The Canada 150 bank note is issued!
The public reveal of our new Canada 150 bank note design (we call it the C150), with its various ceremonies and crowd of dignitaries, was a pretty big deal (see the blog). The media event surrounding the same note’s release into circulation, (or “issue” as we like to call it) was, by contrast, a much quieter affair. Such things usually are. (No astronauts were involved—see the issue of the Polymer $5)
In a modern twist, Governor Stephen S. Poloz took a “selfie” while holding a C150 note before meeting up with the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor for the main photo‑op. Petitpas Taylor is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and was representing the Honourable Bill Morneau at the event.
It was a two-part photo-op: the Governor and Petitpas Taylor posed across the street from the Bank holding notes and then walked the two blocks to a gift shop on Sparks Street to place those notes into circulation. The only slight drama arose from the weather. Not only did the wind play havoc with our subjects’ hair, but clouds kept passing over the sun, making the photographers sweat a bit as they coped with the constantly changing light. But Governor Poloz and Petitpas Taylor nevertheless braved the gusts, posing cheerfully with their new C150 bank notes.
There then followed the curious spectacle of a gaggle of media hurriedly lugging all their gear down Sparks Street and cramming themselves around the cash desk of a nearby gift shop. Mr. Poloz strolled in and bought some maple candy and Ms. Petitpas Taylor chose some soap. Both paid with crispy, new C150 notes, of course. When the dignitaries left, cameras crowded around the sales desk, while their owners made the clerk (who was a good sport about it) repeatedly take the bill out of the register and put it back again.
In my last blog about this note, I spoke about the portraits. Now, as promised, I’ll chat about the more than a dozen other visual elements on the back and front. From the public consultations that informed the design, it was clear that Canadians’ identification with the landscape remains very strong. Back in 1954, the Bank’s Canadian Landscape series of notes promoted Canadian identity through its regional landscapes, featuring big vignettes that beautifully captured a broad snapshot of our vast country. Mind you, the designers had eight notes to work with.
The C150 design team didn’t have the luxury of such a vast canvas and was challenged to represent Canada’s wildly diverse regions on the back of just one note. The resulting note’s five gorgeous landscapes manage to elegantly showcase almost all geological regions of Canada. We’re just that much more efficient these days.
Apparently not satisfied with the four portraits on the front and five landscapes on the back of the bill, the C150 team included another ten visual elements to further represent Canada’s culture, history and land—and further frustrate counterfeiters, of course. These elements are applied via a number of security printing methods employed by the Canadian Bank Note Company. Vignettes such as the arrow sash patterns at the top and bottom or the Hall of Honour are lithographic prints, while the features such as those in and around the large transparent window are printed using metallic, colour-shifting inks. These inks change colour when you tilt the bill and make the maple leaves at the bottom of the window appear to be three dimensional. Good old-fashioned intaglio printing originating from steel engravings was used for the portraits and landscapes, recognizable by lightly brushing your fingertips across their raised surfaces.
In fact, so rich in detail is this note that you really ought to see it up close on the Bank of Canada’s website. There you’ll find a beautiful, fun and fascinating webpage with an interactive note you can flip over and inspect. You will also find background information on all the imagery along with a couple of really slick videos.
Better still, pick up a C150 note for yourself at your friendly, neighbourhood financial institution. If, like some of us, you are planning to keep the note, get two so you can spend one. It is money, after all, and it won’t commemorate anything while stored in your sock drawer.
Everyone loves getting presents, and we’re no exception. We recently received a very exciting donation of 50 silver coins. The collection was purchased in Lima, Peru, at an estate sale in the 1950s.
Our little team from the Museum stood in the education space of the Sherbrooke Nature and Science Museum on a chill November morning while the exhibition technicians assembled our finished exhibition. Yes, finished.
You could work in the exhibition-fabrication business all your life and still run into things you wouldn’t expect: a never-ending series of “uh-ohs.” It’s one of the things that makes the job so interesting and demands a high level of creative problem-solving skills…
What do you think of when you think of money? Is it coins? Is it bank notes? Three-hundred years ago people weren’t sure bank notes were really money; it took a long time for them to get used to the idea.
The show… is an ideal opportunity for the Bank of Canada Museum to share a part of the National Currency Collection with Canadians. This year, we decided to tell the story of Canada’s phantom banks and the financial crisis of 1837.
On this trip, we were all excited to see the 8-foot-tall wooden panels with the full copy printed directly onto them. Using a new process, staff of the exhibition fabrication department at the Sherbrooke Nature and Science Museum have produced some very impressive results.
An exhibition fabrication company was finally selected by the Museum to produce the upcoming “Voices from the Engraver” travelling exhibition. It’s all very exciting.
The recent additions to the National Currency Collection described below are from very different parts of the world and are between 1500 and 2500 years old.
The commemorative 1951 5 cent piece was issued to mark the 200th anniversary of the naming of nickel and its isolation as an element. Recently, I had the great pleasure to participate in the Big Nickel anniversary festivities and give a talk about the design competition for the 1951 5 cent coin.
This is not the time for ‘nay sayers’. Basically, we planned a luxury car knowing that when all was said and done, it was going to be a very nice family sedan (maybe with the big engine?).
Now the writer takes a deep breath and attempts to take a subject like the ‘representation of 75 years of national identity as depicted on stamps and bank notes’ from 50 pages of research and squash it into 65 words.
For much of their history, Canadian bank notes have represented a promise, a guarantee that they could be redeemed for “specie” (gold and silver coins) at their parent institution.
Suppose you walk into a bar frequented by currency collectors and in an attempt to join in you refer to a ‘planchette’ as a ‘rosette’ (beer mugs hit the tables and the pianist stops playing). This could be pretty humiliating and you’ll probably never be able to go to that bar again, at least not on numismatic night.
Now that you have a grasp of preservation techniques for coins, you might want to familiarize yourself with the finer points of their anatomy. It is all part of your numismatic education and besides, you need to be informed and sound informed when you are buying coins at flea markets or coin fairs.
Though naturally we are aware that the former Museum space is being gutted, the reality of seeing it empty is still pretty strange for most of us here. In the last blog of this series we showed you the empty cafeteria space that will become the new Museum, as well as some images of the old Museum as it was at the time: stuffed with odds and ends of exhibit cases, the occasional display still on the walls.