The End For The Penny


Today the Canadian mint will end the circulation of pennies…or will they?

Check this out!


Source: The Province

istribution of the Canadian penny ends Monday, but with about six billion of them in circulation, it’s not clear how long the little coins will stay in use.

The penny is being retired because it actually costs 1.6 cents to produce and the federal government believes it can save $11 million a year by getting rid of the coins.

While the last penny was actually produced by the Royal Canadian Mint on May 4 and they’re not going to be distributed any more, Mint spokeswoman Christine Aquino said pennies remain legal tender and can still be used for purchases or exchanged at financial institutions.

But she couldn’t say how long it will take for the Mint to reclaim those billions of pennies.

“We have never done this in Canada,” said Aquino. “We estimate three to four years (to get pennies out of circulation).”

Without using pennies, merchants are expected to round the final cash purchase price up or down.

For example, something costing $1.01 or $1.02 will go down to $1 while a bill of $1.03 or $1.04 would go up to $1.05. The most important thing for the consumer to remember, said Aquino, is that “this is for cash transactions only.”

If you’re paying by credit or debit card, the price stays the same.

Probably most affected by this are merchants. A recent survey by the Retail Council of Canada of its members found only 52.9 per cent were ready for the penny’s phase-out.

Just over half, 56.4 per cent, were going to implement the federal government’s guidelines for rounding prices and even more, 66.8 per cent, were going to do it manually at the point of sale. Most retailers, 81.5 per cent, believed the changes would cost their businesses $5,000 or less.

Mark Startup, a vice-president in the west division of the Retail Council, said just 20 per cent of point-of-sale transactions these days are cash.

He doesn’t think there will be any significant cost to consumers.

“The net impact for consumers is that it balances out,” said Startup.

If you’re stuck with a pile of pennies, you can always try to improve your fortunes by pitching them down the nearest wishing well.

Probably a better bet is rolling them up and taking them to your bank to exchange for more usable cash.

Failing that, you can always donate them to a worthwhile charity.

Nationally, Free the Children has been collecting pennies in support of clean-water projects around the world as part of its We Create Change campaign.

Also accepting pennies, rolled or not, is the North Shore Resources Society, which has an office in Capi-lano Mall. More information is available at 604-985-7138.

The Small Animal Rescue Society of B.C. is holding penny drives April 21, July 21 and Oct. 21, but it’s also taking any loose change you might have, as well as returnable bottles and cans and even Canadian Tire money.

In Kelowna, Habitat for Humanity is also collecting pennies to support affordable housing.

But if you’re not inclined to roll your pennies up for the bank or donate them to charity, there are other uses — like tiling a floor.

The Standard Hotel in New York City has such a floor and there are tutorials online about how to make such a unique copper creation — at a blog called HappyRoost and at


— Canada’s first penny was struck by the British Royal Mint in London in 1858.

— There have been five distinct designs of Canadian pennies: 18581910 – maple leaves on a vine; 19111920 – maple leaves on a vine with the word ‘Canada’; 1920-1936 – two maple leaves; 1967 – Centennial design featuring a rock dove; 19372012 – maple twig design by G.E. Kruger-Gray.

— From 1982 to 1996, the shape of the penny was changed from perfectly round to 12-sided.

— Until 1996, pennies were made mostly of copper. Since 1997, pennies have been made of copper-plated zinc or copper-plated steel.

— Each penny weighs 2.35 grams, roughly the same as a small hummingbird.

— Since 1908, 35 billion pennies have been minted. Stacked up, they would be 52,600 kilometres high or almost as high as 100,000 CN Towers (you know, that thing in Toronto). Side by side, the pennies would circle the Earth 16 times. That number of pennies would weigh almost twice as much as the ill-fated Titanic.

— Most valuable penny is the 1936 ‘dot’, which is supposed to be worth more than $400,000. There are only three known specimens.

— The last Canadian penny was made on May 4, 2012.

I still have several pennies kicking around…What’s a person to do with them now?

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