Canada unveiled its latest plastic banknotes in dramatic fashion, with astronaut Chris Hadfield presenting the new robot-themed $5 bill aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The note features Dextre, a robotic manipulator; the Canadarm2, a robotic boom used for ISS maintenance and assembly; and former Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier.
The $5 note follows the release of the $20, $50, and $100 bills in the Bank of Canada's polymer series. The series is designed to reduce counterfeiting and cut production costs.
The Bank of Canada also showed off its new $10 polymer bill, which features Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first prime minister, and The Canadian, a passenger train that travels from Toronto to Vancouver.
In the 1880s, Canada completed what was then the world's longest railway, uniting the eastern and western parts of the country.
Canada's $20 polymer banknote entered circulation in 2012. It has a metallic portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in the large window, which is itself a security feature. It also depicts the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, which honors those who fought in the 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Poppy flowers, also seen on the note, are often associated with Remembrance Day, November 11, because they grew on WWI battlefields. The building on the lower left is Parliament's Peace Tower.
The polymer $50 shows an image of the Canadian Coast Guard ship Amundsen, an icebreaker used as a research vessel by oceanographers and geologists. The note also features William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada's prime minister from 1921–1930 and 1935–1948. The building below the metallic portrait is the Center Block of Parliament.
The polymer $100 salutes medical research. It features insulin, a diabetes drug first used by Frederick Banting and Charles Best in 1921; an electrocardiogram reading to represent John Hopps' pioneering work on the pacemaker in 1950; and a researcher at a microscope. Former Prime Minister Sir Robert L. Borden is depicted in a metallic portrait above the East Block of Parliament.