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Finance & Innovation

The Canadian $5 Bill Will Soon Celebrate an Iconic Changemaker

Why Global Citizens Should Care
At the core of Global Citizen’s mission to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030 is the firm belief that everyone, everywhere, can take action for a better world. Celebrating those who have helped their community in years past can inspire others to do the same in the future. You can do your part in promoting the United Nations’ Global Goals by taking action here.

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Earlier this year, the Bank of Canada issued a six-week-long open call for nominations to help choose the next face of the $5 bank note.  

Canadians from all over the country were tasked with putting forward the name of a fellow citizen who has “demonstrated outstanding leadership, achievement, or distinction” in Canada. 

Nearly 45,000 people answered the call, and the Bank of Canada unveiled a shortlist on Monday of eight of the 600 people that were nominated.

Each finalist was selected based on a few guiding principles, including their uniqueness and their positive impact on Canadian society. 

“Each of these people deserves recognition for their remarkable contributions to Canada,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland said in a press release. “They all overcame barriers, fought for their ideals, and have inspired generations. I invite all Canadians to learn about the stories of these incredible people. And to the tens of thousands of Canadians who took the time to nominate the many noteworthy people in our history, thank you.”

Among those who made it to the list stand familiar figures like Terry Fox, who, after losing his leg to cancer, ran the Marathon of Hope 40 years ago and raised nearly $25 million to support cancer research. 

Others, like Binaaswi (Francis Pegahmagabow) and Isapo-muxika (Crowfoot), are famous for their tireless efforts working to promote Indigenous rights and peace with settlers.

Related Stories March 9, 2018 Canada Has A New $10 Bill That Honours Viola Desmond

The next face of the fiver could also be that of an iconic woman like Lotta Hitschmanova, one of the earliest grassroots humanitarians, or Robertine Barry, a French-Canadian journalist and staunch advocate for gender equality and women’s rights.

The campaign follows a similar makeover dating back to 2018, when the Bank of Canada had announced a redesign of the $10 note in honour of civil rights activist Viola Desmond.

The deliberation process won’t take long. Minister Freeland will announce her choice in early 2021, and the newly designed bill will debut a few years later, the Bank of Canada said in a statement.

And for those worried about what might happen to former Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier — whose face is currently on the $5 bill — fear not. He will be featured on upcoming versions of the $50 or $100 bills, while the Frontiers series, which also features images of Laurier, will continue to circulate across the country.