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Canada announces plans to place King Charles on $20 bill, coins

The image of King Charles will eventually replace the queen on Canada's $20 bill and its coins, the federal government announced during Saturday's coronation events.
The Royal flag is unveiled by Samy Khalid, left, Chief Herald of Canada at the Canadian Heraldic Authority and Donald Booth, Canadian Secretary to the King during coronation celebrations in honour of King Charles III in Ottawa, on Saturday, May 6, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby

OTTAWA — The image of King Charles will eventually replace the queen on Canada's $20 bill and its coins, the federal government announced during Saturday's coronation events. 

A news release from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government has directed the Bank of Canada to replace the likeness of the late Queen Elizabeth II with King Charles III during the next design process. It has also tasked the Royal Canadian Mint with designing coins depicting the new monarch that will go into circulation.

The reigning monarch has appeared on paper money and coins since the central bank and the Mint since each began production in 1935 and 1908 respectively.

The announcement comes after speculation on whether Canada would follow the U.K.'s lead and honour the new monarch on its currency. Australia chose to go in another direction, opting for an Indigenous design for its five-dollar bill.

Canada Post also released its first regular-circulation stamp featuring King Charles as monarch. It continues the corporation's tradition of issuing definitive stamps depicting the Canadian sovereign, dating back more than 170 years.

The federal government honoured the coronation of Canada's new head of state, with a ceremony of its own in the nation's capital Saturday morning, which concluded with a 21-gun salute from Parliament Hill. 

Elected officials and dignitaries attended the ceremony in Ottawa with speeches, musical performances and special unveilings.

In a speech, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc spoke of the monarchy's place in Canada. 

"Millions of Canadians are witnessing the coronation of Canada's sovereign for the first time in a country that is radically different from the one that witnessed the last coronation," LeBlanc said.

"But as Canada evolves, so do its institutions, and so does the monarchy."

Leaders of federal parties, including the NDP's Jagmeet Singh and the Conservative party's Pierre Poilievre, were absent from the event.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Gov. Gen Mary Simon were in London for the coronation, along with a Canadian delegation. 

The Ottawa celebration included a diverse set of performers, including an Algonquin traditional drum group, the Eagle River Singers, and a fusion Celtic group from Charlottetown, Inn Echo.

Pure gold and silver collector coins from the Royal Canadian Mint that mark the coronation were also unveiled at the event.

Rideau Hall is open to the public this weekend for free activities, including viewing a recording the coronation ceremony and musical performances by members of the Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2023. 

Nojoud Al Mallees, The Canadian Press

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