The many faces and places on the Canada 150 Commemorative note

The Bank of Canada recently unveiled a commemorative bank note to mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation. The bill will be issued into circulation on June 1. This is a rare occurrence for the Bank of Canada, as the new commemorative note is only the fourth such note produced in the Banks history. PHOTO COURTESY BANK OF CANADA

It’s not easy representing 150 years of Confederation on a single bank note. But the Bank of Canada’s new commemorative note does just that with a story about our history, land and culture.

This new $10 note, celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation, was unveiled on April 7 and it will hit the streets starting June 1.
For the first time, portraits of four public figures are featured on the front of a Bank of Canada note. Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir George-Étienne Cartier, Agnes Macphail and James Gladstone are four parliamentarians who played significant roles in our history. Since some Canadians may not be familiar with these individuals, let’s learn a bit more about them.
Sir John A. Macdonald likely doesn’t need much of an introduction. He was Canada’s first Prime Minister and one of the Fathers of Confederation, under whose leadership and vision the Dominion of Canada formed, grew and expanded until it stretched from sea to sea to sea.
Sir George-Étienne Cartier, also one of the Fathers of Confederation, was a principal architect of Canadian federalism and a proponent of Confederation as a means of safeguarding French Canada and other minorities.
Agnes Macphail was a champion of equality and human rights who, in 1921, became the first woman elected to the House of Commons in Canada.
James Gladstone, or Akay-na-muka (his Blackfoot name), committed himself to the betterment of Indigenous peoples in Canada and, in 1958, became Canada’s first senator of First Nations origin.
Together, these four remind us that the Canada of today was shaped by people of different backgrounds, who, through their vision, courage and effort, created a better country.
The back of the note emphasizes Canada’s natural landscapes—the rugged splendour of a land as diverse as its people. Five landscapes represent different regions of the country: the West Coast, the Prairie provinces, Central Canada, the Atlantic provinces and the North.
Beginning June 1, 40 million commemorative bank notes will be distributed through Canada’s financial institutions. The commemorative note will circulate alongside the current $10 note but will not replace it. The existing $10 note will continue to represent the majority of $10 notes in circulation for the life of the Polymer series.
Visit to learn more about the design and security features of the commemorative note. Follow the Bank on Twitter (@bankofcanada) for the latest news as we prepare to issue this special note marking the 150th anniversary of Confederation.