Final 5 candidates for next Canadian woman on banknote revealed by Bank of Canada

Poet E. Pauline Johnson and athlete Fanny (Bobbie) Rosenfeld are among five women on the short list to be chosen as the iconic Canadian woman to be featured on an upcoming banknote.

Decision to be announced Dec. 8 among women including Pauline Johnson, Bobbie Rosenfeld, Viola Desmond

The Bank of Canada has released the five names of Canadian women who are in the running to be featured on an upcoming banknote. (Bank of Canada)

Poet E. Pauline Johnson and athlete Fanny (Bobbie) Rosenfeld are among five women on the short list to be chosen as the iconic Canadian woman to be featured on the next series of banknotes, the Bank of Canada said Thursday.

The final selection and the denomination of the bill on which she will appear is to be announced on Dec. 8 by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz.

The new regular circulation banknote — the first in a forthcoming series — is expected to begin appearing in 2018.

Here is the short list of women still under consideration:

  • Viola Desmond (1914-1965): A black businesswoman from Nova Scotia who famously challenged racial segregation at a film theatre in her home province.

  • E. Pauline Johnson (1861-1913): A poet and writer whose performances reflect both English and Mohawk traditions and who is recognized as helping to shape Canadian literature.

  • Elizabeth (Elsie) MacGill (1905-1980): The world's first female aircraft designer. She worked as an aeronautical engineer during the Second World War.

  • Fanny (Bobbie) Rosenfeld (1905-1969): An Olympian who won gold in the relay race and silver in the 100 metre dash at the 1928 summer Olympics.

  • Idola Saint-Jean (1880-1945): A Quebec journalist, educator and feminist who fought for the women's vote in Quebec.

The five women were selected by independent advisory council from a list of 12 names, which were drawn from 461 eligible nominees submitted by Canadians.

"The advisory council had the difficult task of selecting only five outstanding Canadian women from a vast field of strong choices, and I commend the members for their excellent work," Poloz said in a release.

"I am also delighted that this entire process encouraged a meaningful conversation among Canadians about the many exceptional women who have shaped our country."

The Famous 5 and Thérèse Casgrain appeared on the back of the $50 bill between between 2004 and 2012. (Bank of Canada/CBC)

The selected person will not be the first Canadian female to appear on a banknote. The Famous 5 — Emily Murphy, Irene Marryat Parlby, Nellie Mooney McClung, Louise Crummy McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards — who fought for women's rights in Canada, and Thérèse Casgrain, a Quebec feminist, were featured on the back of the $50 bill between 2004 and 2012.


  • An earlier version of this story said incorrectly that the person to be selected in December would be a first Canadian woman on a banknote. In fact, the Famous 5 — Emily Murphy, Irene Marryat Parlby, Nellie Mooney McClung, Louise Crummy McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards — and Thérèse Casgrain appeared on the $50 bill from 2004 to 2012.
    Nov 24, 2016 1:19 PM ET


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