The expansion of the railway in the 1880s was hailed as a remarkable feat of engineering for a young country with a varied and often treacherous terrain. At the time, the railway was the longest ever built, and its completion demonstrated Canada’s pioneering spirit by linking our eastern and western frontiers, connecting people, and facilitating the exchange of goods. Today, The Canadian train, winding its way through the Rockies showcases Canada’s natural beauty and symbolizes what we accomplished as a young nation.
Feel the raised ink
Since 1971, all Canadian $10 notes have featured the portrait of the Dominion of Canada’s first Prime Minister and one of the Fathers of Confederation, Sir John A. Macdonald. In this instance, his presence on a railway-themed note is particularly apt. The transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway was one of the major national projects of Macdonald's governments. The completion of the railway in November 1885 was a vital contribution to the colonization of the West.
The smaller metallic portrait of Macdonald in the large window was colourized for adaptation as a holographic feature.
Look at the metallic building. Tilt to see it change colour. Flip to see it on the other side
The building illustrated in the large window of the $10 note represents one of Canada’s most storied structures: the Library of Parliament. The oldest part of the Centre Block, the library is all that remains of the original 1860s structure that was destroyed by fire in February 1916. The library was saved by its iron doors, the narrow corridor that linked it to the first Centre Block, the direction of the wind and the efforts of firefighters on that cold winter night.
The Canadian train featured on the $10 note symbolizes the engineering feat of linking Canada by rail. In 1871, British Columbia agreed to join Confederation on the condition that the federal government build a railway to link the new province with the East (Manitoba was the province’s closest neighbour). Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, kept that promise, and the resulting rail expansion is one of his great legacies.
At present, The Canadian train still connects us. Its route showcases the country’s geographic diversity, from Toronto, our largest city, to the Pacific coast, and allows both Canadians and visitors to experience the breadth of our country from the unique perspective of a railcar.
The Canadian Rockies
Located in Jasper National Park, the mountains featured on the $10 note showcase the grandeur of the Canadian Rockies. On the left are the shoulder of Lectern Peak and Aquila Mountain; in the centre are Redan, Esplanade and Gargoyle mountains; and on the right is Mount Zengel, part of the Victoria Cross Ranges. Rather than feature only one mountain range, a variety was selected to highlight the diverse and majestic nature of the Rockies.
Canada’s passenger rail network
The map shows VIA Rail’s network of passenger rail routes and symbolizes the linking of our vast nation. Although the map was simplified for the bank note, this is a faithful rendering of the rail network. More than 125 years after the last spike was driven at Craigellachie, British Columbia, VIA Rail takes passengers to small and large communities alike.
The Bank of Canada is marking the 150th anniversary of Confederation by issuing a commemorative $10 bank note in 2017. This unique note celebrates our history, land and culture. This is only the fourth commemorative bank note issued by the Bank in its 80-year history. Learn more about this special note.
Additional security features
Feel the raised ink on the large number.
Look at the frosted maple leaf window to see its transparent outline.
Feel the raised ink on the words "Bank of Canada" and "Banque du Canada."
Look at the numbers that match the note’s value and at the word "Canada" that feels slightly raised.
Look at the metallic portrait, it matches the large portrait. Tilt to see it change colour. Flip to see it on the other side.
Look for maple leaves that border and cross into the large window.
Bank note specifics
- Portrait: Sir John A. Macdonald, Prime Minister, 1867-1873 and 1878-1891
- Building: The Library of Parliament
- Signatures: Left - T. Macklem, Right - M.J. Carney / Left - T. Macklem, Right - Stephen S. Poloz / Left - Carolyn A. Wilkins, Right - Stephen S. Poloz
- Size: 152.4 x 69.85 mm (6.0 x 2.75 inches)
- Issue date: 7 November 2013
- Theme: The Canadian train