Vancouver Olympics – Day 4

Well last night sure sucked. I had heartburn and couldn’t sleep. So much for tacos. I dozed through the Colbert taping (which I’d been hoping to see) and I didn’t leave the apartment until 11:30 am.

I want to see the Saskatchewan Pavilion at some point, but right now I’m off to stand in the line for the Olympic Superstore to get a jacket for Mr. A. On second thought maybe I’ll wait until later tonight for that. I also wanted to see the Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion.

There were 2 lines at the mint. One was just for the mint coin displays, and the other was for the opportunity to hold the Olympic medals! The lines were huge though. The one with the medals was 3.5 hours long! And the other line was 1 hour long. I decided to stand in the one for the medals. I had no solid plans, so I could afford them time.

As I waited in line, an alarm went off. It sounded like an old-time war bomb warning bell. Looking around, I heard “Canada has earned another medal!” from a loudspeaker somewhere and I spot people in a window above the intersection. Apparently it goes off every time we get a medal! So cute. People started cheering all around me!

One thing I’ve noticed over the past few days is that camera crews are everywhere. And not just English ones! Plenty of European companies have crews here as well. A lady in line in front of me with kids was interviewed by what I’m fairly certain was a Russian crew.

Another line started just beyond ours, for a coin exchange! The Royal Canadian Mint has issued Olympic themed coins for the past year or so, one for each month. You could enter the line and change your regular quarters for a new Olympic quarter. They are doing a different coin every day.

Finally I got to the start of the line outside and received a hand stamp. I was permitted inside, into another line. At the end of THAT line, you received a white glove and instructed into ANOTHER line upstairs for the medals room.

They had a fun projection on the floor that kids were playing in.

After about 4 hours total, I was finally given the opportunity to hold the medals. There were two engineers from the company that produced the medals answering questions, as well as displays showing the creation process. The regular Olympic medals are round and the Paralympic medals are square (with braille on the back denoting the Olympic medal type). The medals, when placed all together, can make designs! The regular Olympic medals make the square design, and the Paralympic medals make the rectangle one. That would be SUCH a fun puzzle to do!

The medals weigh between 550-580grams each (just over 1.2lbs). They’re the heaviest medals to date. The athletes themselves chose the weight in tests with prototypes, saying they liked how “substantial” it felt. It truly is! I can only imagine how good that weight would feel when placed around your neck.

You’d think that the gold medal should have weighed more, but if it were solid gold it would be VERY heavy (too heavy to wear). However, the gold medals are made identically to silver, but they’re gold plated. The medals are sealed with a proprietary polyurethane substance. Once sealed, the medals will never tarnish and finger prints will not affect the metal and the smudges are super easy to wipe off.

This is the first time in Olympic history that a medal company has been permitted to display the medals and their creation process, and it’s also the first time that the public have been allowed to interact with real medals.

I left the medal room and headed to the gold room. The gold room featured a .5 mil 28lb brick of gold you could hold (I elected not to, there was a line), as well as a million dollar coin! There were also lots of other products from the Mint on display.

I used a booth downstairs to send a video postcard to Mr. A and I took a picture.

I went to the gift shop and picked up a gift for my Grandpa. He’s a huge coin collector! He doesn’t have loads of them, but he really enjoys it.

I headed over to the Olympic Superstore, finding the line still way back down the block. These two were on their way to the hockey game!

It took me about 40 minutes to clear the line. Once inside I discovered that they were sold out of the jacket that Mr. A wanted, though they may get more later. Apparently they go through so much merchandise throughout the day that they have to empty 10 semi-trucks to refill it at night! Unfortunately they don’t know what’s coming from head office in the trucks, so they aren’t able to reliably restock everything.

Coke had a cafe set up and a pin trading corner! I may go back here and see some more of the pins…

I picked up a Miga coin purse for myself and an art print of the mascots for my Grandma (she mentioned that she liked the picture of them I had on my blog a few days ago, and it’s that pose of them).

I was bone tired by this time and headed home. Our buses all have little “Go Canada Go” messages on them, rotating with the bus information on their LED display screens. I’ll try to get a picture later to show you.



  1. grandma Said:

    Wonderful photos Mary , you are so talented, you must take after your mom that way and after your dad for your writing skils. Best of both worlds :>))


    • Miss M Said:

      Thanks! I’ve always thought that I’ve gotten the best out of my mom and dad’s talents :D

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