The main headquarters of the Bank of Canada stands across from the Parliamentary precinct downtown. The Bank is a government Crown corporation which formulates Canadian monetary policy, promotes the stability of the economy, and oversees the issuing of banknotes. In the background of these shots, the Confederation Block of Parliament looms in the background.
The building had a currency museum inside for years. Several years ago the building underwent some work, and one of the projects included this terrace area on the east side, with its triangular shapes. This terrace is actually the entrance for the newly reconstituted Bank of Canada Museum, a small museum which lies below street level, but one well worth visiting.
The first thing item one sees after entering is this object alongside the staircase down (there is, of course, an elevator). This view from below shows it in full, about two metres tall. This is a Rai, once used on the Pacific island of Yap as currency. Rai are stone circles that range in size from a few centimetres to four metres, and this is the largest known outside of Yap. Obviously the big ones could not be moved when traded, so they would stay in place when changing ownership. The panel nearby indicated that these were quarried on Palau and taken by raft to Yap 500 kilometres away. These days the American dollar is the currency of use in Yap, while the Rai are occasionally used in a ceremonial way.
A temporary exhibit is going on in the museum. Last year a new version of our ten dollar bill went into circulation, a vertical bill honouring Viola Desmond, a civil rights pioneer on the one side, and a design centred on the Canadian Museum For Human Rights on the other. The exhibit details both.
This museum takes the presence of children into account, and so in this area are two tables for kids to put together a puzzle version of the bill- both sides, in fact- while their parents are looking at the panels.
Viola Desmond was the final choice for a Canadian born woman on currency, which had started with 461 unique nominees from public consultation. That list was narrowed down to twelve, then to five, before the Finance Minister selected the final choice.
The other eleven were worthy of the honour, including artists, authors, athletes, political figures, and activists, with French, English, and indigenous choices among them. Emily Carr, Gabrielle Roy, Lucy Maud Montgomery, and Therese Casgrain were some of them.
Here we see a mix of images of Viola Desmond.
The other side of the new bill is occupied by imagery that includes the Museum For Human Rights, the eagle feather (a nod towards the First Nations), and a portion of the Charter of Human Rights And Freedoms. I will be picking up with more of this tomorrow.