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New exhibition, Luck and Lore, opens at the Bank of Canada Museum

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The Bank of Canada Museum is inviting Ottawa residents and visitors to come see its new exhibition. Luck and Lore explores the spiritual, ceremonial and superstitious uses we have for money—and the surprising roots of some very familiar traditions. The exhibition, which opens to the public on October 25, will feature rare and never-before-displayed artifacts from the National Currency Collection and interactive activities for visitors of all ages.

“For more than 2,500 years, we’ve been using money as a means of exchange, transforming our skills and effort into the things we need,” said Larry Schembri, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada. “But money is so important to our comfort and security, and so much a part of our daily lives, that it becomes part of our cultural traditions.”

Highlights of the exhibition include the following:

  • Models of luxury items (gold bars, yachts, mobile phones) made of Chinese “joss” paper. Such items are burned to pass them into the spirit world for use by the dead.
  • A large array of love tokens. These are coins that have been flattened, smoothed and inscribed with heartfelt messages.
  • A 17th-century coin touched by King Charles I of England. Such “touch pieces” transmitted a monarch’s God-given healing power to anyone who pressed them to their body.
  • Interactive activities. Visitors can toss a coin into a wishing well, design their own love token and search for a sixpence hidden in a cake.

On October 26 and 27, museum visitors will have the opportunity to participate in special programming, including:

  • guided tours of the exhibition
    • French tours at 10:30 and 13:30
    • English tours at 11:30 and 14:30
  • storytime for young visitors featuring books about the curious things we do with money
  • the chance to make their own lucky-penny holder

The exhibition will run until November 1, 2020.

Notes to editors:

  • The Bank of Canada Museum is located at 30 Bank Street, in Ottawa, Ontario, and is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:00. The Museum and its special exhibitions are always free.
  • The Museum explains the Bank’s four main areas of responsibility: setting monetary policy, promoting a sound financial system, issuing Canada’s bank notes and acting as fiscal agent for the Government of Canada.
  • It also manages the more than 130,000 artifacts in the National Currency Collection, the world’s most complete collection of Canadian currency and related artifacts.
  • For more information about the Museum and its services, visit the website.
  • Download pictures of the Museum and the exhibition on Flickr.


Content Type(s): Press, Press releases