The Australians have been doing it since 1988 and now there are 2 dozen countries who print their money on a substrate called polypropylene. One of those countries is Canada. The substrate of money has always been a security feature like any other: if you use highly unusual or extremely expensive material, the counterfeiters can’t easily copy it. Often it was paper of a highly customized content but Canada’s new polymer material is also such a product.

Polymer offers a whole new range of security and design opportunities. Transparency allows for the micro-printing of numbers and shapes only visible in certain lighting conditions and the holographic foils blend elegantly with the shiny surfaces of ‘windows’ of un-printed polymer. To a counterfeiter, the new notes are a mine field of security features that build upon all of the previous series’ innovations. Another of polymer’s advantages is its durability. It will last two and a half times longer than a paper note, withstand enormous instances of folding and resists the soiling of daily handling.

But what of the image content? This series is concerned with technical innovation and achievement. Our trans-continental railroad, the Canadarm, arctic research, medical science and military sacrifice are aspects of Canadian identity only partially explored on notes in the past. There are no fixed themes apart from colour and the portraits, so next time it will be a whole new take on Canada.