Zira's World Tour

Just a felted monkey diva blogging about her trip around the world.

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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Today's Zira post will be about Canadian currency. Tomorrow we have traditional Newfoundland cuisine and a goodbye to the monkey....sniff.

I apologize to Canadian readers who know all about Canadian money. If you see any errors in my writings, please let me know in the comments!

Here is Zira looking at the money (she wanted to touch it but I told her no, I'm sure she'd go spend it on bananas or yarn or something):

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We are often teased (by American's mostly, I think) that our money is odd because it comes in different colours. Personally, I like having a little rainbow in my wallet (even if there is never any red or brown in my rainbow). Whenever I've visited the US I'm SCARED TO DEATH to buy anything because the bills are so hard to tell apart. Yes, yes, there is a wee number in the corners and a dead president in the centre but they are all green! How do you not shortchange yourselves at every turn?

Here are some specifics of our bills:

- Our money also has different dimensions from American cash. It is shorter from person to number (see photo above) but longer from top to bottom. This makes wallet purchase somewhat dicey, especially for men's wallets as there seems to be a little extra room in them but your money sort of peeks out of the top in a most displeasing manner.
- We used to have one and two dollar bills but they were phased out. I liked it when the dollar left, the two I sort of miss.
- Bill fronts all have a drawing of a different parliament building or part thereof and a portait of:
- $100: Robert Borden, eighth Prime Minister (1911-1920)
- $50: William Lyon MacKenzie King, tenth Prime Minister (1921 - 1930 and 1935 - 1948)
- $20: Queen Elizabeth II (her official title in Canada is Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of
the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the
Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith)
- $10: John A. MacDonald, first Prime Minister (1867 - 1873 and 1878 - 1891)
- $5: Wilfred Laurier, seventh Prime Minister (1896 - 1911)
- We get a new minting of bills every once in a while. The last lot had native Canadian birds on the backs, the lot before that had what I think were different scenes of Canada on them (I remember a refinery or something on a ten and some logging thing on the one).
- The backs of current bills look like this:

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- Yup, that's hockey on the back of the five. Canadians realllly like hockey. However, I think many of my fellow Canadians were surprised at how little they missed the NHL when they went on strike. The ten is about rememberance and peacekeeping, twenty a scene about arts and culture, the fifty about "Nation Building" and the $100 about exploration and innovation (after yesterday's space adventure I wouldn't be surprised if they recall them all and replace that satellite with a picture of the Canada Arm). To be honest, I miss the birds, prettier bills by a lot.
- There are a lot of security features on the new Canadian bills but people seem hell bent on making fakes anyway. Many stores have signs stating that they don't accept fifty or hundred dollar bills.

Here are our coins (a little blurry...oops):

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- The Quarter, worth 25 cents, has a picture of a caribou on it (any Canadians out there remember the Canadian Sesame Street song about the quarter?).
- The one dollar coin or "Loonie" has a loon on it - it came out in 1987.
- The two dollar coin or "Toonie" has a polar bear on it - released in 1996. There was much national debate about what these dollar coins were to be called....I remember some two dollar coin ideas included "doubloon" (arrrgh, matey), "deuce" and "barely" (as it has the queen on one side with a bear behind....hardee, har, har) . In some of the really early ones, the centre could be popped out, especially if you laid it on a stove burner for a bit or froze it. No, I was never this bored...someone, somewhere was.
- The nickel (five cents) has a beaver on it (a proud and noble animal). I was about 8 when I realized this. Till then I thought it was half of saturn....I was an odd kid.
- The penny (one cent) has two maple leaves on it.
- The dime (ten cents) has the Bluenose on it. The bluenose was a cod-fishing boat and racing schooner, never beaten. Hurray!
- The bottom three coins in the photo above are specially minted coins. The middle one is a Victory Nickel and the one at the right is a dime honouring volunteers. The first one is a quarter from a series of past/present quarters released for the millenium (1999 and 2000). There have been lots of special coins over the last decade or so. We had a series of the provincial quarters, a toonie to commerate the addition of our third territory, a Veteran quarter with a red poppy on it (you could only get 'em at Tim Hortons I think), a Terry Fox loonie (national hero - young guy who lost a leg to cancer, ran partway across the country to raise money for cancer research before relapsing and dying), etcetera. My mother collects these like a mad woman.
- The queen is on the other side of them all....she is aging as the minting continues. Old coins have her with ribbons in her hair, then she's a nice young queen with a crown, then an older queen with a crown and now a matronly looking woman sans crown (life is cruel).

Our money is worth a bit less than American money. It is better than it was a few years ago. Getting things from the internet on mail order from the States can be deceptive and is oft avoided by me (though I long to place a knitpicks order). The prices seem great but between the exchange rates and shipping costs you feel violated when the bill arrives.

Was that dry? I was supposed to educate Zira and the blog about culture so I thought this was appropriate when I was taking photos. Now that I've spent all this time typing - I'm afraid I've bored each and every one of you to tears. More action and adventure tomorrow!


Blogger Evolved Yarn said...

from one Canadian to another, I actually really enjoyed this post! The funny thing is, I had my old and commemerative coins out today showing the kids! It is really fun reading about Zira and her adventures.. I will definitely pop back in to see what she is up to.

Thu Aug 04, 02:15:00 PM EDT  
Blogger La said...

Naw, not dry at all. I thought it was pretty cool. When I lived in England took me a while to get used to not only the different colored bills, but different sized bills too. The larger the larger the denomination, the larger the bill.

Thu Aug 04, 06:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Maggie Ann said...

I've found this post as charming as the rest and really interesting. I've never seen Canadian money and foods, and I've learned alot. Wow, I hope Zira will visit us from home now and then. I've become fond of her and her adventures. Let's keep being friends Zira. You're so cute. I wouldn't be surprised if she is knitting next, or does she knit already? = )

Fri Aug 05, 01:05:00 PM EDT  

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