Canada Changed Its Money, So Star Trek Vandalism Is Harder
Wilfrid Laurier was Canada's prime minister at the turn of the 20th century. Today, his face is on the country's five dollar note. While he was not as notable a politician as the man who graces America's five dollar bill, nor as tall, he did have a very long career, with a record 15 continuous years as prime minister plus another 45 in parliament. His administration is remembered for a whole lot of very Canadian issues, like deciding whether the Northwest Territories were too big, catering to the French, and charging every Chinese person who came to the country $500 on the spot.
None of that would give us reason to talk about him today. Except that Wilfrid Laurier shares a resemblance with Spock.
Maybe it's his ears, which look a bit pointy in portraits. Once you notice that, his face seems quite similar to Leonard Nimoy's. And so started the trend of doodling on his picture on the five dollar bill to make him look even more like Spock, enhancing the ears further, messing with the brows and hair, and perhaps putting him in a Federation uniform.
The Bank of Canada spoke publicly against the fad. "Spocking fivers" disrespects our fine country, they said. It might reduce the bill's lifespan or convince people not to accept it. It is not, they however conceded, illegal, so they had no power to actually forbid the practice.
In 2013, Canada rolled out a new series of notes, and they changed Wilfrid Laurier's portrait. The new portrait looks a lot less like Spock and gives vandals less to work with. We don't know for sure that they changed the portrait to purposely deter Spocking, but we declare this to be entirely likely. It wasn't as though, like the Queen on the twenty dollar note, the long-dead man's face had changed since the last notes had been issued.
Regardless, neither the new portrait nor the new ink-resistant polymer put an end to Spocking. Plenty of the older notes remained in circulation, and when Leonard Nimoy died in 2015, Five Dollar Spocking became more common than ever.
The time has now come for another redesign, and the Bank of Canada has announced plans to do the only rational thing: removing Wilfrid Laurier altogether and sticking someone else there in his place. We recommend William Shatner, who was born in Montréal.
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