The first $20 note in the series was issued in June 1970 and was printed by both Canadian Bank Note Company Ltd. and British American Bank Note Company. The face features the Gunderson engraving of the Queen.

In 1979, the $20 note was reissued with the serial numbers moved to the back of the notes. The Bank took this opportunity to modify the colours of the $20 note to further differentiate it from the $1 note. A small change was also made to the motif at the centre top of the face to make the numeral more distinct.

The back shows a view of Moraine Lake in Alberta’s Valley of the Ten Peaks, based on a photo from the Canadian Pacific Railway collection. The original engraving by De La Rue was replaced with one prepared by British American Bank Note Company, because the mountains in the first did not seem authentic. The problem was attributed to the poor quality of the original photograph.