Many people say that our national identity is partly defined by our money. Our brightly coloured Canadian bills have been the butt-end of a million American jokes. Despite that, Canadians have always known that colour on bills is used as a tool for both security and to quickly identify denominations. Colour makes money easier to use. Even the Americans are finally instituting coloured-money. The American multi-coloured money has already begun to be printed, and is circulating throughout the country. Once again, we Canadians were ahead of the game. (If we could only get the Americans to wake-up about the metric system).
Luckily, Canadians have always had a sense of humour regarding their money. After all, we named our dollar coin “the Loonie”. We thought the name “Loonie” was so funny that we decided to call our $2 coin the “Toonie”. In 1935 we even produced separate English and French bills. Yeah, we like to laugh about our money. Hell, when you compare the value of our bills to American money, ours really does seem like ‘funny-money’. We’ve even got an entirely unique second set of paper currency – Canadian Tire Money.
Over the last decade, and continuing this decade, the Canadian government has been introducing new versions of all of our bills. The new Canadian bills have different subject matters on each bill. The $5 shows children playing hockey outdoors, with Sir Wilfrid Laurier on the opposite side.
The $10 shows veterans, children and peacekeepers paying tribute with Sir John A. Macdonald on the opposite side. The $20 shows the artwork of renowned Canadian artist Bill Reid with Queen Elizabeth II on the opposite side. The $50 shows the accomplishments of the Famous Five and Therese Casgrain with William Lyon Mackenzie King on the opposite side. The $100 shows historic and satellite maps of Canada with Sir Robert Borden on the opposite side.Â The $1000 shows a delicious Poutine on the front and Pierre Trudeau giving the finger on theÂ opposite side.Â Okay, I made that last one up.Â All of the faces featured on the bills are new images. Sadly, this is the end of an era. These new bills have led to the demise of another Canadian cultural phenomenon. The Five Dollar Spock. Yes, it’s true. Sir Wilfrid Laurier (elected Prime Minister in 1896 – Canada’s first francophone prime minister) was actually the Vulcan Spock. The resemblance is truly uncanny.
It’s easy to recreate ‘The Spock’. People have been changing these bills to resemble the Vulcan science officer for years. The addition of some hair and eyebrows are all that’s required. Like Spock, Laurier lived long and prospered. When he died at age 78, on February 17, 1919 in Ottawa, 50,000 people lined the streets for the funeral procession. He left a large fortune behind – we presume mostly in 5′s.