On November 7, 2013, the last 2 bills in Canada’s new Frontier polymer note series were launched into the world. In case you haven’t already heard, the new $5 features the Canadarm2 (plus Dextre, the hand-like attachment for the arm), and the new $10 salutes our national railway, depicting The Canadian, a VIA passenger train winding through the mountains at Jasper National Park.
The date selected for the unveiling was rather historic, as it was the 128th anniversary of the CPR’s last spike ceremony held at Craigellachie, BC back in 1885. The location was also fitting; Vancouver’s Pacific Central Station, with a live link to the Canadian Space Agency in Saint-Hubert, Quebec. One of the special guests the Bank of Canada recruited for the event was none other than retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who spoke from Saint-Hubert.
After the unveiling of the notes, ample photo opps of the new bills, I got to ask the Bank of Canada my question; given my Illustrated Vancouver meme, I wanted to know if there was a single artist or illustrator responsible for each bill. Do the engraver’s initials appear somewhere on the bill? The answer; well, it seems they don’t make bills like they used to. They weren’t so much drawn by a single individual as they were selected by a collective after extensive consultations. And they weren’t really drawn either; it’s more like they were ‘composited’ and then digitally ‘remastered’. In fact, if you look closely at all the sample image specimens that the Bank of Canada has posted to flickr, you can see they resemble photographs more than they do drawings or engravings.