Cmdr. Chris Hadfield, a surprise guest at the event, uncovered the new polymer $5 banknote from 400 kilometres above the Bank of Canada on Tuesday, bending the blue currency in zero gravity. Space and rail, two Canadian frontiers, are made the central themes of the new high-tech $5 and $10 bills introduced by the Bank of Canada.
Hadfield made a statement via a link through Mission Control in Houston to the International Space Station, saying that “now Canadians can remember, every time they buy a sandwich, a coffee and a doughnut, what we are capable of achieving.” The $5 note is themed to honor the Canadarm attached to the space station and the ISS’s robotic “handyman,” Dextre. Hadfield described the Canadarm as building the space station, which he was first Canadian to command. Hadfield also has the honor of being the first Canadian to operate the Canadarm and the first to walk in orbit outside the space station.
On the other hand, the $10 note depicts another century and honors another Canadian first, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney stated, the railroad linking Canada from east to west, finished in 1885, which was then the longest railroad in the world. Talking to the media in Ottawa, Carney stated that “the innovative nature of the polymer notes is echoed in the theme of the series — frontiers — because, in so many ways, these notes break new ground.” He continued, saying that the new banknotes are “also a product of great technological innovation by chemists, physicists, researchers, artists and analysts.”
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