There’s Already Been a Canadian Woman Featured on Canadian Money

Princess Patricia graced the Canadian $1 bill in 1917.

Last week, finance minister Bill Morneau announced that there would be an “iconic Canadian woman” featured on the 2018 Canadian banknotes. On International Women’s Day Morneau stated, “It’s now been almost 150 years that we’ve not had a Canadian woman on our banknotes,” but this is not exactly true.

Numismatists pointed out that Princess Patricia, the popular daughter of a Canadian Governor General, graced a Canadian $1 note released during the First World War (1917). Princess Patricia was considered a Canadian citizen, even though she was born in England under British royalty.


(Photo courtesy of World Bank Notes & Coins.)

According to the laws of the 1910 Immigration Act, Canadian citizenship was granted to an British subject that had lived in Canada for more than three years. Only those who had been in prison or an asylum would be rejected citizenship during that time.

Princess Patricia, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, was a popular European socialite. After only six years living in Canada, her portrait was issued on the Canadian $1 banknote.

She was a young, progressive women, who eventually strayed away from her royal titles to marry a commoner. She also supported the cause of women’s suffrage, hiring a suffragist as her lady-in-waiting, much to the displeasure of the King and Queen. In Canada, she was extremely athletic, artistic, and even inspired cosmetic lines throughout the United States.


(Photo courtesy of Royal Photographers W & D Downey {PD-US}.)

According to T.W. Loveridge, Assistant Professor History at Royal Military College, “To all intents and purposes, she had become Canada’s own royalty.”

Princess Patricia was one of the first figures put on a Canadian bill simply because Canadians seemed to like her.
(Main photo courtesy of World Bank Notes & Coins)