Nominations for face of new $5 due by March 11

The public consultation to choose an iconic Canadian to be the next face of Canada’s $5 banknote is nearing its first deadline.

Launched by the Bank of Canada in late January, the initial nomination period will come to an end on March 11.

“This open call for nominations is another great opportunity to highlight the many stories of heroes, sometimes unsung ones, who have helped shape the Canada we live in today,” said Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, whose first seven-year term at the helm of the central bank will expire in June.

“I hope this process sparks conversations and encourages us all to learn more about our great country and its remarkable people.”

Canadians can submit nominations by using the Bank of Canada’s submission form.

Nominees must:

  • be a Canadian by birth or naturalization who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, achievement or distinction in any field, benefiting the people of Canada or in the service of Canada;
  • have been deceased for at least 25 years (before March 11, 1995); and
  • not be a fictional character.

Up to five names can be submitted on each submission form. Participants can return to the form to submit more names if they so choose. Participants are also invited to suggest images and symbols they associate with their nominees.

To view some of the hundreds of nominations submitted in the past month, click here.

An independent advisory council composed of eminent people from academia, the cultural sector and civil society will review all nominations who meet the criteria outlined above. With the support of historical and public opinion research, the advisory council will develop a shortlist of candidates for submission to the finance minister, who will announce his decision on the portrait subject of the new $5 banknote later this year.

The Bank of Canada will then begin the design process for the new banknote.

The call for nominations is similar to the bank’s 2016 campaign that resulted in the selection of Black rights activist Viola Desmond as the portrait subject of the vertical $10 banknote, which won the Bank Note of the Year Award from the International Bank Note Society.

Like the $10 note, the new $5 note will also have a vertical design. It’s expected to take three to four years to finalize the design and then produce and issue the new note.

Canada’s first francophone prime minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier is the current face of the country’s $5 banknote but will move to a higher denomination once the new bill is redesigned.


Canada’s first francophone prime minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier is the current face of the country’s $5 bill.

Other than the redesigned $10 note issued in November 2018, the remaining notes ($20, $50 and $100) from the bank’s as-of-yet-unnamed eighth series will follow every two or three years.

While Laurier will be honoured on one of these higher-value denominations when they’re redesigned, other faces – like those of William Lyon Mackenzie King and Sir Robert Borden – will no longer be portrayed on Canadian banknotes.

The $20 bill will continue to feature the reigning monarch.

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