Who do kids think should be the face on Canada’s new $5 bill?

CBC Kids News • Published 2020-02-04 07:00

Nominations open until March 11

Sorry, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, it’s time for you to step aside.

The Bank of Canada announced in January it’s time to put a new face on the $5 bill and they’re asking Canadians to help.

The process, which will be similar to the one conducted for the $10 bill a few years ago, is open to Canadians of all ages.

This means kids can have a say as to who should be on the new banknote.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Canada’s first francophone prime minister from 1896 to 1911, is the current face on the Canadian $5 bill. (Michael Wilson/CBC)

There are some rules for who can make the final cut. They have to be:

Not all of the kids we asked decided to play by those rules. Here’s who they nominated:


Can you imagine Shawn Mendes, Lilly Singh or Drake staring back at you when pulling out a fiver to buy a burger or a slushy?

Sasha Turner-Savoy, a 12-year-old from Toronto, gives the thumbs-up to that idea.

“I nominate Drake because he’s been very popular for a long time now and a lot of people know him around the world not just in Canada,” Sasha said.

Not a bad suggestion, considering Drizzy could be a catchy nickname for the new blue bill.

Sasha Turner-Savoy, 12, from Toronto, thinks Drake should be the face of the new $5 bill because he does more than just rap, including ‘donating money to people in need.’ (Kristina Turner)

“He doesn’t just care about himself and his career, he donates money to people in need,” she said.

“When he made the God’s Plan video, he went to poor neighbourhoods and did random acts of kindness to people who really needed it.”

Drake, one of the best-selling artists in the world, recently became Spotify’s most streamed artist of the decade. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Terry Fox

One of the most popular names being tossed around on social media is Terry Fox.

In 1980, Fox ran almost a marathon a day for 143 days after losing a leg to cancer in order to raise awareness and money for cancer research.

In April 1980, Terry Fox began the Marathon of Hope, a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research. He died nine months later at the age of 22. (The Canadian Press)

“We believe Terry Fox should be on the $5 bill because not only is he a familiar face to almost every single Canadian. He also represents the strength, courage and determination that is the Canadian spirit,” said 17-year-old Amanda Jacobson, on behalf of all her siblings.

“That spirit is celebrated every year by thousands of Canadian school children during the Terry Fox Run,” the Calgary teen said. “He is a hero to us all.”

Amanda Jacobson, 17, front, and her siblings Hannah, 15, left, Mikey, 9, back centre, Sarah, 11, right, think Terry Fox should be on the face of the new fiver. (Barbara Jacobson)

Wayne Gretzky

Another popular choice is Canadian hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, known as “The Great One,” played for the Edmonton Oilers from 1979 to 1988. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via The Associated Press)

That’s who 13-year-old Emma Chin from Calgary thinks should be the new face of the fiver.

“He led the Edmonton Oilers to four Stanley Cup wins and he’s also in the Hockey Hall of Fame,” she said. “I can think of no one that worked harder to do something they love.”

Emma Chin, 13, votes for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky to be featured on the new blue bill. (Cheryl Ruttle)

Chris Hadfield

Astronaut Chris Hadfield is 13-year-old Hannah Gordon’s pick.

Hannah Gordon, 13, thinks astronaut Chris Hadfield should be the face of the new $5 bill because he was the first Canadian to walk in space and he’s also a great musician. (Cheryl Ruttle)

“He was the first Canadian to walk in space and was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame,” the teen from Calgary said. 

Hadfield is also a musician.

While in space, he released an album in October, 2015 called Space Sessions: Songs from a Tin Can, which he recorded with his iPad.

Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield became the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station on March 13, 2013. (Robert Markowitz/Reuters/Canadian Space Agency)

Louis Riel

Jade Swan, 13, from Eatonia, Sask., is voting for Louis Riel.

In 1869, Riel led the Métis of Western Canada in an uprising that established a temporary government in what is now Manitoba.

The Métis are Canadians of mixed Indigenous and European heritage.

Jade Swan from Eatonia, Sask., thinks Louis Riel should be on the new bank note. (Adam Naismith)

“Louis Riel stood up for the transfer of their territories and led two rebellions against the government of Canada,” she said.

The rebellion was put down by the national government, and in 1885, Riel was charged with treason and hanged.

Some people feel he was wrongly accused.

Louis Riel was a political leader of the Métis people of the Canadian Prairies in the 1800s, and helped make Manitoba a part of Canada. (National Archives of Canada/The Canadian Press)

“He should be on the $5 bill because he never gave up,” Jade said.

Tommy Douglas

Stuart McIlroy, 14, and Noah Duckett, 13, from Calgary, think that Tommy Douglas should be the new figure on the $5 bill “because of his achievements in progressive health care in Canadian society.”

Stuart McIlroy, 14, and Noah Duckett, 13, give the thumbs up to the former premier of Saskatchewan and former leader of the NDP, Tommy Douglas. (Cheryl Ruttle)

Douglas, the Premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961 and federal leader of the New Democratic Party from 1961 to 1971, is widely considered to be the founder of Canada’s publicly-funded health-care system.

Under that system, Canadians can go to a doctor and get most medical services covered for free.

Tommy Douglas, shown in this Oct. 19, 1983, photo is considered to be the founder of Canada’s publicly-funded health-care system. (Chris Schwarz/The Canadian Press)

The Famous Five

Adam Zaza, a 13-year-old Calgarian, thinks Alberta’s Famous Five should be on the new bill.

The Famous Five was a nickname given to five women — Henrietta Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby and Emily Murphy— who fought for women to have the right to serve in the Senate in 1928.

The Senate is a group of people in the government who oversee new laws that are put forward by Canada’s elected politicians.

Adam Zaza from Calgary thinks Alberta’s Famous Five should be honoured on the new $5 bill because they pushed for more rights for Canadian women. (Cheryl Ruttle)

“They fought for women to be legally recognized as persons,” he said.

In 1929, they won their case, meaning Canadian women could no longer be denied certain rights.

Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King in a photo with the Famous Five in front of the tablet commemorating the 1929 ‘Women as Persons’ ruling. (Eugene M. Finn/National Film Board of Canada, Photothèque/Library and Archives Canada)

How to make your own nomination

The Bank of Canada’s public consultation process launched on Jan. 29 and continues until March 11.

Anybody can submit a nomination by using this submission form.

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