M19563 | Dominion of Canada

Dominion of Canada
1900, 20th century
6 x 11.5 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Currency (1)
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Keys to History

Until 1862, and the official adoption of the Canadian dollar, a variety of currencies were used in Canada.

French livres were widely circulated alongside British currencies such as pounds, shillings and pence, introduced after the Conquest (1759-1760). Other money circulating in Canada during this period included Nova Scotia provincial money, American gold and dollars and Spanish dollars. In addition, the Bank of Montreal and other banks printed their own money, and in 1858 the government began to issue its own bills and coins.

In 1870, the Dominion of Canada issued shinplasters such as this one, a 25-cent Dominion note. Shinplasters were intended as a temporary currency to counteract the effects of the surplus of American silver coinage circulating in Canada. Shinplasters were, however, reissued in 1900 and 1923, until finally being recalled in 1935 by the new Bank of Canada.

  • What

    This 25-cent shinplaster was printed on paper to counteract the effects of an abundance of American silver circulating in Canada in 1900.

  • Where

    This currency was printed by the American Bank Note Company in Ottawa for the Dominion of Canada.

  • When

    During the 19th century, individual banks printed their own bank notes. After the creation of the Bank of Canada in 1935, this practice was gradually discontinued, ending completely in 1944.

  • Who

    The term "shinplasters" may have been used initially in American revolutionary times by soldiers who used similar bills to pad their shoes.