Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Last Polymer Canadian Bank Notes Unveiled; Transition to Be Complete in Two Years

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Last Polymer Canadian Bank Notes Unveiled; Transition to Be Complete in Two Years

Article excerpt

New $5 and $10 polymer bills released


LONGUEUIL, Que. - The last of Canada's polymer bills were put into circulation by the Bank of Canada on Thursday, with the transition to the plastic cash set to take about two years.

The $5 and $10 notes were unveiled at simultaneous news conferences in Longueuil, Que., and Vancouver respectively.

Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz, on hand at the Quebec event, touted the quality of the polymer bills, "or as we say in Oshawa, plastic."

"The $5 and $10 bank notes tell a story about the frontiers of our country and even our universe," Poloz said at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters.

The $5 bill symbolizes Canada's contribution to space exploration and the back of the note depicts Canadarm 2 and Dextre, a two-armed, $200-million robot currently in use on the International Space Station.

The $10 bill pays tribute to Canada's railway, a great engineering feat that linked the country's eastern and western frontiers by what was, at the time, the longest railway ever built. It shows The Canadian, Via Rail's passenger train which operates between Vancouver and Toronto, winding through the Rockies.

Also in attendance at the space agency was astronaut Chris Hadfield, who unveiled the bill while on the International Space Station last April.

That same $5 bill -- a prototype sent up to the station with Hadfield -- was returned Thursday to the Bank of Canada, which will display it at its money museum, currently under renovation.

The bill Hadfield brought with him didn't have a serial number on it. It was rushed as Hadfield left for the space station in December, a bank spokesman said Thursday.

"It flew up with me on the Soyuz and came back with me five months later so it spent 146 days in space and (went) 2,336 times around (the world), which is just under 100 million kilometres," Hadfield said.

It's believed to be the only Canadian currency ever to make it to space.

"To take something to the space station gives it an inherent, large amount of value," Hadfield said. "It's not something we normally take up to space, but this was a real special exception."

Meanwhile, the $10 bill was launched in Vancouver on the 128th anniversary of the driving of the last spike to complete Canada's railway. …

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