For many years, on a busy street in downtown Ottawa you could peak in the Currency Museum window and see coin that weighs about three tons

Yap Money, Ottawa Currency Museum © Lucy Izon

Yap Money – Currency Museum © Lucy Izon

Ottawa, Ontario –  Take a short walk from Parliament Hill along Sparks St. you could for many years glance in the window of the Bank of Canada Building, and there among palm fronds has been one of the largest pieces of money in the world! It actually weights about three tons. The massive piece of limestone is currency from the South Pacific island called Yap. Even more amazing: these stones were actually quarried on a neighbouring island and transported 400 km to Yap – by canoe!

The museum is currently closed due to a three year renovation of the Bank of Canada’s Head Office facilities.

Among the curious exhibits the museum has featured: early paper currency, including money issued by different regions and cities in Canada, and even money issued by Molsons Bank. This 10 Shilling bill was issued in 1853.

Molson Money

Molson Money, Currency Museum © Lucy Izon

There was a Molsons Bank right across the road from Parliament Hill. Eventually this bank merged with the Bank of Montreal.

When Franceʼs treasury was depleted because of wars between 1689 and 1714 card money was issued in New France. Eventually it was redeemed in coin at only half its face value.

Quebec Card Money, Currency Museum © Lucy Izon

Quebec Card Money


The Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada is located at 245 Sparks St. In the past admission has been free and there have been free one-hour guided tours during peak tourism periods. Watch for updates here about the reopening.

A short walk away, tucked between Parliament Hill and the elegant, historic Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel are the Ottawa Locks – the scenic entrance to the Rideau Canal, which stretches 202 km from Ottawa to Kingston. As the canal winds through the city, alongside it is a beautiful recreational pathway for strolling, biking and running.


245 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


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