WATCH: What iconic woman should be featured on the next Canadian bank note?
History was made on this International Women’s Day in Canada, as prime minister Justin Trudeau made a ground-breaking announcement about the lack of women on money.
“I’m pleased to announce a Canadian woman will be featured on the next set of bills which will be unveiled in 2018,” the prime minister said at a media conference in Ottawa.
It will be the first time a Canadian woman has ever been featured on the front of Canadian currency.
The move comes after growing public pressure to have women on our money — pressure that started with a petition by Greater Victoria’s Merna Forster back in 2013.
“I guess right now I’m buzzed — I’m in disbelief because I started the petition so long ago it’s hard to believe that something finally happened,” Forster said from her Oak Bay home. “Half the population is women, women hold up half the sky, why wouldn’t they hold up half the bank notes?”
An author and historian, Forster says she was compelled to take action after the ‘famous five‘ — the women who fought to have women legally recognized as ‘persons’ in Canada — were removed from the back of the $50 bill and replaced with an ice breaker when the new polymer notes came out.
“I thought as soon as realized their mistake want to fix it but nobody showed any interest in wanting to fix it, it seemed intentional and I thought that’s not right!” Forster says.
The petition quickly gained tens of thousands of signatures and currently has more than 73,000. But despite all the support, nothing happened until now.
Nominations now being accepted for ‘iconic’ Canadian women
The big question now — what iconic Canadian woman will be featured?
Nominations are now being accepted. Nominees have to have been dead for at least 25 years, they can’t be a fictional character, and they have to have demonstrated outstanding leadership or achievement.
One famous Victoria painter fits the bill — and may hope she’ll make the Bank of Canada’s short list.
“One that’s been suggested in Victoria is Emily Carr,” Forster says. “She’s a world-famous and incredible artist. She would be a good candidate I think.”
Nominations close April 15th. Click here if you’d like to nominate an iconic Canadian woman for our currency.