Monday, February 4, 2013

Canada officially penniless!

Did you see the Google doodle today? Yes, even the great American shibboleth [eh? Ed.] noticed that something momentous happened north of the world's longest undefended border. Dear readers, today Canadians mourn the passing -- or should we say dropping -- of the penny.

The government of Canada stopped making cents last fall. [And stopped making sense long before that. Ed.] But today the Royal Canadian Mint officially stopped distributing the little red cents to financial institutions.

The idea is to take the coins of little value out of circulation. Eventually. The one-cent piece has not been demonetized. That is, it remains legal tender. And there are something like 35 billion pennies still in circulation. Given that a fair proportion of these are squirrelled away in piggy banks and gigantic Maple Leafs jars (to be opened only when the Leafs win the Stanley Cup), this is going to take awhile.

The Mint's spokesthingy, Christine Aquino, told the Vancouver Province they're estimating three or four years, but Walt thinks three or four decades would be more like it. [Lifetime pct .992] Walt also wonders if they've factored in all the American pennies which will be brought across the border and cheerfully accepted by Canuck retailers and tourist trappers.

Walt also predicts that a number of coppery figures of speech will lose currency. (Geddit?) Canucks will speak no more of: "my two cents' worth", "not worth a red cent", and "a penny for your thoughts". Canada, if not the world, will be the poorer for losing its centses.

PS & WOW!!! A million for one offer!

If you can find a genuine (verified by the Royal Canadian Mint) penny dated 2013 (like the one in the Google doodle), I will give you (the equivalent of) a MILLION pennies. That's $10,000, in any dollar currency you like: Canadian dollars, US dollars, Australian dollars, Bahamian dollars, Hong Kong dollars, whatever. If you've got one, e-mail Walt at the usual address.

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