Since Leonard Nimoy’s death last week, Canadians have been honoring Mr. Spock by drawing his likeness over Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s face on out-of-date Canadian money. According to io9, Laurier’s vague similarities to the Enterprise’s science officer have led Canadians to “Spock” their bills for years, but the practice has spiked with Nimoy’s passing, thanks in part to social media.
Proving that the U.S. isn’t the continent’s only source of tone-deaf national institutions, Bank of Canada spokesperson Josianne Menard confirms that while Spocking Canadian five-dollar bills isn’t illegal, it’s also not very nice.
Menard clarified to the CBC that it’s not illegal to draw on money, but added, “The Bank of Canada feels that writing and markings on bank notes are inappropriate as they are a symbol of our country and a source of national pride.” Of course, this position insensitively disregards the patriotism felt by those who identify as citizens of the United Federation of Planets (or just really miss the late, great Leonard Nimoy). Menard also warned about the integrity of Spocked bills, cautioning that they “may not circulate for very long, and they’re often rejected by retailers.” This is a natural concern, given the average Canadian’s propensity to track down an out-of-print five, hand-draw Spock on it, tweet it, and then promptly attempt to turn it in at the nearest Tim Hortons for a large coffee and some Timbits.
Meanwhile, dedicated cash-Spockers will want to gather up all of their their old five-spots and get them to the transporter room, pronto—Canada’s new notes are made out of polymer, and are highly resistant to defacement.
And for you renegade U.S. citizens who are unafraid of the maximum six-month sentence for defacing money, take heart: there is a rich tradition of using paper currency to celebrate pop culture.