Banknote display on campus brings to life artistry of our currency.

By Costa Maragos Posted: January 12, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Catherine Duffy – First year student in the BAC program examining the display as part of a class assignment.
Catherine Duffy – First year student in the BAC program examining the display as part of a class assignment. Photo courtesy of External Relations.

In the quest to make money it's easy to overlook the effort and artistry that goes into the design and printing of our bank notes.

You won't look at our currency quite the same way again after you check out an exhibition now on display at the Language Institute Building at the U of R.

“Voices from the Engraver: A travelling exhibition” is presented by the Bank of Canada and the Canadian Museum of History and hosted by La Cité universitaire francophone.

The exhibit "celebrates the technical skill and the sheer artistry that underlies every series of Canadian stamps and bank notes." The Queen and other famous people may grace our banknotes and stamps but the stars of this exhibit are the artists and technicians who have tirelessly and meticulously worked behind the scenes to produce works of art.

Browse through a great assortment of Canadian bank notes and stamps.

“This exhibit focuses on the art of engraving bank notes and stamps, but also presents the evolution of the iconography that celebrates all Canadian communities, resources and cultures. The exhibit also introduces the technical evolution in securing bank notes,” says Dr. Fadila Boutouchent, assistant professor in the programme du baccalauréat en éducation at the U of R.

Banknotes Exhibit
The exhibit features an interactive part with biographies of the engravers.

The exhibit includes watercolours, photos and drawings – from concept to final product. You’ll get an up close look at the tools used by the engravers and the printing plates needed to produce the art work and the intricate details of each banknote.

There are deeper meanings at play here.

The illustrations on banknotes celebrate Canada’s Francophone, Anglophone and First Nations Culture. As noted at the exhibit, our banknotes were bilingual (English and French) long before the introduction of the Official Languages Act.

Professor Fadima
Dr. Fadila Boutouchent, assistant professor in the programme du baccalauréat, helped bring this exhibit to the U of R.

“Our students need to better understand the bilingual context in which they live and understand the reasons for which they have to constantly maintain their efforts while learning in French in a minority context,” says Boutouchent. “I wanted students to learn about Canadian facts that celebrated both French and English cultures before the Act was established. When I learned that this travelling exhibit was already in the West, I thought that it could be a nice opportunity of learning for U of R students.”

The exhibit has attracted numerous school groups from across the city.

You still have time to check it out. All that cash and stamps are on display until January 25 at the Rotunda of the Language Institute Building.

There's no need to bring your own money here. This exhibit is free and it is open to the public.