Not just the Queen: Leaside’s Agnes Macphail honoured on the new $10 bill

Canadian 150th 10 Dollar Bill

A woman other than Queen Elizabeth is now gracing the new Canada 150 commemorative $10 bank note.

Leaside’s own Agnes Macphail is sharing space on the latest paper note. Macphail represented the riding of Grey Southeast as the first female MP from 1921 (the first year in which women could vote) until 1940. Then, in 1943, she was elected as one of the first two female MPPs for the riding of York East, which included Leaside, and served until 1945, and again from 1948 until 1951.

Macphail was also the first female in a Canadian delegation to the League of Nations, and a strong advocate for the rights of farmers, miners, immigrants, prisoners and women. Her many accomplishments included the founding of the Elizabeth Fry Society for female offenders and the passing of equal pay legislation in 1951.

Rob Oliphant, MP and Ginette Petitpas Taylor at the Agnes Macphail house. Photo by Janis Fertuck.
Rob Oliphant, MP and Ginette Petitpas Taylor at the Agnes Macphail house. Photo by Janis Fertuck.

A plaque marks Macphail’s house at the corner of Millwood Rd. and Donegall Dr.

Quoting the famous Leasider, Rob Oliphant, the Member of Parliament for Don Valley West, said in a special ceremony recently that also featured Grade 9 and 10 Leaside High students: “Never apologize. Never explain. Just get the thing done and let them howl.”

Joining in the presentation were Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Parlia-mentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, and Filipe Dinis, Chief Operating Officer of the Bank of Canada. The Bank has been working on this new note for the last three years, and it incorporates many ideas gathered from consultations with the public. In fact, it is only the fourth commemorative bill in the Bank’s 82-year history. Along with Macphail, the note features two Fathers of Confederation, Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier, as well as James Gladstone, who was Canada’s first senator of First Nations origin.

The back of the bank note contains five scenes from across Canada, including a prairie wheat field and the Northern Lights. Also included on the bill are various symbols, iconic buildings and art work. Forty million bills were released on June 1, and, since the design will not be repeated, they will become instant collectors’ items. And especially for Leasiders, who recognize how Agnes Macphail helped to shape Canada.

About Janis Fertuck 109 Articles
Janis Fertuck is a retired English teacher who spent the last 30 years of her career at Leaside High School. She enjoys writing about the vibrant Leaside community where she and her husband have lived for 22 years. Her other favourite pursuits include a part-time job at a boutique on Bayview and volunteering with the Bayview Pixies.