Plastic $100 bills ready to be tossed into circulation
Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, right, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, centre, and RCMP Commissioner William Elliott unveil the new polymer bank notes in $50 and $100 denominations at the Bank of Canada in Ottawa on Monday, June 20, 2011. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Sunday, November 13, 2011 10:07PM EST
Starting Monday, Canadians will be able to line their wallets with $100 bills made of plastic instead of paper.
The Bank of Canada plans to start circulating its new $100 polymer bills on Nov. 14, the first phase of the country's transition into plastic money.
On the heels of the $100 release, slick new $50 bills will begin circulating next March. All remaining denominations -- $5, $10 and $20 -- will be released by the end of 2013.
Synthetic bills have been touted as a more durable and secure alternative to Canada's existing cotton-blend bank notes.
Holographic security areas and metallic images will be printed on the new synthetic notes, a move intended to battle bogus bill production.
"These new and technically innovative notes will go a long way to deter the threat of counterfeiting in coming years," RCMP Commissioner William J.S. Elliott last June.
Many small business owners have worried that the fraud-protection features will make the bills undetectable in some counters and ATMs, forcing them to purchase new equipment.
Bank of Canada spokesperson Julie Girard has acknowledged those concerns and said that "there's always going to be a transition" when new currency is introduced.
Aside from new security features, the bills are also expected to get a makeover.
Pictures that feature key moments in Canadian history are intended to transform the bills into what Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has called "cultural touchstones that reflect and celebrate our Canadian experience."
Images on the $100 bills pay homage to key Canadian innovations including the discovery of insulin and the invention of the pacemaker.
On its $50 successor, images of the Canadian Coast Guard ship Amundsen will be featured.
But not everything will change. The bills will still adhere to the multi-coloured template Canada has come to be known for -- even when its neighbours to the south compare it to Monopoly money.
Sir Robert Borden will remain on the $100 note, while William Lyon Mackenzie King will stay on the $50 bill.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives had pledged to shift the country to polymer bills in their 2010 budget.