Arthur Erickson in the 1970s. In December 1980, the Currency Museum opened its doors to the public, revealing a 5,200-square-foot space exhibiting more than 9,000 coins, notes, tokens, printing plates and related paraphernalia. Built in the former Banker’s Hall of the original 1937 head office, the Museum had a prominent location, opening into the magnificent Garden Court on the Sparks Street side of the complex. Through its permanent and temporary exhibitions and educational programs, the Museum fulfilled a significant role in educating the public on Canadian numismatic and economic history for more than 30 years.

With the recent renovation of the Bank of Canada’s Ottawa head office complex came an opportunity to reinvent the Museum. During four years of redevelopment, the Museum has undergone a complete reimagining of its role, seeking input from every corner of the Bank.

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