The Bank of Canada officially launched Canada's new $5 bank note into circulation today.

Unveiled at a special ceremony in Montréal, the $5 bill is the latest addition to the new Canadian Journey series introduced in January 2001 with the launch of the $10 note. The redesigned $5 note includes sophisticated security features that further enhance the security of Canada's currency. Entitled Children at Play, the new note features images of children tobogganing, learning to skate, and playing hockey.

David Dodge, Governor of the Bank of Canada and Paul Martin, Minister of Finance were joined at the unveiling by Jean Béliveau, former NHL hockey player for the Montréal Canadiens, Kim St. Pierre, member of the gold-medal-winning Canadian Olympic women's hockey team in Salt Lake City, and Myriam Bédard, two-time Olympic gold medallist in the biathlon.

"The new $5 note pays homage to children as Canada's future, and play as a healthy part of their physical, social, and cultural development," said Minister Martin. "It is also a celebration of Canada's northern climate where our winter pastimes—in particular the game of hockey—reflect our sporting heritage."

"Canada's bank notes reflect our growth both as a nation and as a people. Each series released by the Bank of Canada has provided a new way for Canadians to see their country and themselves," the Minister added.

The redesigned $5 note contains many sophisticated security features designed to thwart counterfeiters, such as raised ink (intaglio), the iridescent maples leaves, and the hidden number. The $5 bank note incorporates the same security features found on the new $10 bill, which makes it easier for the public to learn, remember, and use them.

"The Bank of Canada is proud to issue the new $5 bank note as part of its commitment to provide Canadians with the most secure bank notes possible," said David Dodge. "Canada's currency is among the most secure in the world. The Bank is determined to be at the forefront of bank note development in order to preserve the confidence Canadians have in our currency. The new $5 note will be a memorable and distinctive addition to a proud legacy," added Dodge.

After extensive public consultations, the Bank has also kept those features that Canadians felt strongly about, such as the size of the note, the basic colour scheme, as well as the historical figures who are featured on the front of the current notes. Therefore, the new $5 note is blue, and a newly engraved, larger portrait of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Canada's first French-Canadian prime minister, is featured on the front of the note along with a vignette of the West Block of Parliament.

The new bank note series has also been designed to help blind and vision-impaired users easily identify different denominations. This is the first series to include a tactile feature consisting of a unique number and arrangement of symbols (grouping of six raised dots) on the face of each denomination. This feature is a welcome addition to the large, high-colour-contrast numerals, colour contrast among denominations, and codes that can be read by a new portable electronic bank note reader.

The availability of this new and improved bank note reader for the blind and the vision-impaired was also announced today. The new unit is more compact and discreet, and is able to recognize denominations from both the current Birds of Canada and new Canadian Journey series bank notes.

"The Canadian Journey series has made great progress in improving the ability of blind and vision-impaired Canadians to recognize bank notes in an independent, discreet, and reliable manner," stated Anne Jarry of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. "We are delighted to be involved in an initiative that has been very positively received by members of the blind and vision-impaired community," added Ms. Jarry.

The new bank note series celebrates Canada's culture, history, and achievements and introduces additional features to further enhance the security of Canada's currency. The Bank of Canada is continuing its work on the design and new security features to be incorporated into the high denominations of this series. It is hoped that the new $20 note (Arts and Culture), $50 note (Nation Building), and $100 note (Exploring and Innovating) will be issued over the next two to three years.