New $5 Canadian polymer bill

All you may want to know about the ‘spaciest’ banknote in the world

Chris Hadfield abord the International Space Station. Credit: Canadian Space Agency

Being revealed in April 2013 by Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut that was Commander of the International Space Station (ISS) then, and launched into circulation by the Bank of Canada in November 2013, this Canadian 5 dollar (5 CAD) polymer bill immediately became a valuable souvenir for those who interested in space industry, or ‘just-a-nice-bill’ for those who don’t.

This 5 CAD bill shows the Canadarm2 and Dextre manipulator robots, installed on the ISS, along with an ambiguous astronaut that means to symbolize all Canadians who have contributed to its space program.

“By giving prominence to Canadian achievements in space, this banknote reminds us that not even the sky is the limit,” said Hadfield.

All of that was more than a year ago, and we would have forgotten about the 5 CAD bill, if it were not Leonard Limoy, American actor best known for his role as Mr. Spock in Star Trek, who died on February 27, 2015, making sad millions of fans of the franshise. You may ask about the relation between the bill and the actor? Here it is:

What do you think the total will be?

‘Spocking fives,’ as it is called, is a new campaign of Star Trek fans to ink the features of Mr. Spock, in the honor of Leonard Nimoy, over the profile of Canada’s seventh prime minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier on 5 dollar banknote.

Funny, but not for the Canada’s executives, who urged the fans to stop a campaign to deface currency. A Bank of Canada spokeswoman, Josianne Ménard, sent the following statement regarding the legality of marking Canadian bank notes:

It is not illegal to write or make other markings on bank notes because neither the Bank of Canada Act nor the Criminal Code deals with mutilation or defacement of bank notes. However, there are important reasons why it should not be done.
Writing on a bank note may interfere with the security features and reduces its lifespan. Markings on a note may also prevent it from being accepted in a transaction. Furthermore, the Bank of Canada feels that writing and markings on bank notes are inappropriate as they are a symbol of our country and a source of national pride.

Hard to disagree with the Bank of Canada, but unlikely this will stop Star Trek fans, who have already created at least two groups in Facebook for the bill, and actively tweeting their versions of ‘Spocking fives.’

P.S. 5-dollar bill with Dextre and Canadarm2 is the new one, and the 5-dollar bill, where Sir Wilfrid Laurier can be easily defaced to Mr. Spock, is the old one; they are not the same banknotes.

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