Media Releases

U of T’s medical contributions to be featured on new $100 bills

June 20, 2011

TORONTO, ON – The University of Toronto’s historic contribution to the discovery of insulin for diabetes is one of the high-profile innovations being featured on the new Bank of Canada polymer bank notes being issued this fall. The $100 note will be issued in time for the 90th anniversary of the discovery of insulin by U of T’s renowned researchers Charles Best and Frederick Banting.

The note features images that focus on Canadian innovations in the field of medicine: from pioneering the discovery of insulin to treat diabetes, to the invention of the pacemaker and to the role Canadian researchers have played in mapping the human genetic code. U of T’s Wilfred Gordon Bigelow of the Temerty Temerty Faculty of Medicine was a member of the team that designed the first electric pacemaker in 1951 and helped pave the way for the modern implantable cardiac pacemaker. 

Sir Robert Borden, Prime Minister of Canada between 1911 and 1920, in an updated portrait, remains on the front of the note.

The Bank of Canada unveiled its new polymer bank note series today at its head office in Ottawa. Information on the polymer material and advanced new security features was released, along with the images and designs of the soon-to-be-issued $100 and $50 bank notes, and the themes for the remaining notes in the series.

Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty and RCMP Commissioner William J. S. Elliott joined Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney for the unveiling ceremony.

Minister Flaherty spoke of the importance of cash as a means of payment in the daily lives of Canadians, adding this is why it is important Canadians see their story reflected in the designs.

“These bank notes evoke the country’s spirit of innovation, and their designs celebrate Canada’s achievements at home, around the world and in space,” Flaherty said. “Bank notes are cultural touchstones that reflect and celebrate our Canadian experience.”

The $100 note will be issued in November 2011. A new $50 note, which will be issued in March of 2012, features images of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Amundsen in the North, reflecting Canada’s leading role in Arctic research. It also evokes the part that Canada’s northern frontier—with its vastness and splendour—has played in shaping our cultural identity. An updated portrait of William Lyon Mackenzie King, the Canadian Prime Minister between 1921 and 1930 and again from 1935 to 1948, is on the front of the note.

The notes will contain a number of unique features that expand the frontiers of bank note security and will make them difficult to counterfeit but easy to check. Most prominent are two transparent areas: the larger area extends from the top to the bottom of the note and contains complex holographic features; the other is in the shape of a maple leaf.

“The Bank’s objective with every new series is to produce a bank note that Canadians can use with the highest confidence,” said Governor Mark Carney. “The Bank is combining innovative technologies from around the world with Canadian ingenuity to create a unique series of bank notes that is more secure, economic and better for the environment.”

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University of Toronto Media Relations