COLUMN: Choosing a face to show the world

It will not be easy to select the face to display on Canada’s new $5 bill

The Bank of Canada is asking the public to choose a new face to grace the country’s $5 bill.

The question is whose face should replace Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

Would Gord Downie of the Canadian rock band, The Tragically Hip, be the best choice?

How about cancer research activist Terry Fox? His 1980 Marathon of Hope continues to inspire the nation.

Would outspoken sports commentator and former hockey coach Don Cherry be the best face to grace a $5 bill? What about pop superstar Justin Bieber?

Perhaps a hockey legend should be featured.

Other names could include Metis leader Louis Riel, social activist Nellie McClung or others who have played pivotal roles in our history and whose legacies can still be seen today.

While the images on the backs of our banknotes are quite varied, the faces on the front have been limited to members of the British monarchy and former prime ministers.

There is much more to Canada’s identity.

READ ALSO: QUIZ: How much do you really know about Canada?

READ ALSO: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

Our story includes European explorers and settlers who came to this land for a variety of reasons.

It also includes the relationship with Canada’s indigenous people. While this relationship is at time uncomfortable, it must be acknowledged.

Numerous scientific and technological developments have taken place in Canada.

And today, there are plenty of entertainers and celebrities from Canada, making their presence known on the world stage.

For the past several years, I have compiled trivia quizzes for Canada Day on July 1. Each year I am amazed at the diversity I see.

There are noted explorers, outstanding athletes, medical researchers, inventors, humanitarians, entertainers and more.

Even Superman and Bart Simpson have connections to Canada.

There’s a lot more to our identity than the British royal family and the 23 people who have served as prime minister.

But until 2017, our money has not reflected Canada’s diversity.

In Canada’s early history, a member of the British monarch would appear on all Canadian banknotes and coins.

Then, in 1935, two former prime ministers were added. Laurier, Canada’s seventh prime minister and the first French-Canadian to serve in that role, was featured on the $500 bill and Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, was on the $1,000 bill.

Since the early 1970s, Laurier has graced the $5 bill while Macdonald has been featured on the $10 bill. At the same time, the face of William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s longest-serving prime mister, was shown on the $50 bill and Sir Robert Borden, Canada’s prime minister from 1911 to 1921, was featured on the $100 bill.

Featuring former prime ministers in addition to British monarchs was a noteworthy change.

It was not until 2017 when the commemorative $10 bill included faces of people other than prime ministers and the British monarchy.

The bill issued featured Macdonald, Canadian statesman Sir George-Étienne Cartier, Canada’s first female Member of Parliament Agnes Macphail and Canada’s first Aboriginal senator James Gladstone.

And in 2018, the face on the $10 bill was that of Viola Desmond, who challenged Canada’s segregation laws in 1946.

The face chosen for the new $5 bill should reflect some of the diversity of Canada’s people or Canadian accomplishments.

Selecting this face will not be easy, and, some will disagree with the choice.

But the selection process could also lead to some important discussions.

Looking into our past and our culture to find iconic figures could remind us once again of the many things we all appreciate about Canada.

John Arendt is the editor of the Summerland Review.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP report woman arrested after ramming police cruiser

Suspect wanted for crimes allegedly committed in Kelowna, Salmon Arm and 100 Mile House

Axe throwing, road hockey among Salmon Arm food drive festivities

Fill the Pantry event wraps up on Monday, Feb. 17 with day of activities

Salvation Army’s Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser in Salmon Arm welcomes you

Make community connections while taking a walk and contributing to $35,000 goal

Letter: South Shuswap incorporation a foregone conclusion?

Writer overwhelmed with information at committee meeting

Snapshot: Valentine’s donations to Shuswap organizations

Shuswap SPCA, SAFE Society receive some love from SASCU Insurance

Kelowna’s Family YMCA opens doors on Family Day

The entire day was free for the community

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

South Okanagan woman reflects on prestigious win at Westminster dog show

“Polly” the Scottish deerhound was crowned best in breed and reserve best hound.

Wild weekend results in pair of losses for Salmon Arm Silverbacks

Away games ahead before Feb. 23 contest versus Cents at Shaw Centre

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

Sicamous Eagles’ playoff hopes dashed by Storm

Kamloops team wins 7-4 in Feb. 14 contest

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Most Read