Currency Museum exhibition and program planner Caroline Roberts shows Sam Landry, 10, a magnified view of the differences between real and counterfeit bills yesterday.


Funny money is anything but for Ottawa’s Currency Museum, which has turned its latest efforts towards young people to help decrease the passing of counterfeit cash.

The Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada yesterday unveiled a new exhibition on counterfeit — The Good, the Bad and the Fake — that is geared towards youth because, as museum exhibition and program planner Caroline Roberts says, "Very often teenagers are handling cash in their first job … Many of them are cash handlers who will help to reduce counterfeit in the long term."

With its colourful cartoons on big panels, the storyline follows two teenagers as they find a bag of money on the street. When they learn the money is fake, they take it to police. Along the way, they learn how to spot real bills from counterfeits.

There are interactive exhibits that allow visitors to inspect security features under a black light and compare real bills to fake ones.

All five denominations of the latest bills — $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 — have four security features, which include a ghost image of a portrait on the front, a metallic stripe along the side and raised ink.

"We ask people to look for at least two of the four features," said Roberts, noting that counterfeiters are often good at replicating one feature but not another.

While geared towards youth, the exhibit benefits businesses as well. Many jobs that youth do, like cashier positions, have a high turnover rate and employers don’t necessarily have time to train them thoroughly in counterfeit detection.

Daniel Brown, 13, said he’s learned to check the bills he receives most of the time.

"I look for the little gold stripe and the watermarks," he said.

"I didn’t know a lot of these things," said 10-year-old Sam Landry.

"But it’s good to know because you might come across these things in a real situation."

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