Issue of 1937 $1,000 bills delayed for years

On today’s date in 1919, former Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier — the first Francophone to hold the position and the longest-tenured MP in Canadian history — died of a stroke at the age of 77.

Laurier was featured on both the 1935 Series and 1937 Series $1,000 banknotes, issued March 1935 and January 1952, respectively. The ’35 Series first circulated on Mar. 11 (the same day the Bank of Canada officially opened) with an olive-coloured security allegory on the back side. The ’37 Series began circulating in July 1937, after which the ’35 Series was gradually removed from circulation.

The $1,000 banknote, however, wasn’t issued until several years later due to the sufficient supply of ’35 Series $1,000 notes. The ’37 Series had rose-pink colouring and a security allegory on the back side. Laurier’s portrait, which was a Gunn engraving of the French prime minister wearing a Prince Albert coat, and the allegory, which was previously used on a 1917 issue of Russian bonds, remained the same for both series.

First elected to the House of Commons in 1874, Laurier spent 45 uninterrupted years in Parliament, serving as prime minister between 1896 and 1911 before returning to the House as an MP until his death on Feb. 17, 1919.

Laurier is also depicted on the 1972 and 1979 Scenes of Canada Series, the 1986 Birds of Canada Series, the 2002 Journey Series and the 2011 Frontier Series $5 banknotes.


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