When Hitesh Doshi, a Ryerson University architecture professor, noticed an error in the mountain scene on the back of Canada’s new plasticized $10 bill, he emailed the Bank of Canada asking for clarification. But he never expected the issue to go viral.
The image was supposed to depict Mount Edith Cavell, which is a part of the Rocky Mountains, but Doshi had recently toured the region and did not recognize the peak.
He says he inquired out of curiosity and simply wanted to know where the mountain was apparently depicted on the bill.
He was told by the bank that Mount Edith Cavell was located on the left side of the bill. Still unable to find it, Doshi contacted a mountaineer in Alberta who also confirmed that the peak was missing, among several others.
After about eight months of runaround, the bank corrected the design this summer without notifying the general public. They changed the name of the mountain on the website to the correct names of the depicted peaks.
The media found out about Doshi’s discovery in July.
“I did not expect it to go this viral,” says Doshi. “I was getting calls from ying, yang, everywhere.”
Doshi was interviewed by The Associated Press, The Toronto Star and various television and radio stations.
The reactions from the general public were divided, especially within comments on online articles.
Some individuals were glad about his discovery and praised his efforts, the majority of praise coming from the Ryerson community.
Others felt that the story was a waste of time and he should have found something better to do.
Doshi was apparently unaware of the comments and later found out about them through his children.
“For me it wasn’t about winning or losing. It was more about being curious and finding out what it was, and at the end of the day I did,” says Doshi.
He added that “the curiosity stemmed from two things. First, I study designs of Canadian bank bills. I began asking, ‘How are people and buildings represented on our coins and bank bills?’”
And second, he says, was his personal interest in geography, nature and hiking.
Doshi believes that his post on a bank note forum is what caused the rewrite. He says that the day after he asked the forum if they could spot the Edith Cavell peak on the bill, he received an email from the Bank of Canada. It said the mountains depicted on the bill were Lectern Peak, Aquila Mountain, Mount Zegel and part of the Victoria Park Ranges.
“I personally believe they wanted that mountain on that note, and they always thought that mountain was on that note,” says Doshi.
“But guess what, the notes came out and that mountain is not there. What’s the best they can do? They can only change the description.”
Doshi believes that the story was popular because it was historical.
He also believes it’s important that people know that if they work hard enough to right a wrong, they can effect real change.
This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on Sept. 10, 2014.