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‘Truly banknote-able’: Canadians to choose a new face for the $5 bill

Sir Wilfrid Laurier is shown on Canada's current $5 polymer bank note.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier is shown on Canada's current $5 polymer bank note. Flickr/Bank of Canada

Step aside, Sir Wilfrid Laurier. The Bank of Canada wants to put a new face on the $5 bill, and it needs Canadians’ help to make the decision.

Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz announced Thursday that public consultations will soon get underway to pick a new person for the next $5 banknote. The bank wants Canadians to help it replace Laurier, the current face of the $5 bill and Canada’s first francophone prime minister.

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“This will be similar to the public consultations that led to the selection of Viola Desmond for the $10 note,” Poloz said in a speech at the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade on Thursday.

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“This time we will be asking all Canadians to nominate any historic Canadian — someone who is truly banknote-able.”

‘The Morning Show’ hosts question which Canadian should be on the $5 bill
‘The Morning Show’ hosts question which Canadian should be on the $5 bill

The $10 bill featuring Desmond’s face went into circulation in November 2018. It was the first banknote with a Canadian woman on it, and it was later named the banknote of the year by the International Bank Note Society.

The public consultation process is expected to open in late January, but Canadians are already flooding social media with suggestions.

Canada’s new $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond officially enters circulation
Canada’s new $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond officially enters circulation

Some of the more popular candidates include Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox and Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie, both of whom died after inspiring battles with cancer.

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Several users were excited by the idea of putting Downie on the bill, if only for the nickname.

“Putting Gord Downie on the $5 bill or coin and calling it a ‘Gordie’ could perhaps be the most Canadian thing ever,” one person tweeted.

Others called for the Bank of Canada to choose a woman for the $5 bill, just as it chose Desmond for the $10 note.

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Several others recommended sports heroes such as the NBA championship-winning Toronto Raptors or hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. However, those might be long shots, because most of the Raptors are not Canadian and Gretzky hasn’t lived in Canada for decades.

The Bank of Canada is expected to run the nomination process through its website later this month.

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