Canada 150 note offers new technology

By Serge Pelletier

The Bank of Canada revealed the designs of the Canada 150 commemorative note on April 7, 2017, in a ceremony that was extremely respectful of Canada’s First Nations.

Indeed, the note’s designs depict Canada’s history, land, and culture to reflect the contributions of people of different nations to make Canada what it is today.

After the ceremony, subject matter experts were present to share their pride in bringing this unique banknote to Canadians.

Martine Warren, banknote design specialist of the currency department, spoke of the many anti-counterfeiting elements that are making this note, “even more secure than the notes of the current Frontiers series.”

They are particularly proud of the colour-shifting arch in the upper left corner of the face of the note. There is a checkered pattern in the arch that moves up and down, as you tilt the note, and changes colour from green to blue. “It is not a hologram,” says Warren, “it is a printed element that was realized thanks to the property of the ink.” The pigments of the ink can be controlled using a magnet. A magnet was used during the printing and the drying of the note, to ensure the pigments remained properly aligned.

The notes were printed using the intaglio technique to ensure that there would be raised elements of the design, which are another one of the anti-counterfeiting elements. “We’ve always used raised ink on the front of the note, but we also used it on the back this time,” said Warren.

The last new anti-counterfeiting element is the three maple leaves at the bottom of the window. “They appear to be three-dimensional [in relief], but when you touch them you confirm that the surface of the note is actually flat,” concluded Warren.

Boyd Laanstra, senior analyst, visual content, also of the currency department, stood at another table. “The note was designed by all Canadians as we took all the comments received during the design process,” said Laanstra. He was the orchestra conductor of the design, “My job was to translate all comments received, convert them into visual components, and bring all of them together before giving this to the designers,” concluded Laanstra.

Banknote collectors will quickly notice something unusual about the serial numbers. “The serial numbers are a bit special,” said Warren.

Indeed, the prefixes range from CDA and CDF, letters that would not normally be used on 10-dollar notes. “We absolutely wanted to use CDA on these notes,” Warren said.

Forty million notes were printed—one for every Canadian. They will be available from banks on June 1.

For more information, visit the special Canada 150 banknote page on the Bank of Canada’s website.

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