A penny saved is not much, say locals

If the federal government gets around to scrapping the penny, they may get a lot of support from local residents.

A bill put forward by an NDP parliament member from Manitoba would see the little red coins taken out of circulation. Prices would be rounded up or down to the nearest nickel.

The Observer did a quick poll, and found positive feedback for the idea.

“I think it’s better to get rid of [the penny],” said Mahen Chauhan, from the Bargain Centre dollar store on Ellesmere Road. “It’s high time.”

Many found the penny to be simply annoying and too small to be of any real use.

“It’s useless to us,” said Betty James, bartender at the Fossil & Haggis pub on Military Trail. The Fossil already rounds its prices to the nearest nickel.

James says when the pub’s customers give them pennies, the Fossil simply puts them into a jar.

Then again, it’s not as though there’s a lot to do with them.

“Nothing costs one penny,” said a clerk at the New Family Mart Plus, on Ellesmere Road, adding that at closing time, it could take an hour or more just to count the pennies taken in over the day.

It once took three or four trips for local barista Georgia Tzanetakis to take a collection of pennies to the bank to deposit. Counting that many pennies took time, too.

It may also take money.

Though the Royal Canadian Mint has said it costs less than a cent to produce each coin, an academic paper from five years ago suggests that each penny costs four cents to make.

Not every local hated the lowly red cent.

“Every penny counts towards a dollar,” said Oves Lakhi, from the Daisy Mart, on Old Kingston Road. He says he sometimes gets tipped pennies, and that they slowly but surely add up.

They also come in handy when buying things, Lakhi said.

“Every transaction, there’s a penny in it,” he said.

Many countries have withdrawn their one cent coins, Chauhan noted. Australia has not had a penny for over 15 years, and neither Finland nor the Netherlands use the one cent euro coin.