Creator of Famous 5 Foundation says women should be on more than one bank note

'We do need to honour these people and realize what they've contributed to Canada,' says Frances Wright.

An 'iconic' Canadian woman will appear on a new bill

The Famous 5 were replaced by an ice breaker on the redesigned $50 bill back in 2012. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

E. Pauline Johnson. Harriet Tubman. Agnes Macphail. Mary Dover. Florence LaDue.

How many of those names are familiar? If it was up to Frances Wright, the names and images of these and other iconic Canadian women would be on one side of every bank note to be issued next year.

Last week, the Bank of Canada asked people to nominate a female Canadian icon whose face will appear on a new bank note.

It's a good start, says Wright, who is the founder of the Famous 5 Foundation.

"These women are amazing and we just don't know enough about them," she told the Calgary Eyeopener on Monday. 

Here's the criteria: The woman can't be fictional and she has to have died at least 25 years ago.

Wright says she'd like to see a woman featured on more than just one bill. 

Which "iconic" Canadian woman should go on the new bank note? 7:46

"New Zealand has had women on the bill since 1990 and Australia has had women on the bill since 1993," she said. 

"So we only caught up in 2004 when the Bank of Canada agreed to put the Famous Five on the bill."

The Famous 5, who fought for women's rights in Canada, and Therese Casgrain, a Quebec feminist, were featured between 2004 and 2012.

But the women were all replaced on the $50 note in 2012 — by an image of an Arctic icebreaker.

"Why are we only suggesting one bill?" said Wright.

"What about all the bills having women on one of the sides to match all the prime ministers on the other side?

Those who wish to nominate someone to appear on the bill can visit the Bank of Canada website.

The image of an iconic Canadian woman will appear on the next issue of bank notes. 1:37

Some of Wright's suggestions include:

  • Metis poet E. Pauline Johnson
  • Harriet Tubman who brought 300 slaves to Canada through the underground railway
  • Agnes Macphail, the first woman to ever serve as an elected M.P.
  • Mary Dover, who helped start the Canadian Women's Air Force
  • Florence LaDue, a rodeo performer and the wife of the Calgary Stampede's Guy Weadick

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener


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