In 2018, Canadians could see a woman’s face on our currency other than the Queen’s. And two weeks from now, we’ll find out which one. The Bank of Canada has released a shortlist of five women ahead of the official announcement on December 8th when a winner will be chosen. One of these five women will end up on Canada’s next bank notes.
Viola Desmond, a black businesswoman turned civil-rights activist who, in 1946, was ejected from a Nova Scotia cinema and jailed for refusing to sit in the theatre’s whites-only section.
E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake), a poet and performer of the late 19th century who was the daughter of a Mohawk chief and an English woman.
Elsie MacGill, the first woman in Canada to receive a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering.
Fanny (Bobbie) Rosenfeld, a track-and-field athlete who won gold and silver medals at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, and went on to write a sports column for The Globe and Mail for 20 years.
Idola Saint-Jean, a feminist and pioneer in the fight for suffrage in Quebec.
How were these women chosen? After the Bank of Canada opened the call for submissions back in March on International Women’s Day, the bank ended up with 461 eligible nominees out of 26,300 suggestions from the public. Earlier this year, the advisory board whittled those names down to a long list of 12. Long-listed women who didn’t make the final five included artist Emily Carr, author Gabrielle Roy and Nellie McClung, one of the “Famous Five” who fought for Canadians’ right to be appointed to the Senate in the 1920s. In an online poll conducted by the Globe & Mail today, it appears many people either aren’t familiar with the 5 nominees, or disagree with the final choices. 22% of those who responded picked “None of the Above”.
Photo Source: Brantford Historical Society, Library & Archives Canada, The Globe & Mail
Poll Source: The Globe & Mail