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Bank Notes

Bank Note Series, 1935 to present

2001-2004 Series, Canadian Journey



2004 Canadian \$50 Bank Note

Security features of this note

2004 Canadian \$50 Bank Note

Description of thematic design features

Issue date: 17 November 2004
Size: 152.4 x 69.85 mm (6.0 x 2.75 inches)
Predominant colour: Red


Date on bank note: 2004
Signatures: Left - W.P. Jenkins
Right - D.A. Dodge
Portrait: The $50 note portrait and watermark are of William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada's longest-serving prime minister. He held power for almost 22 years, from 1921 to 1926, from 1926 to 1930, and from 1935 to 1948. Under King's administration, the Government of Canada introduced unemployment insurance in 1940 and the family allowance in 1944. Mackenzie King is also remembered for his support of the Famous Five in their historic appeal to the British Privy Council, then Canada's highest court of appeal, and for appointing the first woman, Cairine Wilson, to the Senate in 1930.
Part of the Canadian Journey series featuring Canada's history, culture, and achievements, the theme of the new $50 note celebrates Nation Building, with an emphasis on the shaping of the political, legal, and social structures for democracy and equality.

Nation Building

This theme may immediately summon images of building the railway, or other enormous efforts invested in creating the well-established infrastructure that allows Canadians to travel and communicate with one another. However, the back of the note features Thérèse Casgrain and the Famous Five, chosen to illustrate the note's theme by celebrating Canadians who have campaigned for the rights and freedoms that every citizen of Canada now enjoys.

In 1951, Thérèse Casgrain became the first woman to head a political party in Quebec, and in 1970, she was appointed to the Senate. The Thérèse Casgrain Volunteer Award depicted on the note commemorates Mme Casgrain's lifelong campaign for consumer rights, women's rights, world peace, and social justice, and recognizes the voluntary contributions of men and women whose pioneering spirit and social commitment have contributed to improving the well-being of their fellow citizens. This annual award, presented by the Government of Canada, through Social Development Canada, is given to individuals with lifetime achievements as volunteers.

The Famous Five – Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Henrietta Muir Edwards, and Louise McKinney – triumphed in the "Persons" Case – one of the most famous cases in Canadian legal history and one that had a profound impact throughout the British Commonwealth. On 18 October 1929, the British Privy Council declared that women are persons, thus making them eligible to be summoned to and become members of the Senate of Canada. Depicted on the note is the statue of the Famous Five, which can be seen on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, and on Olympic Plaza in Calgary, Alberta.

The quotation featured on the back of the note, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights" is from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first draft of which was written by New Brunswick native John Peters Humphrey. Mr. Humphrey was also instrumental in finding solutions for many Canadian and international human rights problems. He helped to launch Amnesty International Canada and to create the Canadian Human Rights Foundation. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1974.

More information about this note.

2001-04 series $5 - upgraded 2001-04 series $5 2001-04 series $10 - upgraded 2001-04 series $10 - original 2001-04 series $20 2004 $50 2004 $100

1986 | Commemorative Notes