As many of our Canadian noders have undoubtedly noticed, our 5 and 10 dollar bills are different. The basic colours and people are the same, but the layout has changed; the Prime Ministers (Laurier on the $5 and Macdonald on the $10) are now on the left side of the bill, the small images from Canada's Parliament are now large on the front of the bill, and on the back, rather than showing famous birds they now show scenes from Canadian life called the "Canadian Journey". The bills will be set up like this, and distributed over the next three years:

  • $5: Children at Play (released March 27 2002)
  • $10: Remembrance and Peacekeeping (released January 17 2001)
  • $20: Arts and Culture (to be released)
  • $50: Nation Building (to be released)
  • $100: Exploring and Innovating (to be released)

Many of you may be wondering why the government released these new bills. Well, this has more to do with protocol than aesthetics - every 15 or so years, the government releases a new set of bills, to keep ahead of the counterfeiters and to improve security measures. As you may remember, in 1990 $20, $50 and $100 bills were re-introduced carrying a small reflective square in the top left hand corner, which made it extremely hard to counterfeit. However, large counterfeit rings involving $5 and $10 denominations were discovered, which is why the $10 was the first bill of the new series to be introduced.

As well, our disabled-conscious government also updates the bills to be more accessible to the blind. There are now a certain number of raised dots per denomination on the backs of the bills, making it easier for the blind to distinguish between notes.

Note: I'll update this writeup as more bills are released

Security Features

The Canadian Government is really getting tough on counterfeiting. The following are just some of the security features these souped-up bills have:

  • Raised ink in 4 places - the Coat of Arms, the bill's denomination, the Bank of Canada/Banque du Canada title, and the face of the Prime Minister
  • The images of the 3 maple leaves (in the right-center of the bill) are iridescent and appear pale and matte, unless you tilt the bill, then they will change to a reflective gold colour
  • Hidden image of the bill's denomination, only visible when held at a 45-degree angle in the dark strip at the lower left
  • An image of the Canadian Coat of Arms, the words Bank of Canada, Banque du Canada and the denomination of the bill will appear superimposed vertically in a band over the face of the Prime Minister when viewed under ultraviolet light
  • New, thicker paper (which is actually 100% cotton)


Our literary-minded noders will also appreciate the bills, for each one contains a few verses of poetry from Canadian authors. On the $10, commemorating Remembrance and Peacekeeping, is the first verse of In Flander's Fields by John McRae:

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below

And on the $5, commemorating Children at Play, is some light-hearted verse from The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier:

The winters of my childhood were long long seasons
We live in three places:
The school, the church and the skating rink
But our real life was on the skating rink

Overall, I like the different design. Some people say that John. A. Macdonald's nose looks a little big, but I don't really care. I think the money looks much sharper than the old, and is more reflective of what Canada really is. My only qualm is that most change or vending machines don't accept the new bills, which means you're just going to have to wait to get your caffeine free mountain dew.


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