The 1935 $20 note of the first national banknote series. It features the young Princess Elizabeth, (Bank of Canada currency museum)

Canada History, March 11, 1935: the first “Canadian” banknotes

Share

It wasn’t until 1935 that Canada had what could be classed as “official unified Canadian” banknotes.

There had been a variety of banknotes issued both before and after Confederation in 1867, but these consisted of the many banks across the country issuing their own paper money which could be redeemed at the bank for coinage.

Banks also differed in that some issued notes in pounds sterling, reflecting attachment to the British empire, while others in decimal dollars reflecting the close trading ties with the U.S.

After confederation however along with individual banks, the Province of Canada (Ontario and Quebec) issued “Dominion of Canada” notes which were also distributed to other provinces.

An 1882 “Dominion of Canada” $4 note, a national banknote which co-existed in the country with private bank notes. (Museum of Currency. Featured is the then Governor-General, the Marquess of Lorne ( Governor-General Museum of Currency)

Following several private bank failures around the turn of the last century making their “notes” worthless, calls came for greater regulatory control of monetary policy and in 1934 the government approved the Bank of Canada Act, which created a central bank policy for the country.  At the time there were still 10 banks issuing their own notes and the idea of a national currency was contested by those banks which feared a loss of profit they gained from the issuing of their own notes.

The original Bank of Canada headquarters building in Ottawa, and the much larger addition behind in a glaring clash of architectural styles.. (Bank of Canada)

Nevertheless, on March 11, 1935, Canada issued its first truly unified national banknotes. At the time the notes were not bilingual but issued separately either in French or in English.  Dominion of Canada notes were slowly withdrawn and chartered banks were told to reduce their own issuing of notes.

However, it wasn’t until 1944 that chartered banks were actually prevented from issuing their own notes. The last two banks to issue their own bills were the Bank of Montreal which printed its last banknote in 1942, a $5 note, while the Royal Bank of Canada issued it’s last note in 1943 also with a face value of $5.

The last commercial bank issued note in Canada, by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) in January 1943. Features the bank’s executives. (Bank of Canada currency museum)

In Canada now, the $1 and $2 notes have been discontinued and replaced by coins, while the largest denomination bill is now only $100.

From the outset, Canadian notes have been printed in various colours for the denominations as the case for many currencies world wide and unlike the uniformly grey green of U.S  notes.  In 1935, these were green for the $1 banknote, blue for the $2 banknote, orange for the $5 banknote, dark purple for the $10 note, rose for the $20, reddish brown for the $50, dark brown for the $100, sepia for the $500 note, and olive for the $1000 banknote.

Canada’s 2011 “Frontier” series featuring our early Prime Ministers.. Now printed on polymer with holograms and other features difficult to counterfeit. (Bank of Canada)

Share
Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Economy, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*