The New Commemorative $10 Banknote in Canada –

In 2017, Canada celebrated an incredible milestone in its national history – 150 years of confederation with a commemorative $10 banknote. It was July 1st, 1867 when the British North America Act was passed and the Dominion of Canada became its own self-governing nation of the British Empire. To celebrate, the Royal Canadian Print is producing just the 4th commemorative bank note in Canadian history – a $10 note that will feature the names and faces of important historical figures in Canadian political history.

This blog looks at the new commemorative $10 note in detail. We’ll unpack the names and faces featured on the notes and their importance in Canada, as well as some of the imagery, used to make this unique venture extra special.

Faces of a Confederacy – Who’s Who on the Commemorative Canada $10 Banknote

The obverse side of the Canada $10 Banknote depicts Canada’s historical leaders in a way that’s highly unique – instead of featuring just one person, the commemorative note has four different faces on it, each representing a different aspect of political inclusivity in Canada:

Canada 10 Dollars, 2017, P-NEW, Maple Leaf, Wheat, River, Rocks, Polymer, PMG 68

Sir John A. MacDonald (Left) – Canada’s first Prime Minister is already featured on the $10 note in circulation today, and he gets the nod for the commemorative $10 as well, revealing just how important this “Father of Confederation” is to Canadian history.

Sir George-Etienne Cartier (2nd from left) – Cartier was a Canadian statesman and Father of Confederation, just like Sir John A. MacDonald. Cartier was politically active throughout his life, having led the Parti bleu in the years up to Confederation. He is also famous for establishing the Civil Code of Law in Eastern Canada and advocating for the establishment of Primary Education throughout the country.

Agnes MacPhail (3rd from left) – Agnes MacPhail was the first female member of parliament, serving at the Canadian House of Commons from 1921 until 1940. She represented two separate parties during her long career of service and promoted her political ideas through her Globe & Mail column, and by organizing activism and legislation.

James Gladstone (right) – Gladstone was the first person elected to the Canadian Senate from a treaty First Nation. A member of the Cree nation by birth, he was adopted by the Blood Reserve where he was born, which belonged to the Blackfoot nation. Accepted by both tribes, he attended residential schools and later was elected President of the Indian Association of Alberta before Progressive Conservative PM John Diefenbaker nominated him to the Senate – a full two years before Aboriginal Canadians were even allowed to vote.

Canada’s Landscape Adorns the Reverse Side of the Note

The Royal Canadian Mint engaged the public to obtain feedback about what to include on the reverse side of the Canada $10 banknote. Pictured are the Lions and Capilano Lake from British Columbia, fields of wheat as seen in the Prairie provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the rocky Canadian Shield characteristic of Quebec and Northern Ontario, a view of the Atlantic Ocean from Cape Bonavista in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the northern lights as seen from Wood Buffalo National Park.

Reverse: Canada 10 Dollars, 2017, P-NEW, Maple Leaf, Wheat, River, Rocks, Polymer, PMG 68

The reverse side of the commemorative bill does a tremendous job of capturing the unique landscapes of Canada and highlighting the incredible feat of Confederacy – that Canada’s early founders could unify people across thousands of miles into one nation for the future.

Special Symbols and Security on the Commemorative Canada $10 Banknote

The Canada $10 banknote features some security features that have never been used in Canadian money before. In the transparent window, some maple leaves appear to be printed in three dimensions but are flat to the touch. A stained-glass window from the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill is depicted in magnetic ink that changes color from green to blue, depending on its orientation.


The new commemorative $10 offers an inclusive perspective on Canadian history that pays homage to its early founders from all walks of life. With special homage paid to Canadian first nations, women in parliament, founding fathers, and even the Canadian landscape, there’s a little something for everyone on this new banknote. Best of all, the mint will print 40,000,000 of these notes – just enough for each Canadian to save one of them (with a few left over for international collectors).

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