Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz says the central bank is planning public consultations to determine whose image should appear on a revamped $5 bill.
No need. Only one nomination is required. The clear, logical, long-overdue choice: Terrance Stanley Fox.
As the 40th anniversary of the iconic Marathon of Hope approaches, there is no better way to honour Terry Fox than to put his face on a five-dollar bill. Canada has the loonie. It has a toonie. Now it needs the Terry.
Credit for this idea goes to Dave Teixeira, a businessman and long-time organizer of the Terry Fox Hometown Run in Port Coquitlam, B.C.
“I suggest Terry Fox,” he posted on Twitter after the Bank of Canada’s call for nominations. Soon the hashtag #TerryFoxFiver was trending, and so it should be.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Canada’s seventh prime minister, has been on the fiver since 1972. He’s done his time, and should be retired. Among numismatists, Canada’s money is known for its vibrant colours and striking images – the Canadarm, a polar bear, the Vimy memorial, the double helix.
But the beauty and creativity is offset somewhat by the preponderance of stodgy old folks on our bills. Aside from Sir Wilfrid Laurier on the $5, there is Sir John A. Macdonald (PM No. 1) on the $10, Mackenzie King (PM No. 10) on the $50 and Sir Robert Borden (PM No. 8) on the $100.
Then, of course, there is royalty. Since the Bank of Canada began issuing bank notes in 1935, almost all our money has been adorned with stoic photos of the monarchy. The first series of bills featured King George V and Queen Mary, along with Edward, Prince of Wales, and Princess Mary, and then-eight-year-old Princess Elizabeth.
Since that time, the matriarch of the dysfunctional British family, Queen Elizabeth II, has been ubiquitous on Canadian bills and coins. In 2018, the Bank of Canada issued a new $10 bill featuring the image of human-rights pioneer Viola Desmond. She was the first non-white person, the first non-royal woman and the first non-politician/royal on a banknote.
That move earned the Bank of Canada kudos around the world. And we should learn a lesson from that experience: Keep honouring our heroes, not our figureheads.