In May, the Bank of Canada unveiled a new generation of $20 bank notes adorned with a holographic image of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. The notes are constructed from a single piece of polymer instead of paper, making them a more sustainable alternative to the previous paperbills.

“These new polymer notes have very secure security features and are easy to verify and hard to counterfeit. People can use them with confidence,” Isabelle Jacques, a Senior Analyst with the Bank of Canada in Vancouver, says.

“They are more durable and last two and a half times longer than what we had in the past so they will be in circulation longer. They are also better for the environment because they’re polymer and because of that we’ll be able to recycle them at the end of their life. Basically the greatest benefit would be that we’re reducing counterfeiting losses because the notes have state-of-the-art security features. At the same time we are maintaining the public’s confidence in our bank,” Jacques adds.

The notes’ security features include raised ink and two transparent windows.

“They came into place to stay ahead of counterfeiting threats,” Jacques says.

“We always try to have the most secure banknotes out there. With these new bank notes we are basically upping our game from the security features. Some of them have never been seen. For instance, if you look at a banknote you’ll see a very large see-through window with a little metallic portrait. Such a large window has never been done,” she adds.

Jacques says that The Canadian National Vimy Memorial was chosen for the new $20 bank note, because “it represents a tribute to Canadians, both men and women, who contributed and sacrified in conflict through history.”

She concludes that, “the five and ten are coming out in 2013, but the designs haven’t been unveiled yet. We unveil the theme six months in advance.”

Polymer bank notes originated in Australia and came into circulation in 1988. Today, they are used in numerous countries including Mexico, Brazil, and Zambia.

In 2011, The Bank of Canada released $100 polymer bank notes. There are various YouTube videos demonstrating the durability of these bills. User theeyesofkaitlin goes to great lengths to try to make a tear in the bill before declaring, “honestly you just can’t rip it—and I’m trying really hard.”

The newly minted $20 bank notes will circulate this fall.

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