B.C. author ‘thrilled’ historic Canadian woman will soon appear on bank notes

Victoria historian Merna Forster celebrates women on currency



The portrait of an iconic Canadian woman is set to appear on a new series of bank notes, and a Victoria historian says it’s about time.

Merna Forster has been writing letters to politicians and Bank of Canada governors for years saying that it is unacceptable not to have a single bill featuring the image of a female figure from the country’s history.

Her campaign includes an online petition launched in 2013, which has since collected more than 73,000 signatures, and an interactive website that allows people to suggest which woman they would like to see on a bank note.

The Queen is currently the only woman featured on Canadian currency and Forster says she was thrilled to hear the government announce that will change in 2018.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that the search is on to determine which historic woman should be featured on a new series of bank notes.

Forster, a Victoria-based author of two books on Canadian heroines, said she was in a state of disbelief.

“I must admit that I was getting discouraged, but I knew it was important and I couldn’t give up,” she said.

Still, Forster never imagined the fight to memorialize Canadian women on the country’s money would take this long.

“It’s just not right,” she said. “Women hold up half the sky. Why don’t they hold up half the bank notes?”

Other countries, including Australia, Japan and Colombia, have long had famous females on the currency, she said.

The Bank of Canada is now asking the public to nominate women deserving of the recognition through the bank’s website.

Each nominee must be a Canadian woman who demonstrated outstanding leadership, achievement or distinction in any field, benefiting the people of Canada, or in the service of Canada.

They cannot be fictional, and must have been dead for at least 25 years.

Picking a single woman will be the hardest part, Forster said. Over the years, she has received more than 400 suggestions, including everyone from suffragette Nellie McClung to singer Buffy Sainte-Marie.

Personally, Forster doesn’t know who she’d choose, but she said she’s hoping to see someone who represents Canada’s diversity.

Just Posted

City says traffic pattern on Bay Street Bridge will stay as is until October

Commuters began facing long waits on Tuesday morning after the east-bound lane was closed

Double lung transplant gives West Shore man second chance

Co-owner of West Shore Barber Shop grateful for every minute of the 16 years transplant has provided

Hallmark movie filming in Oak Bay

Shooting for ‘Sunshine’ continues into June across Greater Victoria

Home where Proctor murder took place removed from Langford’s Affordable Housing Program

Langford woman almost purchased home, decided against it after hearing history

PHOTOS: Victoria youth continue to gather for climate action

Local students participated in a global movement calling for climate action

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve investigating after sea lion found shot in the head

Animal is believed to have been killed somewhere between Ucluelet and Tofino

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Volunteers already rescuing fry from drying creekbeds around Cowichan Lake

It’s early but already salmon fry are being left high and dry

So, they found ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’

Dave Tryon, now 72 and living in North Delta, will reunite with long-ago travelling friends in Monterrey, Calif.

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Most Read