Bank of Canada unveils new polymer notes in space.

Like other denominations, bills will feature latest in security technology.

Canada’s new $5 and $10 polymer notes are literally out of this world.

Canadian Space Agency Astronaut and International Space Station commander Chris Hadfield helped public officials unveil the new notes from his perch more than 350 kilometres above the Earth’s surface last week.

Hadfield had managed to keep the new bills a secret for four months despite numerous earthly media engagements – he gave Canadians their first glimpse at the $5 polymer note, which features the Canadarm2, via satellite. The front of the bill features a portrait of Sir Wilfred Laurier, Prime Minister from 1896-1911.

“I try to inspire young Canadians to aim high. This new $5 bill should do the same,” said Hadfield while letting the bill float in front of him. “By giving prominence to Canadian achievements in space, this bank note reminds us that not even the sky is the limit.”

Chairman of VIA Rail Canada, Paul G. Smith, unveiled the $10 note at the Bank of Canada. The new bill features an image of the train winding through the Rocky Mountains, representing a feat of engineering that linked Canada’s east and west by rail. Former Prime Minister John A. Macdonald, who led the country when the railway was completed, is featured on the front.

“Not only did the railway contribute to Canada’s economic prosperity by moving people and goods across this vast land, but it also gave Canadians the means to seek new frontiers of their own,” said Smith.

The new $5 and $10 bills will begin circulation in November. They join the $20, $50 and $100 polymer notes already being used by Canadians.

Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney said the new polymer bills incorporate the latest in security technology while lasting 2.5 times longer than traditional cotton-based paper bank notes. He said that with sophisticated transparency and holography, the new polymer series bills are the most secure bank notes ever issued by the Bank of Canada.

Like the previous polymer denominations, the Bank of Canada will work with financial institutions, retailers, and manufacturers of bank note-handling equipment to ensure a smooth transition.