Of Kings and Queens and Common Folk: Karsh at the Bank of Canada

12 June 2009 - 10 January 2010

This exhibit provided a glimpse into the early Bank of Canada through the lens of a master.

His portraits of everyone from Churchill to Einstein are legend. World-renowned photographer Yousuf Karsh was a Canadian artist of the first order, whose body of work has long since become part of our national heritage. Many of us are familiar with his portrait of the young Queen Elizabeth II used for the 1954 series of Canadian bank notes, but that image represented only part of his collaboration with the country’s central bank. For a limited time, the Museum proudly displayed a series of Karsh photographs documenting the early years of the Bank of Canada. Visitors were urged not to miss their chance to peer into this window on Canada’s history and view this very special selection of the master’s works. Included in the collection were impressive portraits of the first Governors of the Bank of Canada and lesser known but fascinating images of the work done by the Bank in its formative years.

Photo Gallery

Portrait of a man

This exhibition was part of the Karsh Festival—an event supplementing a large exhibition by the Portrait Gallery of Canada with the Canada Science and Technology Museum in 2009.

Woman and bank notes

A woman inspects $10 notes at the Bank of Canada during the Second World War.

Women working

Women un-bundling soiled and damaged bank notes.

Woman and man

Entering the Banking Room at the Bank’s head office where the public could cash cheques and redeem bonds.

Portrait of a man

A signed Karsh portrait of Graham Towers, the Bank of Canada’s first Governor.

Portrait of a man

James Coyne, the second Governor of the Bank of Canada.

30 Bank Street
Ottawa, ON