The first series of bilingual coins and banknotes enters circulation

Legislative amendments by the government require the Bank of Canada to issue bilingual coins and banknotes.

The portrait of King George VI was used on all denominations in this series except for the $100 and $1,000 notes, which featured former Canadian prime ministers.

Other changes included new colours and moving the portrait to the centre of the banknote so that the English and French text could be printed on either side.

The bill that would become the Bank of Canada Act sparked a vigorous debate in Parliament about the language issues because the coins and banknotes would signify a bilingual Canada. A majority of MPs voted for the new bilingual format, including a strong majority of English-speaking MPs.

Bank note image used with the permission of the Bank of Canada