Over the past 11 months, the Bank of Canada has been rolling out new money. Instead of paper money, Canadians are beginning to use polymer money. The new money is supposed to last twice as long as the previous bills, and be much harder to counterfeit. So far, the roll out has been gradual, starting with $100 and $50 bills.
Now, though, the time has come to bring out the $20 bill. Canada’s money features a see-through window that, in the $20, has a picture of Queen Elizabeth II. That’s not the controversy, though, since she is, in fact, the Queen of Canada. The controversy stems from what else is on the bill. It appears that many think that the bill shows the Twin Towers (destroyed in the Al Qaeda attack on New York City in 2001), and features three naked women.
Okay. So the ladies are, in fact, topless. But not because someone has pornographic tendencies. It’s because what’s shown on the Canadian $20 bill isn’t the Twin Towers — it’s actually a monument to Canadian soldiers.
Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France
The image featured on the new Canadian $20 bill is actually the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, which is located in France. The memorial was built in honor of Canadian soldiers who fought in World War I during the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Designers of the bill thought it would be nice to show the memorial, which is the largest overseas monument for Canadian soliders of WWI.
However, focus groups appear to think that the monument looks too much like the Twin Towers, and aren’t certain that they want that immortalized on their money. On top of that, the group of statues on the memorial — Greek-style representations of truth, faith, justice, charity, knowledge, and peace — are being seen as pornographic. Focus group participants are concerned that the images are too risque to be included on Canadian money.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that focus groups have been upset by what’s on the new money. The Huffington Post reports that, “Members of focus groups interviewed about the $50 bill, which features an image of the research ship CCGS Amundsen among other things, saw everything from skulls and crossbones to Pinocchio.” The Canadian Press reports that, when focus groups considered the $100 bill, many of them saw a sex toy instead of a depiction of the double-helix of DNA.
Clearly, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. Maybe instead of worrying about whether or not our money is pornographic, we should take a few minutes to consider what is actually on our money. Because a memorial to our brave soldiers is definitely worth having on the $20 bill.