The Bank of Canada Museum Goes International

By: Ken Ross


Unveiling the Bank of Canada Museum to the World

Well, to a chunk of it anyway. Every year the conference of the International Federation of Finance Museums (IFFM) draws museum directors from five continents to a get-together aimed at sharing best-practices and keeping up with the latest trends in the world of financial museums. Many of the delegates had been following our progress at the Bank of Canada Museum over the past four years, and there was a level of anticipation this year, because they knew I was going to talk to them about our opening and our experience to date.

This year was the Bank’s first opportunity to attend the conference with a museum in fully-operational mode back home, something which gave me the opportunity to step onto the stage as a featured speaker, offering the Bank’s perspective on what our teams accomplished. The presentation was met with enthusiastic interest.

Ken Ross unveiled the Bank of Canada Museum to the World at the International Federation of Finance Museums.

From Paris to Mexico City; Museum Directors Need to Know

Philippe Gineste, Director of CitéCo (Cité de l’Économie et de la Monnaie) in Paris, set to open in 2019, took me aside early on to ask me about the pitfalls and opportunities the Bank of Canada had faced putting together our Museum. His interest was more than passing; his team at CitéCo is gearing up for a full year of trying to get all the myriad things they need done, done. He was happy to know we would offer the benefit of our experience whenever he wanted.

Philip List, Director of the host museum Erste Financial Life Park in Vienna, was happy to compare notes, given that he had just completed a similar museum earlier this year.

Silvia Singer, CEO of the Museo Interactivo de Economía in Mexico City, one of the early inspirations for the new Bank of Canada Museum, told me enthusiastically that she was planning to get to Ottawa as soon as possible to see for herself.

Philip List, Director Erste Financial Life Park, Vienna Austria

Philip List, Director Erste Financial Life Park, Vienna Austria.

Silvia Singer, CEO of the Museo Interactivo de Economía (MIDE) in Mexico City

Silvia Singer, CEO of the Museo Interactivo de Economía (MIDE) in Mexico City. The MIDE provided a great deal of inspiration for the Bank of Canada Museum.

A Conference About Museums’ Place in Economic and Financial Literacy

For the past four years now, the Bank of Canada Museum has been a member of the IFFM, an organization promoting the work of financial and central bank museums from North, Central and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. The October conference featured numerous presentations and workshops covering different aspects of the members’ work, as well as some lively debates on the state of financial and economic literacy in the world.

I was able to participate in a number of workshops with a variety of international colleagues.

I was able to participate in a number of workshops with a variety of international colleagues.

IFFM workshop on economic literacy and gender issues.

IFFM workshop on economic literacy and gender issues.


I was proud to be able to present the new Bank of Canada Museum to museum directors from around the world.

I was proud to be able to present the new Bank of Canada Museum to museum directors from around the world.

The IFFM draws delegates from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.

The IFFM draws delegates from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.



IAnnamaria Lusardi, Academic Director of Global Financial Literacy Centre, Washington DC.

Annamaria Lusardi, Academic Director of Global Financial Literacy Centre, Washington DC.

One of the joys of this conference is catching up with colleagues; here I am with Jakub Kunert of the Czech National Bank.

One of the joys of this conference is catching up with colleagues; here I am with Jakub Kunert of the Czech National Bank.


Content Type(s): Blog

The Museum Blog

September 28, 2015 Unpacking the Collection 3

By: David Bergeron


Carousel - Unpacking the Collection 3
Before banks were established in remote regions of Canada, paying employees involved shipping currency long distances into wild and often lawless locations. The alternative to this risky enterprise was for the company to issue its own money. Called scrip…
Content Type(s): Blog

September 15, 2015 The 2015 Commemorative $20 Bank Note Revealed

By: Graham Iddon


2015 commemorative $20 bill
It’s a historic day for us as well. It isn’t every day that the Bank of Canada introduces a new commemorative note.
Content Type(s): Blog

September 1, 2015 Inside Out Animals

By: Graham Iddon


Carousel - Inside Out Animals
In fact, any hint of revulsion was immediately displaced by astonishment. To see the inner workings of an animal exposed in such clarity is an experience one should seek out.
Content Type(s): Blog

August 19, 2015 Unpacking the Collection 2

By: David Bergeron


Carousel - Unpacking the Collection 2
During 1952, Comfort produced a number of pencil and watercolour design models for the face of the new notes. Some were updates of the traditional style while others were radically modern treatments.
Content Type(s): Blog

August 5, 2015 Swindle! Canadian Phantom Banks

By: Graham Iddon


Carousel - Swindle Exhibition
In exchange for pizza and a day out of the office, several Bank employees were persuaded to dress up in period costumes and re-enact three key moments from the history of this shady “bank”.
Content Type(s): Blog

July 21, 2015 Unpacking the Collection 1

By: David Bergeron


Carousel - Unpacking the Collection 1
In the mid 60s, high denomination notes were in such low circulation that Bank of Canada Governor Louis Rasminsky and the Minister of Finance discussed the possibility of actually dropping the denomination altogether.
Content Type(s): Blog

July 6, 2015 The Travelling Translator II

By: Myriam Legault-Beauregard


Carousel - Belgium
Also in Brussels is the National Bank of Belgium, which, just like our own central bank, is undergoing some renovations at the moment. However, I could still visit their temporary (and free) museum.
Content Type(s): Blog

June 23, 2015 New Acquisitions

By: Paul S. Berry


New Acquisitions / Nouvelles acquisitions
The Canadian financial system of today is diverse… A little known but once prolific system member was loan and building societies. These firms made loans for the construction or purchase of property against mortgages as collateral.
Content Type(s): Blog

June 10, 2015 The Travelling Translator 1

By: Myriam Legault-Beauregard


Carousel - The Travelling Translator 1
One of the things of which Paris doesn’t lack is museums. Whether you like fashion, music, history, literature, science, arts or tennis, you will find something that suits your tastes. The City of Paris alone owns 14 of them and access to their permanent collections is free in most cases.
Content Type(s): Blog

June 2, 2015 Rebellion at the Museum

By: Graham Iddon


Exhibition titles and entrance / Affiche et entrée de l’exposition
For a little inspiration and a sense of compatibility, we took a field trip to see 1867 Rebellion and Confederation at the Canadian Museum of History.
Content Type(s): Blog