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Unveiling of Commemorative Bank Note Marking the 150th Anniversary of Canada

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We at the Bank of Canada are proud to have produced this special note commemorating Canada’s 150th anniversary. We’ve only ever produced three other such bank notes in our 82-year history, so believe me when I say this is a big deal.

Developing any bank note is a long and involved process, especially so with this one. We’ve been working on it since 2014, and more than 5,000 individual Canadians have fed into the process. We asked them if they wanted to see the past, the present or the future on the note. In true Canadian form, the answer to this question was “All three.”

The design was inspired by that input and carefully incorporates many of the ideas we heard on how to best represent the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

Isn’t it amazing how much history you can fit onto a little piece of polymer?

All of the historical elements in the note’s design show why this year calls for a big celebration!

This bank note not only reflects the pride we feel about our country and its accomplishments, it also, we hope, instills in Canadians a different kind of confidence.

The Bank is responsible for the design, production and distribution of Canada’s bank notes. And while bank notes reflect Canada’s society, culture and history, it’s also our job to ensure that they are durable and difficult to counterfeit—in short, so that Canadians can have confidence in their money.

From a design perspective, when we asked Canadians what they wanted to see, more than anything else, they said Canada’s landscapes. So if we look at the back of the note, we will see several images of Canada’s natural beauty, seamlessly woven together—from sea to sea to sea.

From left to right, we start in the west with the Lions—or the Twin Sisters, as the Squamish people know them—the peaks of the North Shore Mountains, which overlook Vancouver. In the foreground, we can see Capilano Lake.

Moving east, we come to the Prairies. We see wheat, the iconic crop of Canada’s Prairie provinces and one of the most important cultivated crops in Canada. This image reminds Canadians of the importance of the role family farms played in the expansion of our country and of the Prairies as the breadbasket of our nation.

Then the note takes us to the Canadian Shield, that ancient mass of rock that covers roughly half of the total land area of Canada. This is a view that many Ottawans may find familiar: forest, rock and water, minus the blackflies. The image used on this bank note is inspired by a photograph taken at the soon-to-be-created parc national d’Opémican in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of Quebec. The Kipawa River pictured here flows out of the park and into the Ottawa River. Those waters eventually run past our doorsteps here and down to Montréal, where they merge with the St. Lawrence.

Moving right, we go to the east coast of Canada and an image of Cape Bonavista in Newfoundland and Labrador. This may very well have been the view that John Cabot saw when he landed in 1497.

Above these images of Canada, we see the northern lights as they would appear if we were in Wood Buffalo National Park, home to the world’s largest dark-sky preserve.

Now some of you may be old enough to remember the Centennial bank note produced by the Bank of Canada in 1967. Many people still have some of them tucked away.

I know I will be keeping one of these new notes. We have produced 40 million of them, just more than enough for every Canadian. They will be available as of June 1st.

As all of you celebrate Canada’s big birthday this year, I encourage you to take a close look at this special note. It will be a little piece of history. I hope this bank note captivates your imagination and instills pride in who we are and how far we have come as a nation. It celebrates our land, our history and our culture.

It’s a bank note that reminds us of how much we have to celebrate as Canadians.

Thank you. Merci beaucoup.

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.)