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Birds of Canada Series Specimen Notes

On March 14, 1986, the Bank of Canada introduced a new series of banknotes. The new designs were launched that year with the issue of the $2 and $5 notes. No new design was prepared for the $1 note because of the Government of Canada's decision to introduce the loonie for wide circulation in Canada during 1987. Distribution of the $1 note ended after June 1989. The $10 and $50 notes were released in 1989 and the $100 appeared in 1990. The $1,000 followed in 1992 and the $20 in 1993.


© Bank of Canada - used with permission

© Bank of Canada - used with permission

© Bank of Canada - used with permission

© Bank of Canada - used with permission

A number of characteristics are the same as those on teh 1969-1979 issues. The notes were the same size and were initially printed on the same paper. The dominant colour of each denomination remained unchanged. The portrait subjects on the front of each denomination are the same as in the previous series, but the portraits are larger. A new portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was engraved. It first appeared on the $2 note and again later on the $20 and $1,000 notes. New portraits for the four prime ministers were also engraved.

The designs on the back of each denomination of the new series are completely different. They feature birds found across Canada as the main focal point in a landscape and a stylized background sky depicting the word "Canada".

To the right of the portrait on the front of the note is a small view of the Parliament buildings in Ottawa. Each denomination shows a different view or part of the buildings. The flag at the top of Peace Tower is one that would be flying during the period when the prime minister featured on that denomination would have been in office (or the red Maple Leaf flag for notes with the Queen).


© Bank of Canada - used with permission

© Bank of Canada - used with permission

© Bank of Canada - used with permission

© Bank of Canada - used with permission

The birds featured on each note are:

$2: The Robin
$5: The Belted Kingfisher
$10: The Osprey
$20: The Common Loon
$50: The Snowy Owl
$100: The Canada Goose
$1,000: The Pine Grosbeak

The quantity of notes printed for each denomination is:

$2: 1,773,400,000 before 1996.
$5: 2,227,730,000 before 2002.
$10: 973,920,000 before 2001.
$20: Almost 2,000,000,000 (still in-issue).
$50: Almost 375,000,000 (still in-issue)
$100: 320,050,000 before 2004.
$1,000: 6,380,000 before 2000.


© Bank of Canada - used with permission

© Bank of Canada - used with permission

© Bank of Canada - used with permission

© Bank of Canada - used with permission

Beginning with the $10 denomination in early 2001, the Canadian Journey series is gradually replacing the Birds of Canada series notes. The $2 and the $1,000 denominations have been retired and the $5, $10 and $100 denominations have already been replaced. The Canadian Journey series $20 and $50 notes are expected to be released by the end of 2004.

Contributor: gus5pin

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