Sunday, June 30, 2013

Don't Like NSA? Baffle Them W/ BS!

I am not a fan of Edward Snowden, my hunch is that he is narcissistic or maybe even a traitor.  But, he has, importantly raised the question of the nearly omnipotent surveillance going on here in America.  I have decided I want to learn some guerilla tactics, to be one of many, should such conditions deteriorate.

So, here are some ideas I sent out to my email list.  I am looking for more!  Both easy ways to encrypt as well as easy ways to mess with the mofos...

Of course, I now realize I am even further up NSA's list than I even was before ("Hi guys!"), and that even my emails that LOOK like trouble might be discarded, but with enough people jacking with the system, maybe the new "Utah Data Center" (Google that, yikes!) might not be able to keep up...

Anyway, here is my email with some ideas.  Please send me more!

Keep reading after the buzzwords......!!!!  CLEARLY people good with computers will understand and enjoy this email more, also those, uh, untrusting of our government...

plutonium, William Gates, clone, BATF, SGDN, Nike, WWSV, Atlas, 
IWWSVCS, Delta, TWA, Kiwi, PGP 2.6.2., PGP 5.0i, PGP 5.1, siliconpimp, 
SASSTIXS, IWG, Lynch, 414, Face, Pixar, IRIDF, NSRB, eternity server, 
Skytel, Yukon, Templeton, Johohonbu, LUK, Cohiba, Soros, Standford, 
niche, ISEP, ISEC, 51, H&K, USP, ^, sardine, bank, EUB, USP, PCS, 
NRO, Red Cell, NSOF, Glock 26, snuffle, Patel, package, ISI, INR, INS, 
IRS, GRU, RUOP, GSS, NSP, SRI, Ronco, Armani, BOSS, Chobetsu, FBIS, BND, SISDE, FSB, BfV, IB, froglegs, JITEM, SADF, advise, TUSA, LITE, PKK,  HoHoCon, SISMI, ISG, FIS, MSW, Spyderco, UOP, SSCI, NIMA, HAMASMOIS,  SVR, SIN, advisors, SAP, Monica, OAU, PFS, Aladdin, AG, chameleon man,  Hutsul, CESID, Bess, rail gun, .375, Peering, CSC, Tangimoana Beach,  Commecen, Vanuatu, Kwajalein, LHI, DRM, GSGI, DST, MITI, JERTO, SDF,  Koancho, Blenheim, Rivera, Kyudanki, varon, 310, 17, 312, NB, CBM, CTP,  Sardine, SBIRS, jaws, SGDN, ADIU, DEADBEEF, IDP, IDF, Halibut, SONANGOL, Flu, &, Loin, PGP 5.53, meta, Faber, SFPD, EG&G, ISEP,  blackjack, Fox, Aum, AIEWS, AMW, RHL, Baranyi, WORM, MP5K-SD, 1071,  WINGS, cdi, VIA, DynCorp, UXO, Ti, WWSP, WID, osco, Mary, honor,  Templar, THAAD, package, CISD, ISG, BIOLWPN, JRA, ISB, ISDS, chosen, 
LBSD, van, schloss, secops, DCSS, DPSD, LIF, PRIME, SURVIAC, telex, SP4, Analyzer, embassy, Golf, B61-7, Maple, Tokyo, ERR, SBU, Threat, JPL,  Tess, SE, EPL, SPINTCOM, ISS-ADP, Merv, Mexico, SUR, SO13, Rojdykarna, airframe, 510, EuroFed, Avi, shelter, Crypto AG.

Etc. Above was only 20%..., and a short snippet from:

You can always build up a little database of these kinds of words and "mix-and-match" them so that the computer doesn't pick up on the fact that you use the same ones...  Put some before, some after your messages to friends!

Come up with your own: "hydrogen sulfide", "hexogene", etc...

Foreign words even better: "MS-13", "cocaina", "explosivos", etc..........


But, enough people doing this kind of stuff WILL clog the system...):

1)  Bad words/phrases (above)

2)  Blocks of email text starting with "Begin Public Key Block.........", even if you are not sending anything! (LOL!), Example (below next paragraph) from:

Example of a Public Key Block just before message (more info? wikipedia!:, this header starts most "PGP (Pretty Good Privacy)" encrypted messages:

Version: 2.6.i


3)  Random numbers in blocks of five (fake coded messages -- give the computers a fit), you can do this on MS Excel, use this in Excel's command line:


Fill down several lines (here 19,) fill right several columns (here 8), and voila, below you have it!  It looks just like a genuine coded message, but it's not!  It's random gibberish!  You can also get random gibberish by, say, multiplying "pi" (3.14159...) * "phi" (1.62......) and that number by, say, a large prime (or multiple of two primes, say 60000001 *  59999999 (although I do not know if those are prime, but you can find big prime numbers by looking for them...), and then taking the digit numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10...   Make up your own method, since it will be complex-looking, maybe secret code looking, you can fight back!


You add the zeros by hand (before pasting them in, or like I just did after) to make it look more "authentic (like old-fashioned coded messages)"...

Do be sure to write something like "Use 40 * 40 Matrix Number 5", just to make it look like a transformational cypher too (MUCH harder to break!).  

  :)              :)              :)

4)  Etc.  You all please tell me!

This would, yes, draw attention to yourselves, but burn up some energy over there at NSA...

N.B.  I am not worried, yet, but I am keeping a close eye on all of this.

If any of you have fun & easy ways to send out bogus emails that will be read, please pass along those techniques!  Maybe I'll write a book!



Late additions, thanks Zero Hedge!

5)  Apply for ALL government benefits (SNAP cards, etc.)...!

6)  When the cops (or anyone similar stops you for any reason), act really, really dumb...  Slow down their day and frustrate them!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Nick Barisheff's New Book: $10,000 Gold

I have seen Nick Barisheff writing about gold on various forums for some time now, he is a consistent and clear writer about gold and macroeconomic conditions.  He has a brand new (2013) book out now: $10,000 Gold. I saw the book advertised from my web browsing, but had been unable to find it in bookstores, although Barnes and Noble said they could order it for me.  Ah, no thanks, I prefer to look at a book first...

He is the founder and CEO of BMG Bullion Management Group, Inc. of Toronto, Canada.  BMG provides buying gold bullion and stores it on behalf of their customers.  It appears like a company similar to those who offer allocated gold (where the Buyer owns a specific bar, and the Custodian stores it for a fee).  Here is their blog:

His idea of allocated gold being safer than personal possession is probably because (I believe) he is aiming much of this book at large investors who may not be able to safely store (?) a lot of gold.  Allocated gold, of course, is not fully safe either (ask MF Global clients who were robbed of their allocated gold).

Barisheff is highly respected and can be seen from time-to-time at, among other websites.


Barisheff presents many reasons why he believes gold will go to $10,000 per ounce or more, but the three main reasons he analyzes in depth are government debt (by far his biggest reason), population growth and peak resources (especially oil).  He also ties demographics (our aging population), job outsourcing, foreign rejection if the US dollar in recent & likely future international trade, and the movement of gold into stronger hands of the East (China and Russia).

After the Introduction, he starts in with gold and monetary history, showing many elements most of us are already familiar with (thousands of years of gold being valued by humanity, the debasement of the dollar over the last 100 years since the Federal Reserve was created, etc.).

Throughout the course of his book he refers to many other well recognized experts in the gold community (John Embry, Jim Sinclair, Chris Martenson, Andrew Maguire, Murray Rothbard, Chris Powell and John Mauldin.  Some of these quotations I will mention below.

With such a nice big fat number like $10,000 per ounce, I was hoping that Barisheff would at least mention or analyze even briefly FOFOA's Freegold ideas ("$55,000" per oz, read his blog:, but he does not, even though he shares many of FOFOA's ideas.  It is important to understand that FOFOA studies a narrow part of the whole realm of gold in great detail and with what appears to be impeccable logic.  Maybe he did not want to venture into the arena of $55,000 gold thinking it might scare off potential book buyers..., but more likely he does not believe FOFOA's arguments (or perhaps has never even heard of him).  Note that Jim Sinclair has waded somewhat into Freegold territory predicting $50,000 gold, but for somewhat different reasons and dismissing some of FOFOA's arguments and dissing some of his followers...

In general, his book is a little dense, especially for those not familiar with the various dynamics of gold.  The book may be somewhat dense, but persistence is very worth it, Barisheff does a fine job of making the case of buying and holding physical gold.

His discussion of the GLD ETF is very detailed for example, the GLD is very complex, the only other serious discussion of how the GLD works was written by the mighty FOFOA...

He also discusses "financial repression" (inflation, central bank control of [low] interest rates, compulsory funding, and capital controls) in great detail, this alone is almost worth the price of the book.  Financial repression is essentially a set of policies aimed at making savers pay the price for excessive government debt (irresponsibility).

Barisheff provides many graphs and illustrations to make his ideas clear.


Barisheff is fully convinced that the powers that be ("TPTB") are using "management of perception" to restrain demand for gold (that is, lie about gold and its safety).  That concept of perception management is similar to Jim Sinclair's "MOPE" (Management of Perception Economics).

He is also one that believes and clearly states that the governments, banks and brokers are lying to us.  As do I.  They are lying to us, and the personal responsibility is each of ours to keep ourselves financially secure.  Silver and societal analyst Chris Duane:

"No one really cares about you and no one is coming to save you."  This is the truth.


Even though it is too much debt (causing inflation, and big price movements in all our consumer products are coming...) that is his main argument, he quotes many different gold and other respected financial analysts, I present some here (many of you have seen these or variations) on the precarious and predatory nature of our financial system:

Barisheff himself (commenting on the real estate boom):

"Perhaps most telling was the constant refrain of investment advisers that "this time it's different."  It is never different."

Ex-Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith (emphasis mine):

"I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity.  And I can honestly say the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it."

Standard Chartered Bank (Page 158), (re gold is a better investment than gold miners):

"There are few large deposits, and most mines have difficult geological and metallurgical conditions."

Erste Group (Page 160, from June 2010):

"From 1830 to 1920 the average content of gold per tonne was 22g, today it is 0.8g per tonne.  On the one hand this is due to the economies of scale, the increased gold price, and new technologies (heap leaching, etc.), on the other hand the easily extractable, high-grade deposits are already depleted."


But, it is NOT the experts he quotes that are the most valuable nuggets (sorry!) of his book.  The clearest case is that very high, and ever growing exponential debt, is what will wreck the system and propel gold to very high prices.


Barisheff sees real value (as do I) in silver and platinum, where FOFOA does not (FOFOA's single m,ain reason he does not is that the world "has already chosen" its store of value, the central banks hold gold, not silver or platinum -- although I am grossly over-simplifying FOFOA's reasoning).

Gold likely will have a huge "reset" upwards in value, I believe that it will.  Silver and platinum likely will not go along for the ride (or at least most of it).  But, I do not know this, and I do not know the future, however logically explained.


I have but small nitpicks with Barisheff's book:

1)  I would like to have seen FOFOA's revolutionary ideas discussed.  FOFOA is clearly one of the top gold analysts in the world, and his ideas are so revolutionary that they need to be debated in detail.  (For example, FOFOA would argue that Erste Group's comments above on fewer and lower-grade gold mines are NOT very important, due to the very high stock-to-flow of gold)

2)  Page 178, the silver was taken from our QUARTERS in 1965 (not nickels).

3)  I myself believe that individuals should store their own gold (securely) if at all possible rather than using gold storage services (allocated gold), even services as his own BMG Bullion Group.

But, other than the above three minor quibbles, this is an important and well-written book that all smart, independent-thinkers should own.

I cannot recommend this book more highly to all who have at least some financial literacy.  This is about as high a recommendation that I can give.

If you have any doubts about our financial system, and are not owners of gold, this is a "must read" book that speaks the truth.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Malartic Gold Mine

Osisko Mining Corporation (listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange) is a medium sized gold mining company. Their main project now is their Malartic Gold Mine, located some 30 km west Val d'Or (Quebec, call it seven and a half hours by car from Montreal).

The mine is will be the largest open pit mine in all of Canada (they just started mining about three years ago), most of Canada's gold mining historically has been the hazardous underground mining done through much of the history of gold mining, including (and especially here) in Val d'Or.  Most of South Africa's gold is mined underground.  Underground mining allows the mine owner to "follow the veins" of gold, the highest grades of gold ore.  "Native" gold (where you can clearly see gold in/on a rock), the highest is often mined this way.

Open pit mining allows miners to go after lower grade ores, as long as there is enough to make it worthwhile.  The typical cutoff for gold is about one gram per metric ton, depending on many variables.  I had a chance in Montreal (at McGill University's engineering library) to read a bit about open pit mining.  In addition to how rich the ore is, another key variable is how difficult it is to dig it out.  The designs of open pit mines reflect this, the below is a crude drawing I did showing the general idea (*click* on the image for a better view):


The Malartic Gold Mine has about 10.7 million ounces of proven reserves.  Mr. Jean Massicotte (more below) told me that they anticipate that there really is more gold there though.  Current production is about 40,000 ounces per month, they have been gradually ramping up production, they started mining in 2011.  The mine employs about 640 people and contractors are some 200 more.  Osisko has invested about $1 billion dollars so far into the mine.


Before I went to the mine itself, I went to the Musée Minéralogique (the mineralogy museum) of the town of Malartic.  It is small, but full of interesting rock specimens (I studied Geology in college, so I like this kind of stuff).  Also, the museum arranges the trips to Osisko's mine (rather than the company itself), so you get to visit both for the $18.00...   Normally one views the museum first, then at 1:00 PM the mine tour starts, today's tour featured about 30 young pupils, almost all of them French speakers (yes, they are still in school).

The Director General of the museum, Mr. Jean Massicotte, was very kind and came along with me on the mine tour, which was in French...  I would have missed a lot of interesting comments had he not come with me.  Trust me, his English was much better than my French (a pattern I see in most foreign countries (except, of course, Peru) I go to, my attempts at Korean, French, Italian and so on are really pretty pathetic).  Mr. Massicotte is a native of Malartic

Merci beaucoup, M. Massicotte!

Jean Massicotte, caught on candid camera making a phone call in his office:

Just in case any of you kind readers ever come up this way, here is some information:

Musée Minéralogique
650 rue de la Paix
Malartic, Quebec  J0Y 1Z0

If anyone really does want to come to Malartic, I have some important suggestions, please email me if you really are going to go.


Pictures from the museum.  Here is yet another tiresome photo of a boulder with native gold in it, this is from the Malartic mine itself.  The best "piece" of gold is just "northeast" of my camera case.  There is a pipe through the boulder because of the way they mounted the rock.

Check out the giant trilobite (fossil from the Paleozoic Era), my glasses are for scale:

Just below the trilobite is a piece of petrified wood (from Arizona).

Rocks with gold in them (when there is a pretty fair amount of gold visible, it is known as "native gold").  The shiny yellow one at "eleven o'clock" has perhaps 0.3 oz of gold.

Nor were we taken to the part of the mine where they pour gold, what a pity...  Many mines pour their unrefined gold into what are called "doré bars", which in Malartic's case are about 55% gold, most of the rest is silver.  These bars weigh up to 60 kg, and are sent on the gold refineries to bring them up to .995 or .9999 fine.  The below picture is what a doré bar looks like, it is a replica at the museum:


Unfortunately, many of my pictures at the mine did not come out too well, so I will just go with what I did alright.  The tour itself was mostly in a school bus (about 8 of us adults and 25 or so young schoolchildren, yes, they are still in school...).  First up is a photo (taken from the bus) of a LeTourneau front-end loader loading up a Cat 793 truck (partly obscured by the loader).  The capacity of the Cat 793 is some 230 tons I waas told, so each load from the bucket would be perhaps 40 - 50 tons.  Mr. Massecotte told me that each Cat 793 truck costs some $4 million...

A general picture of the open pit mine itself (Osisko has a viewing platform along the side).  You can see two Cat 793 trucks near the bottom, a loader behind to the left of one of the trucks and a drilling rig (just right of center).  They drill holes into the hard rock ore, put dynamite in, and blast, typically twice per day.  Once around 9:00 AM or so, once around 3:00 PM.  They schedule it this way so as not to overly bother the town.  Note the church steeple above (beyond) the overburden (waste rock they scrape aside to get down to the ore).  Osisko had to move half the houses in Malartic, as the gold ore was directly under about half the town (population around 1200).

This mine is currently a little over 200 feet (30 m) deep, it will go deeper and be much bigger in size.  They expect to be working the mine for maybe 15 more years.

This is a pile of ore waiting to be crushed.  The ore is crushed about five times to get it to a fairly fine powder so that the cyanide and charcoal can separate the gold.  The ore looks just like the overburden rock that is moved away, perhaps they are the same, just with different amounts of gold...

A Cat 793 ready to dump its load into a building which is the front end of a 1.6 km conveyor belt taking the ore to the crushing mills.

We were not taken to the "primary crushing mill", but we were allowed into the secondary crushing mill (Mr. Massecotte told me that the ABB primary crushers were the third largest in the world of its type).  The picture is not that good, but you can make out the round crusher about 35 ft (10 m or so) in diameter.

They also let us into the repair shed (large).  Here is where both mine mechanics as well as some contractors (from LeTourneau and Caterpillar for example) maintain their machines.  This is me next to a Caterpillar 994 loader, note how the reflective paint on the safety vests shines when the camera flashes...  Those tires, by the way, are some 4 m (13 ft) in diameter.  Here the tires have chains on them for better traction, especially in winter.  Each tire costs some $50,000 and the chains $40,000 more...  Alas, they had no bearings lying around for me to look at or take photos of...

Trip To Val d'Or (Quebec)

One thing I have always wanted to do has been to visit a gold mine.  So, I took advantage of our Montreal trip to come to western Quebec(almost northwestern, it's cold today, maximum was 56 degrees...) to visit Osisko Mining's Malartic Gold Mine, this will be, when completed, Canada's largest open pit mine.  Val d'Or (Gold Valley) is the regional hub city serving the large mining industry here in this part of Quebec, a mining friendly jurisdiction I have heard.

Val d'Or is about seven hours northwest of Montreal, I drove up.  The drive is rather pretty, rolling hills (part of the Laurentian Mountains) with a lot of lakes.  A long stretch of the drive crosses a wildlife preserve (Vérendrye), there are signs saying watch out for moose.  Alas, I saw no moose (mooses?  meese?).  Nor bears.  Nor elk.  Not even a deer.  But, I was driving during the day.  Plenty of aggressive biting insects wherever I stopped however -- it is true what they say, the further north you go, the worse the mosquitos and other biting insects are.

For most of the drive I was able to listen to the radio, Canada has their own news talk stations as we do.  The news of the day (at least on the English stations) is the fairly vast set of corruption scandals, I had heard about none of these in the states.  The recent mayor of Montreal just resigned, soon after the one before did, as well as the mayor of Laval (a big suburb of Montreal).  At least one of these guys had something going on with the Mafia, yes, Montreal has one of the +/- 26 Sicilian Mafia families in the Western Hemisphere (the other one outside the USA is in Caracas, Venezuela, ha ha ha).  Also, Justin Trudeau (son of Pierre) now is going to give some money back to a charity he spoke to (ahh, politics), and there is a Raymond Levine who is caught up in something in Ottawa...  So, Canada is not immune nor pristine either!


Here is the rather welcoming sign to the city limits of Val d'Or!

Just as I was arriving into the city itself of Val d'Or (where I am staying), I saw the remains of an open pit gold mine (Sigma) that is no longer in operation.  The below photo was the best I could do, the ex-mine is fenced...

The tourist information place had a boulder in front, yes, with gold flecks in it:


I am happy to report that almost everyone, even way up here, is more-or-less bilingual.  More-or-less being an important word.  I have been practicing my (really bad) French here, asking that they not kick me out of their country just because I do not speak it well...  If they are friendly, I tell them the joke I always tell people about speaking Spanish where I live, that "they" do if you do not...

But, I know that many of my readers continue to believe that I am just a BS-er, so once again I send along an-only-in-Quebec photo of a restaurant familiar to us in America:


Canada, as you might expect, moves a lot of very heavy things around on its roads.  I once noted (and took a picture of) typical tractor-trailer rigs that you can see in Italy.  But, check out the "30 wheeler" I saw at a truck stop and at various other times, especially hauling timber:

"30 wheeler" actually refers to the number of tires (an "18 wheeler" here has 18 tires on 10 wheels, just to be technically correct here...).  In the above photo you can see the front axle (at the extreme left, one tire per side) and seven more axles (two for the truck/tractor, three more for the first trailer and two more for the second trailer -- all of these with two tires per side, grand total: 30 tires on eight axles).  That's 32 bearings per rig like the above...


There are LOTS of trees in Quebec!  (Quebec is also Canada's largest province, don't believe me?  Check the map...)  So for decades, the lumber business was huge here.  But for various reasons, it is not as big a business as before (perhaps housing having declined as an industry as one?).  I was told by Mr. Massecotte (see next article) that the local gold mining boom came along at just the right time, as many who had been in the lumber business had become unemployed.  But, timber & lumber are still big business here, here is a picture of Val d'Or's local lumber yard (EACOM), note the size of the log handler:


Finally, just before leaving Montreal, I was able to buy a copy of $10,000 Gold, a brand new book by Nick Barisheff.  I could not get this book in the USA, Barnes & Noble offered to order it for me, but I do not like to buy like that...  Mr. Barisheff is Canadian, and lots of people here in Canada are tied to mining so perhaps that was why I could buy the book in Montreal and not at B & N.

I will review the book here at my blog when I finish it (so you already know it is at least good enough for me to want to finish it...).

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ma Femme Parle Francais Ici

Our vacation to Montreal continues...  One of the delights of Montreal is that French is by far the main language here.  My French is poor, but just good enough to be able to order food (etc.) in a pinch, although almost everyone connected to commerce (even little stores) speaks English.

My wife, on the other hand, speaks very good French!  She lived in Paris for over a year when she was younger.  So she is enjoying using her language skills, and tonight is seeing a movie in French.  But, the accent here drives her up a wall!  I have heard from others that Quebecois French is indeed fairly different than standard (Parisian) French, but it all sounds the same to me...

I have found the people delightfully friendly.  Food is good too.  Highly recommended!


One of things I had wondered about before coming was whether or not folk-singer Leonard Cohen would be omnipresent here, as he originally came from Quebec (he is now a part-time Buddhist monk in California, uh, no, I have no other details...).  He sang a great song about a wandering Canadian, missing home.  Unfortunately I could not find a "clean" version if Cohen singing it (for free on YouTube), but here are some of the lyrics to this beautiful song, the part of this song that I like the best:

Un jour, triste et pensif,
Assis au bord des flots,
Au courant fugitif
Il adressa ces mots:
"Si tu vois mon pays,
Mon pays malheureux,
Va, dis à mes amis
Que je me souviens d'eux.
"Ô jours si pleins d'appas
Vous êtes disparus,
Et ma patrie, hélas!
Je ne la verrai plus!

(English translation):

One day, sad and pensive,
Sitting at the waters' edge,
To the fleeting[4] current,
He said these words:
“If you see my country,
My unhappy country,
Go tell my friends
That I remember them.
"O days so full of charm[s]
You have disappeared,
And my country, alas!
I will never again see it!

Despite his fame here, I saw only one picture from the street and just once did I hear one of his songs being played (by a street musician)...  It was also hard for me to find a "clean" link to this song by him on YouTube just now, other than this (hey, if you do not have a sense of humor, just close your eyes!):


Here are some pictures:

View to the north from where we are staying (a part of a building at McGill University and a piece of Mt. Royal (for which the city is named) at the left):

A view to downtown Montreal from the top of Mt. Royal, the St. Lawrence River is in the background:

Enjoying dessert "avec ma belle femme" (don't tell me I'm not lucky, fellas...) at juliette & chocolat, mine is the vanilla ice cream at left and Peruvian hot chocolate at right, her dessert crepe in the middle:

Yes, juliette & chocolat is one of those places where young guys take their dates...

Some of my readers probably think that I am a complete BS-er who never really does any of this stuff I write about, hmm...  Well how about this to prove I am in Montreal, Canada (Tim Horton's duking it out with Starbucks, LOL)?



I went to the headquarters of Osisko Mining Corporation located here in Montreal.  They gave me the below two pens, what is that yellow stuff in there?

Now why would I visit something like an office while on vacation?  Hmm, let's just say that is a hint, perhaps, of something to come...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Gold (Etc.) In Montreal

We are here in Montreal on vacation.  Canada is, of course, a major producer of gold, and I was curious to see if fractional ounce gold coins are easier to get here than in the USA.  My limited experience so far is yes, maybe a little easier.

I went to the following paces to inquire:

-- 4 foreign exchange shops
-- Kitco (more comments below)
-- Scotia bank
-- a coin dealer

Two of the four exchange places sold gold, you could see what they had on offer behind the bulletproof glass.  Both sold 1/4 oz Maple Leafs, only one sold 1/10 oz.  The shop that did not sell 1/10s did sell small bars (10 gram) from different suppliers.

Here are three Maples I bought, with our keys to our room for scale:

They are two 1/4 oz Maples (1997 and 2013, they changed the picture of the Queen) and a 1/10 oz in the plastic holder.  Prices: $400 for the 1/4 oz pieces and $160 for the 1/10 (both prices in Canadian dollars).  Compare recent price for 1/10 Eagles in the USA: $185 (OK, the price of gold was perhaps $20 higher, so $2.00 for the higher US price), so buying fractionals in Canada is worth it...


Kitco (the famous supplier of precious metals prices online that many gold sellers use) has their headquarters here in Montreal: 620 Cathcart St., Suite 900 in the heart of the city.

I went to take a look, they only had offices with a small display of PMs.  One was a 10 oz bar of gold, there was also a 100 oz silver bar that was recovered from the World Trade Center after 9/11.  They only sold 1 oz Maple Leafs, no fractionals.  The rest of Kitco was normal looking offices that I was not invited to see.  Not very friendly, but I did not call ahead for an appointment either.


Kitco referred me to Scotia Bank for fractionals, I had earlier seen Scotia mentioned somewhere as a place to buy gold.  They said, yes they could sell it, but I had to wait a week or two...

Finally, I saw a coin shop while walking around.  Most of his business (like in the USA) was for numismatic pieces.  He only sold 1 oz Maples, no fractionals.  He DID say that fractionals are getting hard to get now, which is my experience in the USA.


So my best judgement, at least for the moment, is that small gold bullion coins are a bit easier to get in Canada.  Just in case you wanted to know.


Montreal is a nice place to visit!  Fortunately for me (as my French is pretty bad), almost everyone, who deals with tourists anyway, speaks English as well.

Coffee is big here!  We had a chance to try coffee from three chains so far, here are our preliminary reviews:

-- Tim Horton's (their biggest chain): coffee is good, snacks not so much
-- Cafe Presse: stronger coffee, they let you read newspapers there...
-- The Second Cup: three "strengths" of coffee, my wife liked their capuccino