As The Bank of Canada prepares to unveil its new polymer bank notes this week, documents reveal some people consulted on the new designs found them too “cartoonish” and out-of-step with modern Canada.

Focus groups consulted on the proposed designs thought the space motif of the new $5 bill looked “cartoonish” or “too-child like,” says a 2009 report commissioned by the bank from The Strategic Counsel, and obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

The new $5 and $10 bills are set to be unveiled Tuesday. They will go into circulation later this year.

Others examining the new $5 bill were perplexed over the images of the International Space Station, and of “Dextre,” the ISS’s robotic handyman.

“Dextre is not recognized -- although once explained, it is accepted as an element of Canada’s contribution to space technology that should be kept,” the report said. “The image of the space station is not recognized. It is confused with a concept drawing.”

Others complained that the train image on the new $10 bank notes is an archetypal image of Canada’s past.

“Significance of the image to Canada is immediately understood – participants acknowledge that the railway was key to linking Canada and played an important role in the development of Canada as a nation,” the report said.

"However, while the image is seen as attractive, many do not find it inspiring or motivating.”

The train motif also roused concerns with focus groups in Atlantic Canada, where many rail lines are no longer in use.

“The train no longer fully traverses Canada,” the report says. “In particular, those in the East feel that it underscores that their railway links have been decommissioned.”

The report suggested some felt the train image hearkened back to a grim period of the country’s history – the mistreatment of Chinese labourers who helped build the trans-Canada railway.

“For a few, (it) brings up human rights issues with the development of the railway.”

The Bank of Canada declined to comment to The Canadian Press on the focus group report.

This is not the first time the new plastic notes have raised the ire of focus groups.

The image of an Asian woman scientist was removed from the new $100 original design after some focus groups made comments about her ethnicity.

Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney later apologized.

With files from The Canadian Press