On today’s date in 1935, following severe drought and a worldwide economic slump, the Bank of Canada opened its doors to the public for the first time ever.
And on that same day, the newly established bank issued its first-ever series of banknotes – the 1935 Series – which included $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $25, $50, $100, $500 and $1,000 banknotes. All but the $25 banknote began circulating on March 11. All the notes contained the words “Ottawa, Issue of 1935” atop the obverse, excluding the $20 note, which has the words below the serial number. The 1935 Series is the only Bank of Canada series with $25 and $500 notes (with the $500 being inspired by past Dominion of Canada notes). It’s also the only series carrying the official seal of the Bank of Canada.
The Canadian Bank Note Company and the British American Bank Note Company, both of which designed and printed the preceding Dominion of Canada banknotes, created the designs for the 1935 Series. The front designs featured portraits of various members of the Royal Family as well as former Canadian prime ministers. On the backs of the notes were allegorical figures symbolizing Canada’s growth and prosperity.
The security features included raised ink, which was thick and easily felt on both sides, intricate fine-line patterns and small green planchettes scattered randomly in the paper.
After releasing the 1937 Series in June 1937, the Bank of Canada began gradually removing the 1935 Series banknotes from circulation.