When science-fiction legend and Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy passed away on February 27 of this year, everyone knew that fans would be greatly affected. The actor, who famously portrayed the Vulcan Spock in the TV series from 1966-1969 and went on to play the role in eight subsequent films, was one of the most beloved television actors in history with legions of devoted fans. However, no one could have possibly guessed that his death would lead to a trend with Canadian currency.
As a tribute to the actor, many Canadian fans began immediately after his death to “Spock” their five-dollar notes. Since then, the practice has continued until even the Bank of Canada has stepped in to request that Canadians cease the practice. The Canadian five-dollar bill has the portrait of Sir Wilfred Laurier, who not only served as Canada’s seventh prime minister, but who also bears a passing resemblance to Leonard Nimoy.
By shading in the Laurier’s hair to give him a longer cut like Spock wore on the television show. Angling the shading also gives the prime minister the appearance of pointy ears like the Vulcan aliens of which Spock was a member. Draw in some arched eyebrows, another of Nimoy’s trademarks, and Laurier can become a dead-ringer for the beloved Spock. Many Canadians are topping off the “Spocking” of their fivers by adding Spock’s famous mantra, “Live long and prosper.” This phrase has become a philosophy of sorts and is probably one of the most famous lines in television and movie history. There is no word on whether anyone has figured out how to add the famous Vulcan hand salute as well.
The Bank of Canada has stated that, unlike in other countries, it is not illegal in Canada to write on or deface Canadian currency in this manner. However, they did issue a statement urging Canadians to stop the practice. They claim that writing on the bill could “interfere with the security features and reduce its [the bill’s] lifespan…[and] may also prevent it from being accepted in a transaction.” The bank is also appealing to Canadian’s civic duty as they feel that the bills are “a symbol of our country and a source of national pride” that should not be defaced. Since its not illegal, many are still continuing the practice and some are suggesting it should become a permanent change to the bill.