Paper Money

Canada narrows list of candidates for $5 note appearance

Candidates for the next $5 Bank of Canada note include Binaaswi (Francis Pegahmagabow), a World War I veteran who is the most highly decorated Indigenous soldier in Canadian history.

Images courtesy of the Bank of Canada

The Bank of Canada has selected a short list of eight Canadians, one of whom will be featured on the next $5 bank note, its independent Advisory Council said Nov. 9.

The council indicated all candidates changed Canada for the better, had an impact still relevant today that reflected Canadian values, and are known nationally. The names were chosen from a list of 600 nominees submitted by 45,000 citizens.

They are (in alphabetical order):

Pitseolak Ashoona (circa 1904/1908 to 1983), a self-taught Inuit artist whose drawings and prints are held by museums and galleries throughout Canada and the world. Her work provides a vivid record of the “old ways” once followed by the Inuit of the Eastern Arctic.

Robertine Barry (“Françoise”) (1863 to 1910), was the first female French-Canadian journalist, and an advocate for social justice causes, especially women’s equality.

Binaaswi (Francis Pegahmagabow) (1888 to 1952), a World War I veteran who was the most highly decorated Indigenous soldier in Canadian history.

Won Alexander Cumyow (1861 to 1955), the first known Chinese-Canadian born in Canada. Being bilingual in Cantonese and English, he bridged the divide between Vancouver’s English-speaking and Chinese communities. He was a voice for the disenfranchised people, and helped change racial attitudes toward Chinese people in Canada.

Terry Fox (1958 to 1981), who after losing part of his right leg to cancer, campaigned to raise national awareness and funding for cancer research by running his Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada 26-mile-per-day run, on his prosthetic leg. By February 1981, he had raised $24.7 million, $1 for every Canadian. Halfway through his run, the cancer reached his lungs, and eventually took his life. Today, annual Terry Fox Runs are held all over the world.

Lotta Hitschmanova (1909 to 1990), one of Canada’s earliest grassroots humanitarians, who came to Canada in 1942 as a Czech-born refugee and founded the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada in 1945. She devoted her life to helping people in need around the world, especially children, and inspired others to give generously to relief and development projects.

Isapo-muxika (Crowfoot) (circa 1830 to 1890), a leader of the Blackfoot Confederacy, known for his use of diplomacy and for being an advocate for peace between Indigenous nations and settlers, and later in life, for fostering peace among neighboring Indigenous peoples.

Onondeyoh (Frederick Ogilvie Loft) (1861 to 1934), a Mohawk chief, World War I veteran, and political and social activist. He founded the first pan-Canadian Indigenous organization in December 1918 to advocate for the protection and expansion of Indigenous rights.

Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland will announce her selection in early 2021. She said of the list, “Each of these people deserve recognition for their remarkable contributions to Canada. They all overcame barriers, fought for their ideals, and have inspired generations.”

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