Canada's history of currency notes is diverse and spans several centuries. The country has had various types of banknotes issued by different entities, including chartered banks, provincial governments, and the federal government. Here is an overview of Canada's history of currency notes:
- Early Banknotes (late 18th century to mid-19th century):
- The earliest banknotes in Canada were issued by chartered banks, such as the Bank of Montreal and the Bank of Upper Canada, starting in the late 18th century.
- These early banknotes were typically denominated in pounds, shillings, and pence, reflecting Canada's ties to the British colonial system.
- The designs of these banknotes varied, featuring intricate engravings, portraits of notable figures, and vignettes representing local industries and landscapes.
- After Confederation in 1867, the federal government of Canada began issuing its own currency known as Dominion notes.
- Dominion notes were denominated in dollars and featured designs with prominent figures, such as political leaders, allegorical representations, and Canadian landscapes.
- Dominion notes were issued in various denominations and played a significant role in facilitating trade and commerce within the country.
- Throughout the late 19th century and early 20th century, numerous chartered banks in Canada issued their own banknotes.
- These banknotes had distinctive designs representing the issuing banks, often showcasing the bank's name, location, and unique motifs.
- In 1935, the Bank of Canada was established as the country's central bank, and it gradually took over the issuance of banknotes, effectively ending the circulation of chartered banknotes.
- The Bank of Canada became responsible for issuing and regulating the country's banknotes, starting with the "1935 Series" of banknotes.
- Bank of Canada notes have gone through several design changes over the years, reflecting evolving security features, cultural representations, and advancements in printing technology.
- Notable features of Bank of Canada notes include portraits of prominent Canadians, national symbols, landscapes, and indigenous artwork, showcasing Canada's cultural diversity and heritage.
- In 2011, Canada introduced polymer banknotes as a more secure alternative to paper notes.
- Polymer banknotes are made from a durable polymer substrate that offers enhanced security features, including holograms, transparent windows, and tactile elements for the visually impaired.
- Polymer banknotes are more resistant to counterfeiting, have a longer lifespan, and are environmentally friendly.
Today, Canada's banknotes continue to evolve, with ongoing efforts to enhance security, incorporate new technologies, and reflect the country's diverse history and cultural identity. The Bank of Canada regularly introduces new designs and features to ensure the integrity and public trust in Canadian currency.