OTTAWA – Chris Hadfield phoned home to help unveil Canada’s new plastic money.
The Canadian astronaut commanding the International Space Station made a cameo via satellite Tuesday as outgoing Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty introduced the latest in polymer currency.
The guest appearance of Hadfield — the popular space man who tweets photos, strums his guitar and does science experiments while floating hundreds of kilometres above the Earth’s surface — was perhaps no great surprise given the $5 bill’s space motif and some telegraphing on Flaherty’s part.
The finance minister stalled briefly until a phone began to ring. Flaherty took a friendly jab as the central banker, who is leaving soon to take over the Bank of England.
“Don’t tell me it’s London calling,” Flaherty joked.
A bobbing Hadfield then chatted with Flaherty and Carney as a $5 note spun around in front of him like the hands on a clock in the absence of gravity.
The note features images of the Canadarm, a generic astronaut and Dextre, the Canadian Space Agency’s robotic handyman, while the $10 — also revealed Tuesday — has a picture on it of a train running through the Rockies.
“From orbit, it’s really clear that Canada’s internal accomplishments have reached well beyond our extensive frontiers,” Hadfield said.
“These new polymer notes show us the type of thing that we can accomplish when we really put our minds to it.”
The new notes will go into circulation in November, joining the other polymer bills that were previously introduced.
The bank says the polymer notes last two-and-a-half times longer than the old, cotton-paper bills.