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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pretty Money

Canada is about to release a new set of polymer banknotes. Watch the video to see all the security features and the cool windows in the notes. (BTW, is there any country other than the United States that has monocolor money? Is there a reason why the USA makes every denomination of bill the same color?)

What's on these banknotes? The $100 bill depicts Sir Robert L. Borden, Prime Minister of Canada from 1911 to 1920. Here's the description of the other images fron The Bank of Canada.
# Theme: Medical Innovation

Canadians have long been at the frontiers of medical research and as a result have helped to save millions of lives worldwide. Notable Canadian contributions include pioneering the use of insulin to treat diabetes, DNA and genetic research, the invention of the pacemaker, and the first hospital-to-hospital robot-assisted surgery.

Researcher at a microscope

The image of a researcher using a microscope depicts Canada’s long-standing commitment to medical research.

DNA strand

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the genetic blueprint of life. Canadian researchers have been at the forefront of mapping our human genetic makeup in this field of medical science.


This electrocardiogram provides a visual cue to Canada’s contributions to heart health, including the invention of the pacemaker by John Hopps in 1950.


The discovery of insulin to treat diabetes was made by Canadian researchers Frederick Banting and Charles Best in 1921.
It's nice that Canada is celebrating science.

The $50 dollar bill has a picture of William Lyon Mackenzie King who was Prime Minister from 1921–30 and from 1935–48. The other side has ...
# Theme: CCGS Amundsen, Research Icebreaker

The vastness and splendour of Canada’s northern frontier have helped to shape our cultural identity. The icebreaker plays an important role in the North, keeping Canada’s historic passages open, undertaking marine search and rescue, supporting isolated communities, and participating in international environmental research. The CCGS Amundsen helps Canada—the nation with the world’s longest stretch of Arctic coastline—to remain at the leading edge of Arctic research, providing the world’s oceanographers, geologists and ecologists with unparalleled access to the North.

CCGS Amundsen, Research Icebreaker

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Amundsen became a research icebreaker in 2003. It is jointly operated by ArcticNet and the Canadian Coast Guard.

“Arctic” in Inuktitut

This syllabic text is taken from Inuktitut, a language of Canada’s Inuit population. It stands for “Arctic.”

Map of Canada’s northern regions

The map on the back of this note shows Canada’s northern regions in their entirety, including Inuit regions of the Arctic. This image was provided by Natural Resources Canada.
More mention of research and another language. The $50 dollar bill has words from three languages (French, English, and Inuktitut. (I think there's only two languages on American bills. )


  1. Why are they doing this? No one wants to counterfeit canadian "dollars".
    Money's supposed to be green baby.
    (just having some fun with ya)

  2. FWIW, these notes are somewhat similar to New Zealand bank notes (polymer notes were first issued here in 1999); we've Lord Rutherford on our $100 bill.

  3. Imagine, no queen. One small step for Canada.

  4. @Veronica -- The Queen's only been on the $20 (and the long-gone $1 and $2 bills) denominated bill since the 1970s, when we, too, started putting dead guys on the bills. As far as I know, they haven't replaced her with Trudeau on the $20 in this issue, so she'll still be around. She's still on the obverse of every coin as well.

  5. Australia began experimenting with polymer banknotes in the late '80s. I was living there when the first 10 dollar notes came out with a little hologram affixed to a window. Before I'd even had a chance to see one there were reports that the hologram became detached if the note went through the washing. Of course that entire first release was quickly snapped up. They apparently fixed the problem and the notes were eventually released in 1988.

  6. Australia *invented* polymer notes, and for many years we made other people's money, including New Zealand's.