Urban Legends of Canadian Currency
Legend: The dies for the original design of the Canadian one dollar coin (Loonie) were lost while being transported. Status: True Origins: The design originally chosen to replace the one dollar bill was the Voyageur design on Canada's silver dollar / nickel dollar coin. The dies that were prepared for the new design were lost in transit to the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg. In order to stop the thiefs from counterfeiting the Mint opted to use a different design. The design chosen was a common loon on the water. The new coin was nicknamed the "Loonie". Legend: The current ten dollar note (Canadian Journey Series) contained an error in John McCrae's poem "In Flanders Fields". Status: False Origins: Soon after the introduction of the new ten dollar bill rumours circulated that the note had to be recalled due to error in printing the first line of John McCrae's poem "In Flanders Fields" which read "In Flanders fields the poppies blow". Many people thought the last word should be "grow" but thehandwritten manuscript that is officially used for Remembrance Day ceremonies reads "blow". The Bank of Canada used one of the copies of the poems in McCrae's handwriting that can be found at the National Archives. Some people may have been confused with the last stanza of the poem reading" We shall not sleep, though poppies grow / In Flanders fields." John McCrae wrote two versions. The first version written on May 3, 1915 used the word "grow". The second version was to changed to "blow" because of a suggestion from an editor at Punch Magazine (December 1915 printing) to avoid repetition with the last stanza of the poem where the word "grow" is used. To add confusion, it may also be noted that McCrae himself used the two words interchangeably on several handwritten versions. Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Flanders_Fields www.bankofcanada.ca/banknotes/general/character/background_10_quotation.html http://guelpharts.ca/mccraehouse/ Legend: "Godless Coins" - Inscription "by the grace of God" removed from coins of 1911. Status: True Origins: Canadian collectors termed the coins of 1911 the "Godless coins" because they lacked the Latin abbreviation DEI GRA: meaning "by the grace of God". This angered many people. In 1912 the Royal Mint replaced the inscription to calm the public outcry. Modern coins bear the inscription D.G. Regina meaning "by the Grace of God, Queen". Legend: Many defective newly released two dollar coins (Toonies) were losing their inner cores. Status: True Origins: The Royal Canadian Mint originally had a problem with some of the newly released bimetallic two dollar coins. These coins consisted of a nickel outer ring and an aluminum bronze core that would sometimes separate with normal handling. Once the public heard about this many people actually tried to pop out the centres of these coins. The Mint was quick to correct the problem and the novelty of popping the centres out wore off. Today a separated toonie is rare and if it does occur they still can be redeemed at the bank. Legend: Canada is introducing a five dollar circulation coin. Status: False, for now. Origins: The introduction of a two dollar coin was a success because a coin has lifespan of twenty years compared to nine months for a banknote. However rumours of a five dollar coin had many people angry at the weight of change they would have to carry around. There is even a site making fun of the five dollar coin here: http://www.thetoque.com/040120/shatnercoin.htm. A five dollar coin is not likely because notes have the additional advantage of being more secure. Legend: Bank Machine spits out Canadian Tire Money. Status: True Origins: A CIBC Automated Teller Machine in Moncton, New Brunswick was dispensing Canadian Tire Money. The ATM gave out a total of 11 Canadian Tire bills to four different people. Customers were quickly reimbursed by the bank. See the story on the CBC at http://nb.cbc.ca/regional/servlet/View?filename=nb-tiremoney-20041201. Legend: An American flag is flying over the Parliament buildings on Canadian paper money. Status: False Origins: The $10 bill from the 1989 Bird series has what appears to be an American flag. This is in fact Canadian Red Ensign (the former flag) with Union Jack in the upper left corner. Any striping effect is merely the result of shading. Canadian bills depict the flag that was in use when the featured prime minister was the head of government. Legend: A Devils Face appeared on some Canadian bank notes. Status: True, if you squint really carefully. Origins: The 1954 series of bank notes caused some controversy because highlited areas of the Queen's hair seemed to contain a "Devils Head" or "Devils Face" image. The image was an exact reproduction of the original photographic image so this was not a prank. The Bank of Canada had the bank note companies change the face plates by darkening the highlights in the hair. All bills were modified in 1956 except for the one thousand dollar bill which was modified later. Legend: Soldiers use Canadian Money as insulation in their boots and for dressing wounds. Status: True Origins: The Government issued 25-cent paper notes in 1870 while waiting for the new Canadian coinage to arrive from Great Britain. By 1929 there were five million 25-cent paper notes in circulation. These notes were called "shinplasters". This derogatory term originally derived its name from a shin-plaster which was a piece of paper soaked in vinegar and used to treat sore legs. Today, the term "shinplaster" commonly refers to a piece of paper money of small denomination issued by the government or worthless privately issued paper money. These notes were redeemed at a small fraction of their face value so they became worthless. Soldiers used them as insulation in their boots or as dressings for shin wounds. Traditionally many brides wore a "shinplaster" in their wedding shoes to ensure future wealth. Legend: Half a Canadian Bank note is worth half the face value. Status: True Origins: The bank of Canada offers a free service to redeem burnt, decomposed, torn, shredded, or contaminated bank notes. If more than two thirds (lengthwise) of the note remains intact then you will receive full face value. If between one third and two thirds (lengthwise) of the note remain you will receive half of the face value. If less than one third (lengthwise) of the note remains intact you will receive nothing. Legend: New photo editing software and colour copiers will prevent Canadian bank notes from being copied. Status: True Origins: Photo editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro and some colour copiers will refuse to process bank notes. These software programs contain a bank note detection system designed by the Central Bank Counterfeit Deterrence Group. The software was originally thought to be recognizing a pattern of five small yellow circles or dots that are scattered across many banknotes called the EURion constellation. These patterns discovered by Markus Kuhn in 2002 were named for their similarity to the Orion star constellation and for the Euro bank notes on which they were first discovered. All the Journey Series of Canadian bank notes include the EURion constellation, on both sides of the bill. The method used by the CBCDG to block bank note reproduction is still unknown. Legend: The eleven points on the Maple Leaf represent Canada's ten provinces plus the Federal Government. Status: False Origins: The eleven points on the Maple Leaf have no significance. Early flags sometimes had fifteen points. Interstingly, Maple leafs that occur in nature have 23 points. Copyright 2005/2006 The Coin Tree Inc.
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