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.

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

Just Posted

North Island College announces 2020 graduation award winners

North Island College has announced the award recipients for the 2020 Graduation… Continue reading

Couple opts for plan B for wedding in Courtenay

Pandemic restrictions prompt April Powell and Hayden Eely to change plans for the big day

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Point in Time Count indicates homelessness on rise in Comox Valley

BC Housing has released preliminary data from the 2020 homeless count for… Continue reading

Fisherman snags barracuda off Vancouver Island in rare encounter

Ferocious fish, not native to Canada, was netted and released in Alberni Inlet

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

The franchise was given the name back in 1933, when it was still in Boston

Most Read