One of these 12 ‘iconic Canadian women’ to be featured on new banknote series

The Bank of Canada recently announced its “long list” of 12 iconic Canadian women vying to be featured on the first banknote of its forthcoming series, which is expected to enter circulation in 2018.

A statement from the bank’s advisory council and expert panel (the members of which can be found here) said nominees should have “broken or overcome barriers, be inspirational, have made a significant change and have left a lasting legacy.”

“We applied these four criteria in reviewing each of the 461 eligible unique nominations,” reads the statement. “We also developed operating principles which guided us as we finalized our first recommendation of 12 nominees. We recognize that Canada is comprised of many different communities. The women who appear on our list should resonate with Canadians and reflect the diversity of Canada. Their achievements must be seen in the context of the time they lived.”


  • Inuit artist Pitseolak Ashoona (1904-83)
  • Famed artist, writer Emily Carr (1871-1945)
  • Politician and women’s suffrage activist Thérèse Casgrain (1896-1981)
  • Racial activist Viola Desmond (1914-65)
  • Notable humanitarian Lotta Hitschmanova (1909-90)
  • Poet Pauline Johnson (1861-1913)
  • Aeronautical engineer and world’s first female aircraft designer Elizabeth MacGill (1905-80)
  • Leader of the women’s suffrage movement Nellie McClung (1873-1951)
  • Anne of Green Gables author Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942)
  • Gold medal Olympian Fanny Rosenfeld (1905-69)
  • The Tin Flute author Gabrielle Roy (1909-83)
  • Journalist and women’s suffrage activist Idola Saint-Jean (1880-1945)

The bank launched its public consultation on March 8, marking the worldwide celebration of International Women’s Day. After receiving more than 26,000 submissions, a total of 461 iconic Canadian women that met the initial qualifying criteria were submitted to the bank’s advisory council for consideration for the long list.

A short list of three to five finalists is expected in the coming months, after which Finance Minister Bill Morneau will make the final decision as per the Bank of Canada Act.

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