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Bank of Canada unveils commemorative bank note to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation

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Bank of Canada Governor Stephen S. Poloz and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance Ginette Petitpas Taylor today unveiled a commemorative $10 bank note celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation. This special note—showcasing our history, land and culture—was revealed during a ceremony at the Bank’s head office in Ottawa. It will enter into circulation on 1 June.

“This bank note is intended to captivate our imagination and instill pride in what we, as a nation, have accomplished,” said Governor Poloz. “It celebrates the natural beauty and majesty of our land and some of the important parliamentarians who helped shape our great country.”

The intricately designed note is unique in many ways. For the first time, four individuals are portrayed on the front of a Canadian bank note: Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir George-Étienne Cartier, Agnes Macphail and James Gladstone or Akay-na-muka—his Blackfoot name. With Parliament’s Hall of Honour in the background, these four parliamentarians remind us that Canada has been shaped by the vision, courage and effort of people of different backgrounds.

Upon circulation, the commemorative note will mark the first time that a Canadian woman and an Indigenous Canadian are depicted as portrait subjects on a Bank of Canada bank note. The design also incorporates Inuit and Metis cultural elements: a colourful reproduction of the artwork Owl’s Bouquet by world-renowned Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak; and the distinctive arrow sash pattern, an important symbol of the Métis nation.

“Canada’s diversity is our greatest strength,” said Ms. Petitpas Taylor. “As we celebrate Canada 150 we are reminded of what makes us who we are—from our shared history, to our cultures and languages to the breathtaking natural beauty that is instantly recognized around the world. On behalf of the Government of Canada I thank Governor Poloz and the Bank of Canada for their contribution to this truly national celebration.”

The Canada 150 note also showcases Canada’s natural beauty and unique landscapes. Five different landscapes representing the various regions of Canada are featured on the other side of the note: the Lions/Twin Sisters (Western Canada), a wheat field (Prairie provinces), the Canadian Shield (Central Canada), Cape Bonavista (Eastern Canada) and the Northern lights (Northern Canada).

The commemorative $10 note also has new security features, including a colour-shifting arch depicting an arch found in the Memorial Chamber on Parliament Hill, as well as three-dimensional maple leaves.

A comprehensive consultation process was undertaken by the Bank to ensure that this commemorative bank note reflects the input of Canadians. The ideas and suggestions received through public opinion research, consultation and focus groups influenced the note’s content and have been carefully incorporated into the design.

Starting in June, the Bank of Canada will issue 40 million of these commemorative bank notes and distribute them through financial institutions to be broadly available across Canada by 1 July.

The Canada 150 note will circulate alongside the current Polymer series $10 note, but it does not replace it. Both the current $10 note and the commemorative $10 note are of equal value and can be used interchangeably in transactions.

As announced in December, human rights and freedoms icon Viola Desmond will be featured on a new $10 note, which will mark another historic first: Desmond will become the first Canadian woman to be featured on a regularly circulating Bank of Canada bank note, expected in late 2018.

Notes to Editors:

  • Visit our website to find out more about each element featured on the $10 commemorative bank note.
  • View videos about the commemorative bank note and its security features.
  • Download photos from the Bank of Canada’s Flickr gallery.
  • Learn about the public consultation the Bank undertook to inform the visual content and design of this commemorative bank note.
  • Financial institutions will be distributing this commemorative note over the counter in branches starting 1 June 2017.
  • This is the fourth time that the Bank of Canada has issued a commemorative note. The first, issued in 1935, celebrated the Silver Jubilee of King George V; the second, issued in 1967, marked the centennial of Confederation; and the third, issued in 2015, honoured the historic reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who became the longest-reigning sovereign in Canada’s modern era.
  • Find out more about our Principles for Bank Note Design.
  • Consult the Bank of Canada’s bank notes web pages.
  • Contact Media Relations for B-roll, available upon request.
Content Type(s): Press, Press releases
Topic(s): Bank notes

Related Information

April 7, 2017

Unveil of the Canada 150 commemorative bank note - Speech (Webcasts)

Governor Stephen S. Poloz and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance Ginette Petitpas Taylor reveal a commemorative bank note that pays tribute to Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation. (10:00 (ET) approx.)