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End Of The Penny Sparks Local Creativity


In 1996 Australia said goodbye to their one and two cent coins. Four years later they turned these recycled coins into medals for athletes at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics. The Canadian government has announced the Canadian penny will be phased out in 2013. Though the opportunity to melt our coins down to create the Vancouver 2010 Olympic medals has passed, we hope to see similar creative solutions for unwanted pennies here in Canada. Ingenuity is key when it comes to phasing out the Canadian penny and there are many great ideas surfacing.


The Penny Smasher

The Penny Smasher, located at the front of Salt Tasting Room in Vancouver’s Gastown, takes the idea of an average souvenir penny press and transforms it to create a press for affordable art. The concept of the Smasher came from Todd Falkowsky, who designed a similar press in Toronto. The press requires a toonie and a penny, and all the proceeds go toward charities or funding for the arts. The machine features four unique designs. The most popular design is called Monument for East Vancouver, an impression by Ken Lum of the monumental East Van cross. A portion of the proceeds goes to BC Children’s Hospital. The other designs are Flip by Jerszy Seymour, Vision Token by Ian Grais, and Button by Natalie Purschwitz.

With fewer pennies in your change, you should take a moment and reminisce about the ways the penny has affected us. Keep an eye out for upcoming unique ideas, or perhaps keep one or two in a collection, since our pockets are no longer weighed down by the penny.


2013 Pacific Rim Cover, "Impossible Choices" Cover Story. Image of Marilou Tuzon.

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