Apart from its obvious practical use when on holiday in Canada, the Canadian dollar reveals important moments and honoured figures in Canada’s long and eventful past. However, besides our Queen and a brief smattering of noted females who were soon erased from the currency in 2011, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Canadian woman on the nation’s bank notes.
Now the Bank of Canada is to reinstate inspiring females into currency note designs after an online petition encouraged the organisation to embrace the iconic Canadian women who helped to shape the nation. The open call for nominations has met its deadline and the country waits to see which of the fairer sex will be shortlisted on their journey to find their way into our travel wallets in 2018.
Check out a couple of the nominated ladies we think are emblematic of Canada ahead of your next trip.
Native to Victoria in British Columbia, the artist and writer Emily Carr’s work was inspired by the Pacific Northwest Coast’s indigenous peoples connected to this province. While Carr did not receive the notoriety she later enjoyed until much later in her life, she is credited as being one of the first Canadian painters to follow the then progressive post-impressionist and modernist movements that developed in the 1800s.
In her twenties, Carr embarked on a journey to depict the Coastal peoples that influenced her paintings’ subjects, travelling to Vancouver Island where she was able to sketch the Nuu-chah-nulth people that had made the area their home. It was during her time in France at the turn of the 20th century that Carr’s style adopted its post-impressionism leanings, having been encouraged by the artist community she met studying at the Académie Colarossi in Paris.
Carr returned to Canada not long after, opening a studio in Vancouver before settling once more in Victoria. Today, Carr’s artwork has found a special place amongst the collections at Vancouver Art Gallery where visitors can see the expressive paintings for themselves, including the notable ‘Big Raven’ painted in 1931.
Often referred to as the “Lily of the Mohawks”, Kateri Tekakwitha is the first indigenous saint in North America. Originally heralding from the United States in the 1600s, Tekakwitha embodies Canada’s diversity and freedom to live a rewarding life no matter your background. Throughout her short life Tekakwitha simultaneously embraced her tribe’s traditional culture while having alternative religious views, converting to Catholicism late in her life.
In Tekakwitha’s informative years colonialism left its mark, with both her parents and brother falling victim to smallpox introduced by the French colonists. This force would later attack the Mohawk village where Tekakwitha lived, persuading the tribe to sign a peace treaty that would allow them to move Jesuit missionaries into the village to educate the First Nations in Christianity. Tekakwitha, welcoming these teachings, would help priest Jean Pierron tend to the wounded following a siege on the village despite her extended family’s distrust of the missionaries.
In the final five years of her life, aged just 19, Tekawitha travelled to Kahnawake – a Catholic mission in French-influenced Quebec. There she would live a pious life devoted to prayer and tending to the sick. Tekakwitha’s death has been attributed to many miracles as explained in the video below.
Image Credit: KMR Photography, BiblioArchives/LibraryArchives (flickr.com)