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Viola Desmond $10 bill named international banknote of 2018

April 30, 2019  By PrintAction Staff

Canada’s new $10 bill featuring civil rights activist Viola Desmond is the recipient of the 2018 Bank Note of the Year Award from The International Bank Note Society (IBNS).

With over 150 new banknotes released worldwide during 2018, only 10 percent were of sufficiently new design to be nominated, IBNS explains. 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. This is the fifth consecutive polymer containing note to win the coveted award.

When the Bank of Canada announced the release of this note on November 19, 2018, they said they were going in “a new direction.” Polymer replaced paper on Canadian banknotes several years ago but this is the first vertical format note for it. The face of the note features the portrait of social justice icon Viola Desmond while the back depicts the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Man. Desmond fought for racial equality across Canada and is the first Canadian woman to appear on a bank note; other women have all been British royals.


Related: Canada introduces its first vertically oriented bank note

Printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company in the same distinct purple colour as the previous horizontal format $10 polymer note, this note is just fractionally larger than neighbouring United States currency bills. Canada plans “to issue a new denomination every few years” and the Bank of Canada has confirmed the next four notes in this series will also use the vertical format.

No stranger to the IBNS annual bank note contest, Canada won the inaugural IBNS Bank Note of the Year Award in 2004, placed second three years in a row (2011, 2012 and 2013) and finished in third place just last year.

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