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We Almost Robbed the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa...


Evelyn Hannon

For the past three years I've taken my young granddaughter by train to Ottawa to enjoy Winterlude. We meet up with the rest of our family and the cousins (all under ten) have a great time visiting the Capital's many excellent tourist attractions and cavorting together in the snow. This winter was no exception except for the fact that Grandma was not her usual squeaky clean 'role model self' teaching her grandkiddies to be good citizens. In fact, this time I supported their get rich quick scheme which involved breaking the law. Grandma was bad.

Our plan began innocently...

It began innocently enough in the breakfast room at the Residence Inn by Marriott where the whole family was staying. Since I wanted to visit and write about the Royal Canadian Mint I had arranged for a private tour of the facility and introduced my plan over french toast and scrambled eggs that morning.

'The Mint?,' exclaimed my son-in-law, Terry. 'They have a gold bar there that is worth a gazillion dollars. Boy, I'd love to have that bar."

At the mention of a gold bar we had the kids' full attention. They listened wide-eyed to Uncle Terry's description that he'd never have to work again if he had that gold.

'Well,' I said, 'Why don't I divert the guide's attention with my interview questions and Uncle Terry can grab the gold bar and run?'

Now the kiddies were fully involved. They offered their own suggestions for making the heist work. We listened to each idea and explained why it may or may not work. We (bad adults) never, ever explained that stealing was not a good thing to do.

However, unbeknownst to the children, Grandma called the Mint, spoke to our private guide, let her in on our robbery plan and asked her to include something in her talk that would foil our family's plan.

'Don't worry,' she said. 'I have the perfect idea.'

We took a taxi to the scene of the crime. We asked our taxi driver if he would be our getaway vehicle and promised to share some of our new found fortune with him. He agreed wholeheartedly. The kids were so excited they could barely stay in their seat belts.

Once we arrived Terry interviewed the security guard at the entrance. Our young potential bandits listened with wide eyes as the guard told us that, (1) Yes, he had a gun (2) He never leaves his post unless another guard takes his place. The kids looked at one another uneasily and began whispering to each other. We, adults, pretended not to notice.

We posed for pictures outside the Mint and then quickly went in to meet our friendly Royal Canadian Mint guide. Honestly, I've never seen my grandchildren so anxious to begin a tour. I'll bet visions of new computers, Barbie Dolls, and humongous allowances danced in their dishonest little heads.

The guide began by ushering our group over to see that famous gold bar worth millions of dollars. It was connected by a huge chain to the concrete base it was set on. She became very serious (and playing her part in our scenario) she explained that the Mint had, had to shut down tours for a long time that morning.

'You see this chain?,' she asked the children directly. 'We had to install it this morning because our security spies in the breakfast room at the Residence Inn by Marriott heard that a family was planning to steal the gold.' And then she paused —never taking her eyes off my larcenous grandkiddies.

Ten year old Joshua's jaw dropped, and with a wild look in his eye said, 'Grandma, how did they know?'

Jessie who, at seven, is the youngest said over and over again, 'It wasn't us.' 'It wasn't us.'

Lotus, at nine remained stoic, said nothing but looked to me for my reaction.

I tried to look as surprised as everyone else but inside I was chortling and could barely contain myself. Success was mine. I think the slogan, 'Crime doesn't pay' had taken on new meaning for my grandchildren.

Another lesson taught by Grandma!


Perfect for families...


We enjoyed our time at the Residence Inn by Marriott. Our suites had a living area, separate bedroom and a fully equipped kitchenette.

There were two televisions —one in the leisure area and one for when we were relaxing in bed. We were located close to the Winterlude ice sculpture location and walked there one evening to eat BeaverTails (delicious pieces of fried dough shaped like beaver tails) and see the fabulous ice sculptures all lit up. The hotel has underground parking, a pool, complimentary newspapers, and a hustle-bustle breakfast room where we enjoyed an all you can eat, hot and cold breakfast buffet. Good value and service were dispensed with a smile.

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you or your family are planning to rob the Royal Canadian Mint don't discuss it in the breakfast room. We believe that there are spies that will immediately notify the staff at the Mint and you will not be successful.


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