Canadian five-dollar bill

Five dollars
Value5 Canadian dollars
Width152.4 mm
Height69.85 mm
Security featuresHolographic stripe, watermark, EURion constellation, tactile marks, registration device, raised printing, UV printing
Material usedPolymer
Canadian $5 note specimen - face.jpg
DesignPortrait: Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Prime Minister from 1896 to 1911
Design date25 March 2013
Canadian $5 note specimen - back.jpg
DesignCanadarm2 and Dextre
Design date25 March 2013

The Canadian five-dollar note is the lowest denomination and one of the most common banknotes issued by the Bank of Canada.

As with all modern Canadian banknotes, all text is in both English and French (see Official bilingualism in Canada).

Current note[]

The current five-Canadian dollar note, part of the Frontier Series, is predominantly blue and was introduced 7 November 2013, using the same technology found in the $20, $50 and $100.[1] The bill features a portrait of Canada's seventh prime minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier and hologram of the Mackenzie Tower from the West Block on Parliament Hill on the front; the back features an astronaut working with Dextre attached to the Canadarm2.[2]

The front of the previous note also features Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the coat of arms, and a picture of the West Block of the Parliament buildings, but in a different layout from the current note. The reverse side depicts children engaged in winter sports, including sledding, ice skating, and hockey; this is accompanied by a quotation from Roch Carrier's short story, "The Hockey Sweater":

Les hivers de mon enfance étaient des saisons longues, longues. Nous vivions en trois lieux: l'école, l'église et la patinoire; mais la vraie vie était sur la patinoire.

The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons. We lived in three places—the school, the church and the skating rink—but our real life was on the skating rink.[3]

In the image, one of the hockey players, notably a girl, wears a hockey sweater number 9 to honour Canadian hockey legend Maurice Richard, idolized in Carrier's story.

Yellow dots representing the EURion constellation can be found on the reverse side. This note features raised, textured printing as well as a special tactile feature (similar to Braille dots) to assist the blind in identifying the denomination. Security features include 'BANK OF CANADA' and 'BANQUE DU CANADA' visible only under ultraviolet light.

Series history[]

Series Main colour Obverse Reverse Series Year Issued Withdrawn
1935 Series   Orange Edward VIII Electric power allegory 1935 11 March 1935
1937 Series   Blue George VI Electric power allegory 1937 19 July 1937
1954 Series   Blue Elizabeth II A country scene, Richmond, Quebec 1954 9 September 1954
Scenes of Canada   Blue Wilfrid Laurier Salmon seiner BCP 45 in Johnstone Strait, British Columbia 1972 4 December 1972 1 October 1979
1979 1 October 1979 28 April 1986
Birds of Canada   Blue Wilfrid Laurier Belted kingfisher 1986 28 April 1986 27 March 2002
Canadian Journey   Blue Wilfrid Laurier Children playing hockey, tobogganing, and skating; excerpt from "The Hockey Sweater" by Roch Carrier 2002 27 March 2002 15 November 2006
2006 15 November 2006 7 November 2013
Frontier   Blue Wilfrid Laurier Canadarm2 and Dextre 2013 7 November 2013

Five-dollar coin[]

In 2005, the Canadian government polled its citizens on the idea of retiring the five-dollar note, replacing it with a five-dollar coin. The money saved in making the coin would then fund the Canadian Olympic team. Canadians resoundingly rejected and ridiculed the idea of a five-dollar coin.[4] Some pointed out the note's most recent redesign took place only four years prior, while many others were averse to the idea of carrying yet another coin in their wallets and pockets. Due to the overwhelmingly negative response, plans for the five-dollar coin were discarded. Instead, on 15 November 2006, the Bank of Canada released an updated version of the five-dollar note (issue of 2006) with updated security features, including a holographic stripe found in the rest of the series, and a watermark of Laurier that appears when held to the light.[5] These features replaced the iridescent maple leaves that were in the issue of 2002.

"Spocking Fives"[]

An example of "Spocking" using a portrait of Laurier from 1907, a similar portrait to the one used on the Canadian Journey Series $5-bill.

For years, Canadians have been known to deface certain ions of the five-dollar note by using ink pens to alter Laurier's features to resemble Spock, the Star Trek character portrayed by Leonard Nimoy.[6] In 2002, the Bank of Canada officially objected to "any mutilation or defacement of banknotes", which could shorten the lifespan of the currency. When "Spocking" surged in 2015 following Nimoy's death, the Bank reminded people that, while the practice is not illegal and the notes remain legal tender and "a symbol of our country and a source of national pride", defacing the bill could damage its security features and lead retailers to refuse them.[7] The 2013 issue of the note features an image of Laurier with less resemblance to Spock.

Polymer notes[]

In 2020, eight finalists for the $5 polymer bills were named to replace Laurier. They include Terry Fox, Crowfoot, Pitseolak Ashoona, Robertine Barry, Binaaswi, Won Alexander Cumyow, Lotta Hitschmanova and Fred Loft.[8]


  1. ^ "Vancouver is first city to see new plastic $10 bills". CTV News. 7 November 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Focus groups found Bank of Canada's new five-dollar bill 'too cartoonish'". National Post. 28 April 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "French-Canadian Writers: Roch Carrier". Athabasca University. Retrieved 5 February 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ $5 coin? 'Ridiculous'. CBC News, 22 August 2005.
  5. ^ Bank of Canada Issues Upgraded $5 Bank Note. 15 November 2006.
  6. ^ Tara McGinley (4 March 2015). "Bank of Canada Urges 'Star Trek' Fans To Stop 'Spocking' Their Fivers". Retrieved 14 July 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Koerber, Brian (1 March 2015). "Canadians 'Spock' their $5 bills to honor Leonard Nimoy". Mashable. Retrieved 5 March 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^

External links[]