Chris Hadfield reveals new Canadian money while floating in space


Astronaut Chris Hadfield reveals the new Canadian $5 bill during a publicity event aboard the International Space Station on April 30, 2013. The $5 and $10 bills are made from polymers instead of paper.

Canada took extreme measures to reveal its new $5 bill today, letting astronaut Chris Hadfield introduce the new banknote while floating aboard the International Space Station.

The polymer banknotes replace traditional paper-based products and are expected to nearly eliminate counterfeiting, the Bank of Canada said.

Hadfield introduced the new $5 while officials on Earth debuted a $10 bill, the final notes in a completely revamped currency lineup.

The $10 features a train scene while the $5 highlights the accomplishments of Canada's space agency.

“The polymer series notes are at the frontier of bank note technology. The new $5 and $10 bank notes depict the frontiers of our country and our planet,” BOC Governor Mark Carney said. “It is fitting that we are today crossing the final frontier for a world first — the unveiling of a bank note from space.”

While orbiting more than 350 kilometres above Earth, Hadfield gave Canadians their first look at the new $5 polymer note. It features images of Canadarm2 and Dextre - robotics innovations used to build and maintain the space station and that symbolize Canada’s ongoing contribution to the international space program.

“I try to inspire young Canadians to aim high. This new $5 bill should do the same,” Hadfield said. “By giving prominence to Canadian achievements in space, this bank note reminds us that not even the sky is the limit.”

Counterfeiting reached a peak in Canada in 2004 with more than 550,000 phony banknotes in circulation, CBC said.

Since switching to the more secure cash, that number has dropped more than 90 percent.

Polymer also last 2 1/2 times longer than paper, CTV News said. The new notes are expected to enter circulation in the fall.