Dominion of Canada $1 Notes
Aside from the 25 cent fractional notes (aka "shinplasters"), the $1 and $2 banknotes were the only other denominations to enter circulation in any significant quantity. For the first several years, $1 and $2 notes were "domiciled" meaning that they were redeemable at the Assistant Receiver General's office in the city specified on the reverse of the note. 1870 series notes were domiciled at either Montreal, Toronto, St. John, Halifax or Victoria, with Toronto and Montreal being the most common and Victoria being the rarest.
The initial 1870 series of $1 notes features a portrait of Jacques Cartier, taken from a painting that hangs in the Hotel de Ville of St. Malo, the port from which Cartier sailed on his memorable voyage to the New World in 1534. The $1 Toronto notes were heavily counterfeited, a problem which was attempted to be solved by the 1878 series.
The 1878 $1 notes were also domiciled, but this time only in Montreal, Toronto, St. John and Halifax. Like its predecessor, the 1878 $1 series had its problems, but this time it was due to "raising" the denomination to resemble $4 notes. This issue began the practise of using the portraits of the Governor General of Canada and his wife on the faces of Dominion notes. The raised notes problem was resolved by several design alterations. The revised version is shown here.
In 1897, the Canadian government transferred its banknote printing business from the British American Bank Note Co. to the American Bank Note Co. This requried that all denominations be redesigned, despite sufficient stocks of higher-denomination notes that would last for several years. The 1897 $1 note feature the Countess and Earl of Aberdeen and a logging scene in the centre. The Earl was Governor General from 1893 through 1898. The back of the note depicts the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.
In 1898, the $1 notes were redesigned and the colour changed to light brown to better distinguish it from the $2 notes. Several other minor changes were made as well, both on the front and back of the note.
Thirteen years later, the 1911 $1 Dominion note was released to circulation. These notes featured the popular Lord and Lady Grey. Earl Grey was the Governor General of Canada from 1904 through 1911, a term longer than usual. Because of their popularity, their period in office was extended at the request of the Canadian government.
The 1917 $1 bank note was the only note to be designed during World War I and not too surprisingly has several patriotic and military symbols. Princess Patricia, namesake of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, graces the centre of the note. Below, the portrait is flanked by flags and maple leaves. Princess Patricia was the daughter of the former Governor General and his wife, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. The issue date, March 17, 1917, commemorates the sailing of the Princess Pat's for England. As on all $1 Dominion notes since 1897, the back depicts the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings which incidentally burnt to the ground just one year earlier.
The 1923 Dominion of Canada $1 notes feature a large portrait of King George V but is otherwise similar in many respects to the 1917 issue There were over 218 million 1923 $1 notes printed before they were retired when the Bank of Canada was established in 1935 and became the sole note-issuing authority in Canada.
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