New Zealand $5 bill, designed by Ottawa master engraver, named world's best

A master engraver in Ottawa designed New Zealand's $5 bill, and it's been named the world's best bill of 2015 by the International Bank Note Society.

'It was quite challenging, actually ... to create all these textures'

Jorge Peral, vice-president of design and master engraver at the Canadian Banknote Company, designed New Zealand's $5 bill, which has been named best in the world. (CBC)

The world's best bill of 2015 — New Zealand's $5 note — was designed by a master engraver in Ottawa.

The orange and brown polymer note was introduced in November. The front of the bill features a portrait of Sir Edmund Hillary as a young man, while the back showcases a yellow-eyed penguin and daisies.

Jorge Peral is vice-president of design and master engraver at the Canadian Bank Note Company, and he's responsible for designing it.

This $5 bill, named best in the world, was designed by Jorge Peral in Ottawa. (International Bank Note Society)

"It was quite challenging, actually, to create that, to create all these textures, the whiskers in [Sir Edmund Hillary's] face. It was exciting, I think one of my best portraits ever engraved, and this all now by computer," Peral told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning on Friday.

After decades of engraving by hand, Peral had to learn how to use computer software to do it instead in just a few years.

"I spent ... more than 30 years doing this business by hand, and now, just moving to digital, it's a little bit hard. I'm still missing cutting by hand, but the computer has much more advantages these days — these days bank notes are more and more sophisticated than previous years," he said.

These days, Peral is passing on his engraving skills to his son, who engraved the penguin for the $5 note.

A five-dollar banknote has been named best-bill-in-the-world and it was designed by an artist right here in Ottawa.