A Nation's Calling Card

What is on its bank notes most often reflects how a nation perceives itself or wants to be perceived. But for Canada, this vision never sits still, and its ever-evolving images are as much a reflection of our times as they are of Canada and Canadians. From natural resources to our magnificent landscapes and from British royalty to Canadian achievers, follow more than 80 years of our official identity as seen on the rich and colourful images of every series of Bank of Canada notes.

Photo Gallery

museum exhibition window of bank notes

Establishing the theme took less than a half-dozen notes—an indication of Canada’s quickly-evolving identity.

a series of 10-dollar bills in an exhibition

The timeline of bank notes was all ten-dollar bills. It was the denomination of Canada’s newest and most unusual bank note as well as the most recent commemorative note.

old-fashioned Canadian bank notes

These notes were designed by the printing companies themselves, displaying century-old design traditions.

bank note engravings and photographs

The background “wallpaper” was a collage of images from bank notes and pictures that inspired those images.

illustration of a bird of prey

This osprey was from the very popular Bird Series of notes printed in the mid-80s.

the new vertical note featuring Viola Desmond

The astonishing evolution from the Bank of Canada’s first to its current bank notes has taken place in only one lifetime.

30 Bank Street
Ottawa, ON