Change theme
Change theme

Bank of Canada Unveils New $20 Note Design

Available as: PDF

Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty and Governor Mark Carney today unveiled the new and more secure $20 polymer bank note at the Bank of Canada’s head office, on Wellington Street in Ottawa. To raise public awareness about the new note, the building’s north-east corner now features seven-storey high images of both sides of the polymer $20.

As with the previously issued $50 and $100 polymer bank notes, the main reason for issuing a new $20 is to stay ahead of counterfeiting threats.  The new polymer notes are also more economical and have a smaller environmental footprint.

“The Bank’s goal is to maintain Canadians’ confidence in our money as a secure means of payment,” said Governor Carney after the unveiling ceremony. “This new $20 note fits the bill.”

The front of the polymer $20 features a new portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II, who is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee this year. The back of the note pays tribute to the contributions and sacrifices of Canadian men and women in all military conflicts, and features the Canadian National Vimy Memorial – an iconic monument located in Vimy, France that commemorates the Battle of Vimy Ridge and honours those who fought and gave their lives in the First World War in France and have no known grave.

On 9 April 1917, all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force united for the first time to take Vimy Ridge in France – a strategically important position that had eluded previous attempts by allied forces between 1914 and 1916.

“The Canadian Corps’ victory at Vimy is often described as Canada’s ‘coming of age’ as a nation,” said Minister Flaherty, “This third note in the Frontier series commemorates the combination of technical innovation, tactical planning and meticulous execution with which Canada breached more than just a military frontier at Vimy Ridge.”

“The Bank is proud to memorialize this pivotal moment in Canadian history and to feature the inspiring Canadian National Vimy Memorial on the new $20 bank note,” said Governor Carney.

The $20 bill, which accounts for over 50 per cent of all bank notes in circulation and is the main note dispensed by automated banking machines (ABMs), will begin circulating in November of this year. To prepare for the new notes, the Bank is working closely with financial institutions and manufacturers of bank note equipment to ensure a smooth transition to polymer. The Bank is also providing authentication training and support materials to law enforcement officers and to cash handlers in retail and financial institutions.

The remaining bank notes in the series – the $5 and $10 – will be issued by the end of 2013. The specific designs and detailed images of these notes will not be released until their official unveiling dates.

The themes of all the polymer denominations are:

$100 Medical Innovation – celebrates Canadian innovations in the field of medicine (Portrait: Sir Robert Borden)

$50 CCGS Amundsen, Research Icebreaker – reflects Canada’s commitment to Arctic research and the development and protection of northern communities (Portrait: William Lyon Mackenzie King)

$20 The Canadian National Vimy Memorial – evokes the contributions and sacrifices of Canadian men and women in military conflicts throughout our history. (Portrait: HM Queen Elizabeth II)

$10 The Canadian train—represents Canada’s great technical feat of linking its eastern and western frontiers by what was, at the time, the longest railway ever built. (Portrait: Sir John A. Macdonald)

$5 Canadarm2 and Dextre—symbolizes Canada’s continuing contribution to the international space program through robotics innovation. (Portrait: Sir Wilfrid Laurier)

More information on the new polymer bank note series can be obtained by contacting Jeremy Harrison at 613 782-8782 or

Content Type(s): Press, Press releases
Topic(s): Bank notes