Surprise, It’s Money! is an interactive, hands-on exploration of unusual objects that were once used as money. This workshop is suited for grades 3 to 8 or Elementary Cycle Two to Secondary II.

This short, 15-minute workshop is the perfect add-on to a guided tour of the Bank of Canada Museum. Students will touch, examine and learn about a variety of currencies from Canada and the world. Using the inquiry method, students will learn the principles of currency and why we use bank notes today.

Big idea

Throughout the world, currencies have changed over time to respond to people’s concerns about security and reliability. The security features of Canadian bank notes are an example of this change.

Students will:

  1. Discuss what makes an object a currency and what makes it valuable.
  2. Identify the security features of a Canadian bank note.


15 minutes. We recommend booking a 30- to 45-minute Museum tour as well, to complete your visit.


May to September: Monday to Friday, 10:00 to 17:00, last booking at 15:00

October to April: Tuesday to Friday, 10:00 to 17:00, last booking at 15:00

All school programs are offered in English and French.


All school programs are offered free of charge.

Group size

Maximum 50 students per program.

Curriculum links


  • Social Studies
    • Grade 4:
      • A. Heritage and Identity: Early Societies to 1500 CE
    • Grade 5:
      • A. Heritage and Identity: Interactions of Indigenous Peoples and Europeans prior to 1713, in What Would Eventually Become Canada
      • Monetary Policy
    • Grade 6:
      • Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada, Past and Present
  • History
    • Grade 7:
      • New France and British North America, 1713–1800
    • Grade 8:
      • Canada, 1890–1914: A Changing Society


  • Elementary Cycles Two and Three:
    • Cross-Curricular Competency 1: To Use Information
    • Cross-Curricular Competency 3: To Exercise Critical Judgment


Book your workshop now!

or call 613-782-8914.


Is your school in the National Capital Region? If you could use a little help getting your class to the Museum, apply for our free transportation bursary. Find out more.