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New Guinness record shakes up Big Nickel birthday bash

Sudbury citizens struck gold and coal in attempting two world records.
Big Nickel creator Ted Szilva did his part to help Sudbury capture the Guinness World Record for the largest coin mosaic ever created. Sudbury shattered the old record of 69-square meters with a 73-square-meter mosaic. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen
Sudbury citizens struck gold and coal in attempting two world records.

While people enjoyed the sights and sounds of the Big Nickel's 50th birthday party at Dynamic Earth on July 22, there was a small army of volunteers attempting to use the occasion to get into the famed Guinness Book of World Records.

The two endeavours could not be more different — even though both involved, fittingly, the use of coins. While one group attempted to build the world's largest mosaic (of the Big Nickel itself) out of Canadian coins, others were attempting to beat the world record for coin stacking.

Sadly, attempting to beat the current record of stacking 51 coins in 30 seconds was harder than it might appear. Volunteers from the crowd were invited to sign up to try to beat the record. But, apparently like coins in a stack, they fell one by one.

However, the attempt to create the world's largest coin mosaic was a booming success. Upwards of 100 volunteers at a time worked five hours a day since Saturday to place the 220,000 coins needed to satisfy Guinness.

The previous world record-holder was Argentinian bank BNP Paribas, which created a coin mosaic measuring 69-square meters.

That record now moves to Canada. Sudbury buried the bank's creation with a mosaic measuring 73-square meters.

For volunteers, the monotony of placing coins on the mosaic took on a hynotic quality.

"It has been kind of surreal," said volunteer Tabetha Sheppard. "We started off with blocks of tape and shapes and within two hours we had laid down the shape of the nickel.

"It has been a lot of work and the lights get bright and you get sweaty but it you just can't stop — it becomes mesmerizing."

Officials from Guinness were on hand to confirm the accomplishment, oversee the laying of the final coin and present Dynamic Earth with a certificate officially commemorating the achievement.

The team of coin layers might have worked tirelessly to finish the project — and was likely happy to see the hard work pay off — but sadly, the mosaic will be dismantled now that the record is confirmed.