The central bank had promised that its plastic $10 banknotes included an image of majestic Mount Edith Cavell, a dominant peak in the Canadian Rockies south of Jasper, Alta.
But a sharp-eyed professor in Toronto, who had hiked the mountain with his nearest and dearest, believed something was amiss when the picture matched his memory nor his photos.
Hitesh Doshi contacted the Bank of Canada by email last November, shortly after the new $10 notes were printed, to say something was amiss. He kept getting the runaround until last week.
That’s when the central bank quietly shifted its website, removing Mount Edith Cavell and lots of other peaks in the official description of the back of the $10 banknote, replacing them with a lot of other peaks.
Furthermore, it sent Prof. Doshi a short email, finally admitting the error.
“One of the memorable things for me in Alberta was visiting [Mount] Edith Cavell,” he said of a trip with his nearest and dearest. “To us, it was a very memorable trip.”
But when he later examined the 10 banknotes, “the summit was not there,” said Prof. Doshi, who teaches architecture at Ryerson University. “This is where the whole thing started.”
Prof. Doshi contacted a mountaineer based in Edmonton, Eric Coulthard, who noticed some other discrepancies in the images of peaks on the banknote. For starters, there was a misidentified image of Mount Zengel, which the bank claimed was the Palisade and Pyramid mountains.
Eight months after Prof. Doshi’s initial questions, the Bank of Canada finally removed Mount Edith Cavell and Mount Marmot by the website description of the upper-left image of the hills, saying they’re actually Lectern Peak and Aquila Mountain. Mount Zengel is also properly identified, together with several other changes.
“I can affirm that we changed the description of the $10,” bank spokesman Alexandre Deslongchamps said Monday.
“Picture research was undertaken during the growth of the polymer [plastic banknote] series. The documentation error was caused by a misunderstanding about the information provided to the Bank of Canada by Canadian Bank Note Co. Ltd..”
Added Mr. Deslongchamps: “The bank has consulted with several subject matter experts to be certain we have a precise identification of the hills in our documentation for the $10 note.”
The mountain pictures on the back of the $10 note, which also supplies a passenger train, were based on commisioned panoramic photographs, with images later cut and glued to highlight certain peaks, rather than depict a real panorama.
“Selected areas within those pictures look at the $10 design, and are now properly identified on the bank’s website,” Mr. Deslongchamps stated.
The lender simply altered the site descriptions without a note to readers mentioning the alterations or the motives.
Edith Cavell, for whom the summit had been renamed in 1916, was an English nurse during the First World War. She was executed by the German army in 1915 for helping Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium.
The 3,363-metre summit in Jasper National Park formerly had a French name that translates to the Mountain of the Great Crossing (La Montagne de la Grande Traversée).
Vending-machine operators initially complained that the plastic $20 bills didn’t operate properly in their own machines. Critics complained that images of pioneering feminists, the Famous Five and Thérèse Casgrain, were removed from the old $50 bill to make way for the image of an icebreaker on the new, plastic version.
Some Canadians said they believed the odor of maple syrup was added to the bills, which the Bank of Canada denies.
And the bank came under fire when it was revealed the image of an Asian girl on a prototype of the new $100 banknote was altered to look Caucasian when focus groups complained about her ethnicity.