Bank of Canada unveils new $10 banknote for Canada 150 celebrations

The Bank of Canada has unveiled a new $10 banknote to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

Bill features 4 portraits of Canadian politicians, Inuit art and Canadian landscapes

The $10 commemorative banknote for Canada's sesquicentennial was unveiled at the Bank of Canada in Ottawa Friday. (Supplied/Bank of Canada)

The Bank of Canada has unveiled a commemorative $10 banknote to mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation. It's only the fourth time in Canada's history that it has created a commemorative banknote.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz and Ginette Petitpas Taylor, parliamentary secretary to the minister of finance, made the announcement and showed off the bill at the bank's headquarters in Ottawa Friday.

There will be 40 million notes printed — "just more than enough for every Canadian to keep one," according to Poloz. The bank says they will enter circulation on June 1.

The front of the bill features portraits of Canada's first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, and fellow Father of Confederation Sir George-Étienne Cartier, Canada's first female member of Parliament, Agnes MacPhail, and James Gladstone, Canada's first senator from a treaty First Nation — the Kainai (Blood) Tribe.

From left to right: Fathers of Confederation Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier are featured on the bill, along with Agnes MacPhail, Canada's first female MP, and James Gladstone, Canada's first senator from a treaty First Nation. (Bank of Canada)

Poloz said the reverse of the bill was designed to include a variety of Canadian vistas, based on public feedback on what Canadians wanted to see on the bill.

The landscapes include the Lions and Capilano Lake from British Columbia, fields of Prairie wheat, the Canadian Shield as seen in Quebec, a view of the Atlantic Ocean from Cape Bonavista in Newfoundland and Labrador and the northern lights as they would be seen in Wood Buffalo National Park.

The reverse of the $10 banknote to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation depicts scenes from across the country. (Supplied/Bank of Canada)

The Bank of Canada said the new banknote will feature some security features that are being deployed in Canada for the first time.

Below the owl illustration are maple leaves that appear to be printed in 3D, but are in fact flat to the touch

The most eye-catching new feature is a magnetic ink that changes colour from blue to green when it's tilted, used to illustrate stained glass in an arched window from the Memorial Chamber in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill. The chamber honours Canadian men and women who give their lives in military service. 

The illustration of the arch inside the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill includes a new security feature: magnetic ink that changes colour when the bill is tilted. (Supplied/Bank of Canada)

The presence of Gladstone, whose Blackfoot name is Akay-na-muka, is not the only nod to Canada's Indigenous peoples on the note.

In the photo above, you can see the Assomption sash pattern at the top and bottom edges of the banknote's face. It's an important symbol in Métis and French-Canadian culture.

In the note's transparent window, there's a holographic rendering of Owl's Bouquet, a stonecut and stencil print originally made by the late Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak.

Owl's Bouquet, a stonecut and print originally made by the late Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak (Supplied/Bank of Canada)

The Nunavut artist helped popularize Inuit art around the world. Ashevak's family flew to Ottawa from Cape Dorset for the unveiling.

The ceremony included Inuit and Algonquin blessings before and after the note was presented to the public.

From left, David Joanasie, MLA for South Baffin, Aluki Kotierk, president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., and relatives of Kenojuak Ashevak. To the right of the bank note display: PJ Akeeagok, president of Qikiqtani Inuit Association, Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and Ashevak's grandson, Matthew Ashevak. (PJ Akeeagok)

Previous commemorative notes include a $25 note for King George V's Silver Jubilee in 1935, a centennial dollar bill in 1967 and a more recent $20 note commemorating Queen Elizabeth II becoming Canada's longest-reigning monarch of the modern era.


This story has been updated from a previous version that incorrectly stated that James Gladstone was the first Indigenous senator. In fact, two senators of Métis descent had been appointed prior to Gladstone; he was the first senator from a treaty First Nation.