What Is the History of Canadian Paper Money?


Quick Answer

Canadian paper currency was first printed in 1935 after the establishment of the Bank of Canada in 1934, but the Dominion of Canada had been using paper money printed by the British from 1858 on. From the Canadian confederation in 1867 to the foundation of the Bank of Canada, banknotes were endorsed by the government of Great Britain. Several different Canadian banknote series were printed in 1935, 1937, 1954, 1969 and 1986. In 2011, Canada switched to polymer banknotes.

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Full Answer

After the Bank of Canada's founding in 1935, it was given the power to print legal tender by an Act of Parliament. The portraits on its first four series of notes celebrated past Canadian prime ministers and figures in the British monarchy and were printed on reinforced paper. The 1986 series, often called the Birds of Canada series, featured added security measures including a metallic patch, raised ink and distinctive green dots.

From 2001 to 2006, the Bank of Canada printed a series of banknotes known as the Canadian Journey Series. This series represented Canadian culture, history and achievements, and included new security features such as a metallic stripe and an advanced UV identification system. In 2011, the Bank of Canada began printing its currency on a polymer surface, to improve the lifespan of individual bills and discourage counterfeiting. As of 2015, bills from several of these series are still in circulation in Canada.

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