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Value of Old Banknotes from The Bank of Ottawa, Canada

Old Money from The Bank of Ottawa

It is hard to believe, but of the 164 or so banks in Canada that issued currency, The Bank of Ottawa was the only bank headquartered in Ottawa.  Of course other banks had branches in Ottawa, but no other bank had its main office there.  The Bank of Ottawa was organized in 1874 by men who had settled the Ottawa Valley for its lumber.  The Bank of Nova Scotia ultimately purchased The Bank of Ottawa in 1919.  Bank notes were issued between 1874 and 1917.  Our guide below has more information.  Please contact us if you have something for sale.  We are interested buyers.

Bank Notes from 1874:

The British American Bank Note Co. Montreal printed four, five, and ten dollar bills in 1874 for The Bank of Ottawa.  Each note is dated as 2nd Novr 1874 and has a portrait of George Bryson and James Maclaren.  All notes are signed by Maclaren and they will also be signed by either P. Robinson or Geo. Burn.  All denominations from November 1874 are extremely rare.  Please contact us for details.
Ottawa 1874 4
ottawa 1874 5

Bank Notes from 1880:

The Bank of Ottawa issued five and ten dollar bills dated as 2nd Novr 1880.  There are a few high grade $5 notes out there and a couple of tens.  Those numbers make sense because 135,000 $5 bills were printed and 45,000 $10 bills were printed.  These are already very rare.  However, if you have a note with a blue “Winnipeg” overprint then you can expect even more money.
ottawa 1880 5
ottawa 1880 10

Bank Notes from 1888 & 1891:

Five and ten dollar bills were issued by The Bank of Ottawa and dated as Jan. 2 1888.  Twenty and fifty dollar bills were dated as Jan. 2 1891 or 2nd Jan 1891.  All four denominations are grouped together because all of them have an engraving of James Maclaren on them.  In theory the $50 note should be worth the most money.  In reality though these are all rare enough that any discovery would be significant and worth thousands of dollars.

Bank Notes from 1895 & 1900:

We are grouping five and ten dollar bills from 1895 and 1900 together because both years have the same design.  Each note has a portrait of Charles Magee on the left hand side of the bill.  The date say Jan. 2nd 1895 or June 1st 1900.  Five dollar bills are scarce from either year, but ten dollar bills are even rarer.
ottawa 1900
ottawa 1895

1903 $5 Bills:

Five dollar bills issued by The Bank of Ottawa in 1903 are the most common denomination for the year.  That does not mean that they are truly common or cheap.  The engraved date could be Jan 2nd 1903 or 2nd Jan 1903.  Each note has a vignette with a train and the Parliament Buildings.
ottawa 1903 5

1903 $10 Bills:

The Bank of Ottawa issued two different types of ten dollar bills in 1903.  The one we have shown below is called a large tint note.  The olive color is very strong and olive colored rays go all the way to the top of the note.  Most notes will have a less pronounced olive tint.  Both varieties are very rare.
ottawa 1903 10

1903 $20 Bills:

There are three different varieties for Bank of Ottawa 1903 $20 bills.  Notes can have an engraved signature of Geo. Hay, David Maclaren, or George Bryson on the right hand side of the note.  All of these notes are very rare.  Please contact us for more pricing information.
ottawa 1903 20

1903 $50 Bills:

We don’t immediately have a picture of a 1903 $50 bill available.  We can tell you that each note has an engraved portrait of James Maclaren at the front center of the bill.  Some notes also have an engraved signature of James Maclaren.  Others are signed by George Hay or George Bryson.

1906 $5 Bills:

These notes come in three varieties.  There are black and green notes with a signature of Hay or Maclaren.  There are also black, yellow and green notes with a Maclaren signature.  The first two varieties had 200,000 notes printed for each type.  Records show that 220,000 black, yellow and green 1906 $5 bills were issued by The Bank of Ottawa.
ottawa 1906 5

1906 $10 Bills:

All of these notes are dated as June 1st 1906.  George Hay signed 100,000 of these notes.  James Maclaren signed another 412,000.  There are a few different varieties.  All notes are rare though.  Please contact us for details.
ottawa 1906 10

1912 $5 Bills:

All June 1st 1912 $5 bills were printed by Waterlow & Sons, Ld London Wall for use by The Bank of Ottawa.  The logging scene on the front of each note is very popular with collectors.  Similar designs were used on five dollar bills in 1913 and 1917.
ottawa 1912 5

August 1st 1913 $10 Bills:

Two different ten dollar bills were issued by The Bank of Ottawa in 1913.  We are looking at the first variety which is from August 1st 1913.  Around a dozen of these are known to exist.
ottawa 1913 10a

1913 $5 Bills:

These are dated as September 1st 1913.  We see another great logging vignette on this bank note.  An engraved signature of George Bryson is on each note.  There is also a hand-signed name on the left hand side of each note.  You can see how beautiful the colors are on these when you can find them in high grades.  The 1913 $5 bill is actually the single most common issue from The Bank of Ottawa.  More than thirty are known to exist.
ottawa 1913 10b

September 1st 1913 $10 Bills:

This is the second type of ten dollar bill issued by The Bank of Ottawa in 1913.  These September 1st notes are slightly more common than August 1st 1913 notes.  Both notes show a scene with cows, but there are some obvious differences.
ottawa 1913 10 bill

1917 $5 Bills:

Don’t let the fact that these are dated as June 1st 1917 convince you that these are common.  Despite being the newest money issued by The Bank of Ottawa, these are actually very rare.  We know that 600,000 were printed.  However, antecdotal evidence would suggest that most of those were destroyed when the bank was bought out in 1919.
ottawa 1917 5


We buy all types of Canadian currency. We are especially interested in bank notes from The Bank of Ottawa.  These are some of our favorites.  They are colorful and many have great vignettes.  You might be surprised at how much money we can offer for some currency.  Send us an email with pictures of the front and back of your bank note and we will respond quickly with our offer.


Sample Bank Note Image:

Your piece of currency from The Bank of Ottawa could look similar to the one seen below.  There were about twenty different designs and denominations used.  So don’t worry if yours is different.  Contact us for more value information.