Canada’s new polymer bank notes were nearly a celebration of gay marriage, ethnic hockey players and turban-wearing RCMP officers, according to rejected concepts for the new, shiny currency.
The Canadian Press reports that the Bank of Canada considered putting a series of overtly inclusive characters on the new plastic notes. It was almost as if they were trying to form a team of super heroes comprising extreme Canadian stereotypes.
They eventually decided to stick with traditional images, including one of a train and another of a monument.
(Of course, that monument sparked its own moment of outrage, thanks to a pair of naked breasts barely visible on the currency.)
According to the Canadian Press:
Images that were considered included a Chinese dragon parade, the swearing-in of a new citizen, Toronto’s annual Caribbean festival, children of different ethnic backgrounds playing hockey or building a snowman, and a person in a wheelchair playing basketball.
Some other ideas were rejected as too controversial: Hockey was rejected because some see it as too violent, military images were rejected as inappropriate, the ice wine industry was rejected for being alcohol, and aboriginal art was rejected because "enough had been done" to promote the craft.
A personal favourite, images depicting snow were avoided because they “may become more controversial should global warming progress,” the Canadian Press reported.
The series was the brain child of a market research firm hired in 2008, before the release of the new series of polymer bills. The firm relied on focus groups across the country to suggest ideas. So really, we only have ourselves to blame for what almost happened.
Such focus groups were already the topic of concerning headlines, after the Bank of Canada nixed an image of an Asian scientist from the new $100 bill and used the image of a more "neutral" scientist instead.
[ Related: Bank of Canada bans image of Asian-looking woman ]
It was reported in August that a Quebec focus group felt "the inclusion of an Asian without representing any other ethnicities was seen to be contentious."
The Bank of Canada has policy of using “neutral ethnicity” on bank notes, and apparently the Justice League of Canadian Inclusivity did not make the cut.
Somewhere, a happily-married gay, turban-wearing, hockey-playing black RCMP officer sheds a tear for what might have been.