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

Hundreds of wax figures find new life in Saanich man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

UPDATED: Hit and run results in damaged fire hydrant, flooding on Richmond Road

Registered owner issued $360 ticket, responsible for repair costs

Peninsula Eagles will host Midget T2 provincial championships

Provincial championships will take place at Panorama Recreation March 15 to 19

Saanich’s senior race car driver not slowing down

Bill Okell kicks off 2020 season at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California on Feb. 21

UVIC to host brain health presentation at IdeaFest 2020

Integrative Lifespan Lab will teach residents brain health for free at IdeaFest 2020

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay Victoria man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

Most Read