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Centretown News Online
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Currency art celebrates winter
Friday, 08 February 2013
By Brodie Cooper
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The Bank of Canada Currency Museum is polishing its polar bear coins in preparation for the Frosty Fortunes event during this year's Winterlude.

It will take place every weekend until Feb. 17 at 245 Sparks St. It features free guided tours in English and French on the history of winter-themed art found on Canadian currency.

The event will also include games such as beanbag tosses and memory matching, and winter crafts based on the idea of children playing hockey and tobogganing, similar to the image found on the five-dollar bill.

Winter-themed art on Canadian currency dates to the 1800s – one of the earliest examples is from the Hart’s Bank collection, a five-dollar note that depicts a couple riding in a horse-drawn sleigh during the winter..

According to the auction website, icollector.com, this particular note, which does not have a specific year recorded on it, now sells for $215.

And Canada's newest 50-dollar bill depicts the CCGS Amundsen, a Canadian research icebreaker.

According to the Centretown museum’s display, the Amundsen “provides world’s oceanographers, geologists and ecologists with unparalleled access to the North.”

“It is important to see the brighter side of winter, because unfortunately, all too often, we look outside as Canadians and see the snow and are somewhat upset,” says event co-ordinator Nicole Gurski.

However, Peter Thompson, a professor of Canadian Studies at Carleton University, says Canadians’ tolerance for winter is still a part of the culture.

Thompson says Ottawa mostly embraces winter. Events such as Winterlude and Frosty Fortunes romanticize the season for people, so they can try to enjoy it even if they’re not fans.

Resilience in the face of winter is a trait Canadians like to see in themselves – it makes us feel hardy, he says.

Last Updated ( Friday, 22 February 2013 )
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