Pennies a thing of the past

Pennies aren’t for spending anymore. What to do with the now worthless coins? (Cara Smith/AQ)
Pennies aren’t for spending anymore. What to do with the now worthless coins? (Cara Smith/AQ)

Michelle Soucy looked at the jar of pennies sitting on her windowsill and wondered what to do with them.

Canadians said goodbye to their pennies on Feb.4, 2013 after 155 years in the Canadian currency system. Since making the one cent pieces costs 1.6 cents, the government decided in March of last year to stop producing them.

Soucy figured she should do something worthwhile with the remaining bronze coins. She thought of Heather MacInnis.

There have been fundraisers for the young St. Thomas University student fighting cystic fibrosis throughout the last few years, but they’ve slowed down.

Soucy decide to collect a few more pennies and donate them to Heather and her family.

“My first donation was from my grandmother. She gave me about $13 in rolled pennies,” the Halifax woman said.

“Since then, I have had a lot of people contacting me saying they would like to give me all their pennies. I have even received some cash donations from those who did not have any pennies but wanted to help out. It has only been two days, but between myself and the Fredericton collectors, we have raised about $350.”

While Soucy decided to collect the last copper-coloured coins for a good cause, others turned them into jewelry, tiled their floor with them, or saved them for memories.

Those interested to help with Michelle Soucy’s fundraiser don’t even have to roll their pennies. Soucy said she and other collectors have received donations from as far away as Calgary and Ontario.

“The reception this campaign has received has been overwhelming. I am not surprised as Heather has been through a lot these past years and has developed an amazing support network not only in her hometown but across Canada. It is really great to see so many people come together to support her.”

MacInnis has been re-listed on the transplant list for her second double lung transplant after being admitted to Toronto General Hospital in the end of January 2013.

Soucy isn’t the only one putting her pennies to good use.

St Thomas University student Khairunnisa Ayutami Intiar has another reason to save her pennies, and it’s close to her heart.

She has a little money box with pennies, nickels, and dimes. She keeps them because they are going to be rare, but also to show her family a small part of Canada’s history.

“ Also, my family is coming to live in Canada for a few years. I want to show my sisters and parents what pennies are like, and tell them that before they got here, we used to have pennies.”