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Canadian Million Dollar notes

Thanks to the RCMP for permission to include this text.

RCMP advises public to refrain from purchasing
the $1 Million paper novelty notes.

OTTAWA, Ontario— The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is asking the public to refrain from purchasing the $1 million paper novelty notes that bear a likeness to authentic Canadian bank-notes, as these notes may be in contravention of the Criminal Code.

"After thorough examination of the $1 million novelty note, which has been sold at various retail outlets in Canada, we found that this product may be in contravention of the Criminal Code because it bears a distinct likeness to actual Canadian currency," said Mr. Paul Laurin, Central Bureau for Counterfeits, RCMP.

"In light of this finding by the Central Bureau for Counterfeits, the RCMP deems it necessary to inform the Canadian public that producing, selling or purchasing novelty bank-notes that are similar in appearance to Canadian bank-notes may encourage counterfeiting activities," said Sergeant Michael Duncan, National Counterfeit Coordinator, RCMP.

Major retailers known to be selling the $1 million novelty notes have been contacted and are voluntarily removing the novelty notes from store shelves. "The RCMP will not actively seek out all retailers that sell the $1 million novelty notes, however, because the notes may violate the Criminal Code, we are asking for voluntary compliance from retailers to discontinue the sale of these notes," said Sergeant Duncan.

The RCMP acknowledges that the possibility of someone trying to negotiate this $1 million dollar note and other novelty bank-notes in Canada is minimal. Nevertheless, the concern is that such novelty items may decrease the credibility of Canadian currency. Eliminating the production and distribution of novelty paper items that bear a distinct likeness to Canadian currency also helps to reduce the possibility of counterfeiting and of the novelty items potentially being mistaken as legal tender in foreign countries.

"Under the Canadian Criminal Code it is unlawful to reproduce bank-note images and/or print anything in likeness of Canadian bank-notes. The RCMP wants to ensure that the public is aware of these provisions of the Criminal Code when considering the production, sale or purchase of paper novelty items that closely resemble Canadian currency," said Sergeant Duncan. The public should also be aware that the Bank of Canada owns the copyright on bank-note designs, which is governed by the Copyright Act.

For more information contact:

RCMP National Communication Services Branch
Media Relations Unit
Telephone: (613) 993-2999
Fax: (613) 993-1095
Web Site:


So far I've been able to identify 7 such notes. I've labelled one type "1991 Train" which was printed by the British American Bank Note Company (BABN) on currency paper using intaglio printing. It looks and feels like real money. It features a young sailor on the front, and a beautifully done steam engine train on the back. Note that the background says "MILLION". There seems to be two varieties , the original having a real Canadian Coat of Arms on it and the second one with a fake coat of arms, after the RCMP requested the real Coat of Arms be removed.

The next four notes all share a similar back design and are printed offset lithography with half-tone screening on a regular bond paper. I have not confirmed this yet, but it is my guess that the "Canada back" was an initial run of these bills. Someone must have objected because the "CANADA" text that is reversed out of the background on the back of the note is very similar to that of the Bird series. The background was changed to say "MILLION" and then the three version were produced. The released notes are also much more purple in colour, the paper has a grey cast instead of the original sepia tone and the printing is not as sharp and crisp as that on the "Canada back" version.

Sir John Thompson was the fourth Prime Minister of Canada. The only theory I've heard as to why Sir Thompson was chosen was that his full name was Sir John Sparrow David Thompson and there is a sparrow on the back of the bill. (Thanks to Stephen E. Smith for this tidbit.)

Finally, we have the new version done in 2001.

A while back I came across a "10 million dollar" note too. Unfortunately, I didn't win the eBay auction and the person who did never sent a scan of the backside. If you have or find one, please send along a scan.


1991 Train
(real Coat of Arms)

prefix is "JEC"


1991 Train
(fake Coat of Arms)

prefix is "MDI"

OK Non-negotiable

1999 Adult Queen

"CANADA back"


1999 Adult Queen

"MILLION back"


1999 Mature Queen

OK Non-negotiable

1999 Thompson

OK Non-negotiable

2001 Beaver

OK Non-negotiable

Banff Springs

This is clearly made by an individual.
It is printed
electro-statically (photocopier), not lithography or intaglio and does not have any marketing purpose.

OK Non-negotiable

$10 Million

 I have only seen one of these. If you have one, I'm interested.


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