By Scott Feschuk - Friday, February 1, 2013 - 0 Comments
What? No War of 1812 reference? Scott Feschuk on the new bill
Canada’s new $20 bill has been in the news for an alleged foliage error. But that’s not the only mistake or curiosity on our new currency. Let’s take a closer look.
1. This is the signature of Tiff Macklem, who purports to be deputy governor of the Bank of Canada—but whose name clearly indicates that he is, in fact, a baseball player from 1953. Oops.
2. Our new bank notes are made not from paper but from “a polymer material” that feels like plastic, which raises the important question: Now who’s living in the future, George Jetson? The polymer was chosen by the Bank of Canada to a) stymie counterfeiters and b) give Canadians something new to complain about. Mission accomplished on both fronts! The newspaper in Cobourg, Ont., recently ran a story in which local woman Vickie Skinner described the new bills as “absolutely terrible” and local woman Michelle Scott lamented: “Why don’t they just leave our money alone?” A third local woman said of the bills, presumably while narrowing her eyes: “They look like fake money to me.”
Turns out this is a common complaint. A lot of people seem to think the new bills feel “fake”—and to those people I say: YOU ARE 100 PER CENT CORRECT. All the 20s, 50s and 100s currently in your possession are, indeed, complete phonies. Here, let me personally remove them from your sight. (For the record, some Canadians also claim the new bank notes have melted when left next to a heater or when the rent is due and a new excuse is needed.)
3. Check out all this wasted space. Plenty of room to fit in an ad for Mountain Dew.
4. A critical gaffe in the design process resulted in this bill somehow being printed without a single depiction of, or reference to, the War of 1812. In future editions, the Queen will be rendered as having dysentery.
5. Some experts insist the maple leaf shown here is from a Norway maple, an invasive species in Canada—and not from the sugar maple we all know, love and ruthlessly exploit to market beer (Molson Canadian) and futility (Toronto Maple Leafs). For the record, the scientist who made the accusation was described in one news report as “a hawk-eyed Canadian botanist,” which pretty much makes him sound like a member of the Avengers.
Botanist: Fellow superheroes—I’ve cornered a villainous species of spruce that if left to roam free will crowd out all rival tree life in this forest at some point in the next 200 years!
Hulk: Hulk! SMASH! Eventually!
For its part, the Bank of Canada insists there’s been no mistake: the leaf in question has simply been “stylized” so as not to represent a specific type of maple. (It refers to the image as a “frosted maple leaf,” which is a coincidence because that’s my favourite cereal.) This whole “stylized” explanation totally makes sense because the wacky, fun-loving people at the Bank of Canada are renowned for being creative and “stylizing” things left and right. Wait until you see the new $5 bill, featuring Wilfrid Laurier in a backwards baseball cap.
6. Technically this is not an error—but man, the Queen is really rubbing our faces in it with all those pearls, isn’t she?
7. Unique feature: if you put your ear to the Peace Tower and listen very closely, you can hear John Baird yelling at you to clean your ear.
8. There is a major mistake in this “metallic portrait.” Take a close look: As you can clearly see, it is our reigning queen—Elizabeth II—whose spectre-like image is creepily featured within the bill’s holographic foil. But anyone with even a passing knowledge of the monarchy knows that Victoria, who died in 1901, is Canada’s official Ghost Queen. Get your facts straight, Bank of Canada! You don’t want to make the same kind of error when you get around to honouring Canada’s zombie prime ministers.
9. The Bank of Canada emphasizes that the new polymer bills “weigh less than paper notes”—because, yeah, that was a big complaint about paper money: SO, SO HEAVY. Dude, I’d love to chip in for dinner but I just threw out my back paying for some chinos.
10. Keen-eyed monarchists will have noticed that this is not the Queen’s actual hairdo. It was apparently “stylized” by the Bank of Canada to more closely resemble that of Princess Leia.
Follow Scott Feschuk on Twitter @scottfeschuk
By From the editors - Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 4:00 PM - 0 Comments
New economic, social and political ties between the countries are all good incentives
Iceland’s study of the benefits of adopting the Canadian dollar as its official currency has, so far, mostly had the economic effect here of creating a mini-boom in Björk jokes (Bjökes?). If Iceland actually went ahead with it, that would, in the short-to-medium term, probably still be the main effect on us. The tiny north Atlantic state wouldn’t gain any influence over our monetary affairs. That indeed would be the whole point of Iceland loonie-izing—to foster trust and stability amongst foreign lenders and savers within Iceland, by surrendering the sovereign right to independent central banking.
Essentially, they would be renting Mark Carney’s reputation from us. They wouldn’t need special permission. It’s a simple matter of becoming a customer of the Bank of Canada. Many countries in this hemisphere already have currencies backed, in part, by reserves of Canadian dollars.
Whether Iceland decided to circulate physical Canadian notes and coins, or simply took the “currency board” approach and pegged its unit to our dollar, there would be a benefit to our federal treasury in the form of “seigniorage.” (That is to say, our central bank would earn interest on the securities Iceland’s currency board exchanged for a hoard of our dollars, and if those dollars were circulated, they would need to be replaced as they wore out.) But don’t expect to throw a big national party with the proceeds. The seigniorage the Bank of Canada earns from our own economy, about a hundred times as large as Iceland’s, is only $2 billion a year.
By Colby Cosh - Friday, December 23, 2011 at 8:14 AM - 0 Comments
Hilarity! Both of the metropolitan broadsheets in Alberta are throwing a tantrum about the Mint’s plans to dump the Famous Five feminists of the 1920s from the $50 bill and replace them with a picture of an icebreaker. Like most pundits who take a thwack at the occasional issue of personages and emblems on our currency, the authors of these editorials act like they have never been east of Flin Flon.
I ask you to sincerely disregard the epic loathsomeness of the Famous Five—that quintet of unsmiling prohibitionists, pacifists, and white supremacists, at least three of whom bear direct personal responsibility for a four-decade regime of sexual sterilization of the “unfit” in Alberta. Leave aside, too, the fact that women would obviously have been admitted to the Senate soon enough if there had never been a Persons Case. No, I ask you merely to look at the people other countries put on their paper currency. With the exception of Australia, which shares our fetish for early female politicians utterly unknown elsewhere, you’ll find they mostly like to put world-historical figures on there. Japan honours Noguchi, who discovered the syphilis spirochete. England honours Darwin and Adam Smith. Sweden remembers Linnaeus and Jenny Lind. New Zealand commemorates Edmund Hillary and Ernest Rutherford. Continue…