(Canada's new banknote featuring social justice icon Viola Desmond/IBNS)

Canada’s new vertical bill has just won international recognition for being the best new banknote in the world.

According to the International Bank Note Society (IBNS), only 10% of the 150 new banknotes released worldwide last year were of sufficiently new design to be nominated for the prestigious designation.

And Canada is the official winner of the IBNS “Bank Note of the Year Award” for 2018.

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“Almost from the start, Canada’s new vertically oriented $10 bill dominated the voting, followed by Switzerland (200 Franc human hands), Norway (500 Kroner sailing ship), Russia (100 Ruble soccer) and the Solomon Islands (40 Dollar man blowing conch shell) banknotes,” says the IBNS.


Viola Desmond

The new $10 note is the first time a Canadian woman has been featured on a regularly circulating banknote.

In 2017, Canada’s central bank unveiled a new $10 note to celebrate the country’s 150th year since Confederation, and it featured Agnes Macphail – the first woman to be elected to Parliament and the first Canadian woman to appear on a Canadian banknote. However this note was not in regular circulation.

Viola Desmond was a black Nova Scotian businesswoman who was forced out of the whites-only section of a movie theatre in 1946, and subsequently jailed and fined. She made history by bringing forth one of the first known court cases against racial segregation in Canada.

Section 15 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

According to the Bank of Canada, the new $10 banknote is vertical so that her image may be more prominent, and to differentiate it from other current polymer notes.

The back of the note features symbols representing Canada’s pursuit of human rights, including an image of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the laurel leaf – an ancient symbol of justice.




The IBNS describes this note as being just fractionally larger than its US counterpart, and incorporates “bold security features are easy to check and difficult to counterfeit”.

Information from the Bank of Canada also confirms that they plan to issue a new denomination every few years, and that the next four notes in the series will also use the vertical format.

Canada won the inaugural IBNS “Bank Note of the Year” award in 2004, placed second three years in a row (2011, 2012 & 2013), and finished in third place just last year.


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