Canada's Shortlist For The New $5 Bill Includes 3 Nominees With Quebec Connections

Will the new face of the fiver rep Quebec? 💸
Associate Editor
Canada's Shortlist For The New $5 Bill Includes 3 Nominees With Quebec Connections

If you're sick of looking at the same old images of Sir Wilfrid Laurier on your $5 bills, you'll be happy to hear that Canada's five-dollar banknote is getting a redesign.  

The Bank of Canada announced its shortlist yesterday after reviewing more than 600 eligible nominees. The criteria were: positive change, national icon, universality, uniqueness and relevancy.  

The eight shortlisted candidates are:

  • Pitseolak Ashoona: [c. 1904-1908]–1983
  • Robertine Barry (“Françoise”): 1863–1910
  • Binaaswi (Francis Pegahmagabow): 1888–1952
  • Won Alexander Cumyow: 1861–1955
  • Terry Fox: 1958–1981
  • Lotta Hitschmanova: 1909–1990
  • Isapo-muxika (Crowfoot): c. 1830–1890
  • Onondeyoh (Frederick Ogilvie Loft): 1861–1934

The minister of finance is set to announce the next portrait subject in early 2021. On the off chance the minister is reading this, we wanted to show some local love by rooting for the nominees with ties to Quebec. 

Did you know three of the shortlisted candidates have a strong connection to Montreal and/or Quebec? Can you guess which ones?

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Pitseolak Ashoona

This Inuit artist known for her "lively prints and drawings," according to the Canadian Encyclopedia, was born in the early 1900s while her family was en route from Nunavik, Quebec, to Baffin Island, Nunavut. 

Her work has been exhibited by local institutions, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, but she also has a more permanent home in the province. 

The tapes and transcripts from her interviews for Pitseolak: Pictures Out of My Life are stored in the Canadian Museum of History archives in Gatineau, Quebec. 

Robertine Barry (Françoise)

The first French-Canadian female journalist, Barry — whose pen name was Françoise — was born in Les Escoumins, Quebec and eventually moved to Montreal.

Around 1899, while she spent time living on Rue Saint-Denis, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia, she was visited by her rumoured lover Émile Nelligan, a Montreal poet 16 years her junior.

Lotta Hitschmanova

A well-known humanitarian, Hitschmanova founded the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada (now called Seed Change). She was born in the Czech Republic, but fled the Nazis and immigrated to Canada in 1942.

She arrived in Montreal with "$60 in [her pocket]" and "an unpronounceable name," as quoted in the Canadian Encyclopedia

She worked as a secretary for Wood Lumber in Montreal before moving to Ottawa.

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