The copper penny in Canada is no more. Today was the last day that the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg would produce the small coins. The decision was made to stop production of the humble coin because it was costing more to manufacture than the face value.
When the first one cent pieces were produced in 1858 it was useful and the backbone of commerce. Over the years inflation has eaten into the value of the face value of currency and costs have escalated. Some years ago Canadian authorities stopped producing one dollar and two dollar bills, switching to longer lasting coins.
The last penny was produced in a ceremony attended by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Wearing white gloves, Flaherty picked up the last penny and carefully set it on its way to the currency museum in Ottawa.
The coins will remain legal tender as long as they are in circulation, disappearing from the scene gradually. Flaherty suggested hastening the process by donating pennies to charities.
The Royal Canadian Mint is not one to shy away from innovation in producing currencies. Last November they introduced a $100 bill made of thin plastic. They are a radical departure from paper with clear windows in them holographs and various other security devices which make them hard to counterfeit. Fifties are already in circulation and smaller denominations will follow next year.