It’s the end of an era. As of today the Mint will cease distributing pennies to financial institutions, and the supply of pennies in circulation will begin to decline.

Banks will still accept pennies as long as they are rolled.  The coins remain legal tender, so stores will also still accept pennies, as long as they are used in increments of five.

Today Shelly Glover, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, and Ian E. Bennett, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint, marked the official transition date for the phase-out of the penny.

"Pennies have sat idle for too long in forgotten penny jars and couch crevices," said Parliamentary Secretary Shelly Glover. “They demand too much time, for too little return, of our small business owners, and they cost too much to make: nearly 1.6 cents goes into every penny. It is time to bid the penny a fond farewell."

As the saying goes, a penny saved is a penny earned but Winnipeg coin dealer Abe Nuss of AB Coins and Collectables doesn’t think you’ll ever get much more than that.

“There are so many millions made every year,” said Nuss. “In every nook and cranny, an attic, a basement, a shelf there’s tonnes of this stuff around.”

If you do have jars of pennies you no longer want sitting around, St. Vital Centre is giving people another option.

The shopping centre has an automatic coin counting machine that allows shoppers to turn their coins into St. Vital Centre gift cards.

The service was introduced late last year, and shoppers aren’t charged anything.