New Issue: Bank of Canada unveils fourth-ever commemorative banknote in celebration of Canada 150

A $10 commemorative banknote celebrating the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation was unveiled by the Bank of Canada today in Ottawa.

The new note was revealed by bank Governor Stephen Poloz and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance Ginette Petitpas Taylor during a ceremony at the bank’s headquarters at 245 Sparks St. in Ottawa. The note—only the fourth commemorative banknote in the bank’s 83-year history—will enter into circulation on June 1.

“This bank note is intended to captivate our imagination and instil pride in what we, as a nation, have accomplished,” said Poloz, who added the note showcases Canadian history, land and culture. “It celebrates the natural beauty and majesty of our land and some of the important parliamentarians who helped shape our great country.”

According to the bank, this latest issue is unique in many ways. For the first time, four individuals are portrayed on the front of a Canadian bank note: Sir John A. MacdonaldSir George-Étienne CartierAgnes Macphail; and James Gladstone or Akay-na-muka, his Blackfoot name. With Parliament’s Hall of Honour in the background, these four parliamentarians remind us Canada has been shaped by the vision, courage and effort of people of different backgrounds.

The note’s reverse (shown) depicts five different landscapes representing Canada’s various regions.

Upon circulation, the commemorative note will mark the first time a Canadian woman and an Indigenous Canadian are depicted as portrait subjects on a Bank of Canada note. The design also incorporates Inuit and Metis cultural elements: a colourful reproduction of the artwork Owl’s Bouquet by world-renowned Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak; and the distinctive arrow sash pattern, an important symbol of the Métis nation.

The Canada 150 note also showcases Canada’s natural beauty on its reverse. The five different landscapes representing the various regions of Canada include the Lions/Twin Sisters in Western Canada; a wheat field in Prairie provinces; the Canadian Shield in Central Canada; Cape Bonavista in Eastern Canada; and the Northern lights in Northern Canada.


“Canada’s diversity is our greatest strength,” said Petitpas Taylor. “As we celebrate Canada 150 we are reminded of what makes us who we are—from our shared history, to our cultures and languages to the breathtaking natural beauty that is instantly recognized around the world. On behalf of the Government of Canada I thank Governor Poloz and the Bank of Canada for their contribution to this truly national celebration.”

The commemorative $10 note also has new security features, including a colour-shifting arch depicting an arch found in the Memorial Chamber on Parliament Hill as well as three-dimensional maple leaves.

A comprehensive consultation process was undertaken by the bank to ensure the new commemorative note reflects the input of Canadians. The ideas and suggestions received through public opinion research, consultation and focus groups influenced the note’s content and were incorporated into the design.

The bank is expected to issue 40 million of the new $10 commemorative notes starting June 1. The goal is to have the notes widely circulated by Canada Day.


Starting in June, the bank will issue 40 million of these commemorative notes and distribute them through financial institutions to be broadly available across Canada by July 1.

The Canada 150 note will circulate alongside the current Polymer series $10 note but does not replace it. Both the current $10 note and the commemorative $10 note are of equal value and can be used interchangeably in transactions.

As announced in December, human rights and freedoms icon Viola Desmond will be featured on a new $10 note, which will mark another historic first: Desmond will become the first Canadian woman to be featured on a regularly circulating Bank of Canada bank note, expected in late 2018.

This was the first commemorative banknote issued by the Bank of Canada. It honoured King George V’s Silver Jubilee.


Since its inception, the Bank of Canada has only issued three commemorative banknotes—one on Sept. 9, 2015, when the Queen became the longest-reigning sovereign in Canada’s modern era; one in 1967 to honour the 100th anniversary of Confederation; and another, the first, in 1935 to mark the Silver Jubilee of King George V.

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