OTTAWA — A diverse group of notable Canadians, including Indigenous advocates and veterans, an Inuit artist and the first person of Chinese descent born in this country have been shortlisted to appear on the new $5 bill.
Terry Fox, who captivated a nation as he ran to raise awareness and money for cancer research, is also among the eight names the Bank of Canada has sent to the government as it considers who should be featured on the bank note when it gets a redesign next year.
The bank says it received more than 600 eligible names from nearly 45,000 Canadians, and an advisory committee whittled the list down to eight people.
Who is on the shortlist?
Pitseolak Ashoona: Born in the first few years of the 20th century, Ashoona was a self-taught artist. Her art, which has been shown around Canada and the world, reflects the “old ways” of the Inuit of the Eastern Arctic.
Robertine “Francoise” Barry: The first female French-Canadian journalist, Barry was an advocate for women’s right to vote, post-secondary education and victims of domestic violence.
Binaaswi (Francis Pegahmagabow): The most highly decorated Indigenous soldier in Canadian history was a veteran of the First World War and later advocated for Indigenous rights in Canada.
Won Alexander Cumyow: Born pre-Confederation, he is the first known Chinese-Canadian to be born in Canada and used his language skills —he was fluent in Cantonese and English — to bridge racial and linguistic divides in Vancouver and helped change attitudes toward Chinese people in this country.
Terry Fox: His “Marathon of Hope” raised millions of dollars for cancer research. Cancer halted his run and ultimately took his life, but communities still hold annual runs to raise money for cancer research.
Lotta Hitschmanova: Immigrating to Canada in 1942, the Czech-born refugee was the founder of the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada and worked tirelessly to help people, especially children, in Europe, India, Nepal, Palestine, Indonesia and Africa.
Isapo-muxika/Sahpo Muxika (Crowfoot): A leader of the Blackfoot Confederacy, he was an advocate for peace among Indigenous nations, and between Indigenous Peoples and settlers, and was key to Treaty 7 negotiations.
Onondeyoh (Frederick Ogilvie Loft): Founded the first pan-Canadian Indigenous group in 1918 to advocate for Indigenous rights, laying the foundation for modern regional and national organizations. He was also a Mohawk chief and veteran of the First World War.
What happens next?
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is to make a decision early next year about who should adorn the new bill.
What will the bill look like?
Like the redesigned $10 bill, the new $5 bill will have a vertical design. The chosen person will be featured on one side, with another image on the other side.
In 2018, the $10 bill got the first redesign with an image on one side of Viola Desmond as well as a map of the historic north end of Halifax where Desmond lived and worked. In 1946, it was Desmond’s refusal to leave a whites-only area of a movie theatre that fuelled drives towards racial equality in Canada.
On the other side of the $10 note, is an eagle feather to represent ongoing work on Indigenous rights, part of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and laurel leaves, an old symbol for justice, found in the Supreme Court of Canada building.
Like the $10 bill, the new $5 bill will have the latest security measures.
What about the current $5 bill?
The bank says the current $5 bill will still circulate for some time even after the redesign. The image of Sir Wilfrid Laurier will be featured on one of the country’s higher-value notes, like the $50 bill or $100 bill, when they are redesigned. The central bank says the process to redesign bills can take years from public consultations to design, production and release.