Survivalists fear currency crash
To survive a feared currency crash, some people are going for gold.
"People are frightened, pensions are at risk because of this devaluation and printing that's going on and the debt thing is a monster," said John Budden, a veteran market analyst based in Ottawa. "Have some gold - physical gold. By that I mean bullion or coins, tucked away. Maybe bury it in the garden."
Budden says Canada is generally a safe place to stash money for an emergency, but the value for precious metals as currency is still lost on many.
"Canadians, North Americans, just don't have a clue - they have never had to get their families across a border in the middle of the night using gold as a bribe, when no one will take any paper currency," said Budden.
Demand for gold and silver has jumped since the 2008 recession. Many fear the fiat currency, one not backed by gold deposits, will eventually collapse, leading to a worthless paper dollar in the United States, akin to the Weimar Republic in Germany after the First World War.
Republican leadership candidate Ron Paul advocates a return to the gold standard, and wants to allow independent mints to produce their own coins, altering legal tender laws.
The state of Utah changed its law this year and now allows shoppers to use gold and silver to do business, with several states thinking of following suit.
Survivalists are stocking up on so-called "junk silver," for trading after a crash and some businesses are asking to be paid in it already.
Canadian dimes and quarters minted prior to 1966 contain 80% silver and 20% copper. American coinage is similar. With the date stamped on them, survivalists say this junk silver has clear precious metal value and could be used as hard currency in a crisis.
"It protects your money. They see the future coming," said Frank Rossi, part owner of Universal Coins in Ottawa. "Everybody remembers in Germany when you could buy whole buildings for an ounce of gold, and if they don't remember, they should.
"A quarter in 1966 would buy you a Coke and chips. That same quarter today buys you a Coke and chips, but a 2011 minted quarter buys you nothing."
Canadian currency was valued with the gold standard from 1854 until the outbreak of the First World War. Its value was allowed to veer from gold in the 1920s and the gold standard was abandoned entirely in 1971. The timeline is similar in the United States.