New high-tech Canadian $20 bill introduced in Kelowna

The front of the new polymer $20 bill. - contributed
The front of the new polymer $20 bill.
— image credit: contributed

For the Bank of Canada, Kelowna was right on the money when it came to picking one of five Canadian cities to announce the introduction of the country's new polymer $20 note.

After introducing new polymer $100 and $50 bills in Vancouver and Victoria respectively last winter and in the spring, the bank chose Kelowna to unveil the new version of the country's most popular bank note on Wednesday.

The announcement was made simultaneously with similar announcements in Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal, and on Prince Edward Island, said Bank of Canada officials.

The new $20 bill, the latest to be remade using polymer, a smooth, durable film, features the same new high-tech security features included on the $50 and $100 notes. They include metallic holographic portraits of the Queen and the Peace Tower in Ottawa, a large clear window, special numbering and borders, raised ink sections and a frosted maple leaf window. All the features are visible on both sides of the bill.

back of $20 billWhile the bill remains predominantly green in colour, it also features an updated  portrait of the Queen on the front.

The back, however features a picture of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France,symbolic of the bill's  theme of contribution and sacrifice  by Canadians in conflicts throughout history.

The memorial marks the Battle of Vimy Ridge during the First world War, a battle in which Canadian troops played a significant role.

Vimy Ridge was taken by Canadian soldiers in 1917 at a cost of 3,600 lives and 7,000 wounded,

Lt.-Col. Nigel Whittaker, commander of the Kelonwa-based B.C. Dragoons, spoke at the introduction of the new $20 note during a news conference at the Brig. Angle Armoury in Kelowna Wednesday. He called the Battle of Vimy Ridge a pivotal moment in Canadian history.

And he said he was pleased to see the sacrifice of Canadians in uniform recognized on the country's money

"It's wonderful that men and women of Canada's military are being recognized," said Whittaker. "It's fitting that they are being remembered on bank notes of a country that strives to be a force for good in the world."

Trevor Frers, the Bank of Canada's senior regional representative for currency in B.C. and the Yukon said the new polymer bills will last more than 2 1/2 times longer than existing paper bills, and are much more secure thanks to the high-tech security innovations that are used on all new polymer bank notes.

According to bank officials, while other countries also use polymer bank notes, the new Canadian ones are the first with so many innovative security features.

The $20 bill is the most commonly used paper note in Canada and currently there are about 800 million in circulation. An average paper note lasts about three years in circulation said Frers, meaning the new notes will save the Bank of Canada millions in printing because costs because the anticipated life-span of the new note is about eight years.

And they are very durable. Tests were conducted in numerous ways and at temperatures ranging from minus 75 C to 140 C to make sure the new notes would stand up to wear and tear and they passed with flying colours, said Frers.

The central bank will gradually replace paper $20s with the new polymer notes over the next two years.

Following the introduction of the new bills, bank representatives went to Orchard Park Shopping Centre to demonstrate the new bills to merchants.



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