As last Canadian penny stamped out by mint, here’s what you can do with the copper coin

Steve Mertl
National Affairs Contributor
Daily Brew

The last Canadian penny was stamped out at the Royal Canadian Mint on Friday, the National Post reports.

The historic penny was struck ceremoniously at the Winnipeg mint Friday morning and will be headed to Canada's currency museum in Ottawa, CTV News reported.

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced the demise of the copper (which these days is only copper-plated metal) in last March's budget as a cost-saving measure. Making a penny actually costs 1.6 cents.

The penny was first introduced in Canada in 1858 but it's been at least a generation since the penny had any purchasing power. When I was a kid in the 1960s, you could still buy candy for a penny, though the good stuff cost a nickel.

But for most people, the penny became a nuisance years ago, weighing down pockets, accumulating in jars and spare-change trays. Most people won't even stoop to to pick up one off the sidewalk (I do. I still think it's good luck).

The penny won't disappear overnight. The mint will distribute its remaining supplies until this fall.

Millions more remain in circulation until banks that get them back withdraw them. Then there's those stockpiles in jars on dressers and desks across Canada.

So if you're not planning to roll them up and take them to the bank, what can you do with pennies now?

Flaherty said he hoped Canadians would donate their penny collections to charity.

But has come up with a list of 83 things you can do with pennies.

They include using them to pry the lids off those frustrating child-proof pill containers, teaching your toddler to count and adding a stabilizer weight to your kite.

Putting a penny over every doorway in your new home is still considered good luck, the web site says.

It also suggests filling a sock with pennies as a self-defence weapon (I don't recommend that. A roll of dimes curled in your fist is better. Joking, of course).

Have a garden? Use them to keep slugs away from new plantings or give them to kids in foreign countries as souvenirs.

If you've bought a pair of penny loafers, well there's a slot for a penny in each one.

Of course, you can still toss them in a fountain to make a wish.

And you can offer someone a penny for their thoughts, though they might now ask you to round it up to a nickel!