History of Canadian currency

History of Canadian currency

Canada has an extensive history with regards to its currency. Beginning in the early 16th Century, items such as wampum and furs were actually considered currency. With the colonization of France and England, various coins were introduced in the 18th and 19th Century. In the 20th Century, it has issued many commemorative coins into circulation, temporarily replacing current coinage designs. For information on some non-circulating coins, go here.


Early 16th Century

  • Canada was inhabited by First Nations who traded in goods on a barter basis, therefore, currency was not used, except by the Ojibway, who used copper as currency.
  • Special objects, such as a copper shield, had special economic and social value. The Haidas of the west coast, as a measure of status and wealth used these.[1]
  • Wampum was also used to measure wealth and as gifts.[1]
  • Aboriginals traded furs for supplies with European settlers and were fond of silver objects.[1]

New France


  • The early French colonists bartered goods but also used metal coins like the 5-sol French coin circa 1670, but there was never enough hard currency.[1]
  • Silver coins were sent from France but were taken out of circulation by merchants. They used them to pay their taxes and buy European goods.[1]
  • The use of foreign coins was never legalized, although Spanish-American coins minted in Mexico would sometimes come in through secret trade.


  • The coin shortage had grown so severe that colonial authorities resorted to using playing cards.[1]
  • Playing cards were marked with the amount on the back and were given to soldiers as compensation. This practice continued on and off for several years.

18th century


  • Despite the continuing shortages for currency, playing cards were now banned as a form of currency.
  • Colonists had to make do with a 15 and a 30-deniers coin known as the mousquetaire. These gold coins were meant to pay soldiers and civil servants but did not stay in circulation very long. The name is believed to have come from the cross on the reverse of the coins, which resembled the crosses on the cloaks of the legendary musketeers.[2]

Gold Louis

  • The Compagnie des Indes Occidentales held a monopoly over the fur trade in New France. In 1721, they issued coins called the Gold Louis.[1]
  • These coins were not considered legal tender in France and local merchants refused them. Unfortunately, the coin shortage continued to be a very serious problem.

Card Money

  • Due to the continued currency shortage, the King of France authorized a new issue of card money in 1729. This was used until the fall of New France in 1760. The card money was printed on white cardboard and the size varied by denomination.[1]
  • From 1720 to 1760, other forms of paper money circulated, including treasury bills and letters of exchange. These surpassed the amount of card money in circulation.[3]

Sol and Double Sol

Another coinage that was used was the Sol (Sou). The sol was equivalent to the size of a 20th Century one-cent coin and was produced between 1738 and 1756. The Sol was rated at 12 deniers. The Double Sol was produced until 1764, although large shipments to Quebec and Cape Breton ended in 1756. The Double Sol was rated at 24 deniers.[2]

19th century

1800s: Spanish Dollar

  • The shortage of currency that had been experienced in the original North American colonies prior to the war of independence continued in the remaining British North American colonies into the 19th century. The economy was still dependent on the fur trade and coins from England. *Trade with various colonies plus the United States, resulted in an influx of additional Spanish-American coinage.
  • In Prince Edward Island, officials punched out the centres of the Spanish American coins and made two coins: the one shilling and the five shilling.[4]

Tokens and Army Bills

  • It took the public some time to trust paper money. During the War of 1812, the colonies issued army bills to finance the war effort. They circulated in large numbers and when the war ended in 1815, the British government redeemed the bills at full value. This restored trust in paper money, which led to the rise of banks.
  • Tokens, of which many were imported from England, served as coins during this period. Some tokens were anonymous in that they did not indicate the name of any specific merchant or institution, while others did.
  • Tokens offered a discount on purchases, similarly to Canadian Tire money in the 20th and 21st Century.

The Rise of Banks

  • In 1815, the British government redeemed army bills at full value.


  • Banks started to issue their own notes, which were guaranteed by their reserves of gold and silver.
  • One of the first banks to receive a charter was the Montreal Bank. It would later change its name to the Bank of Montreal after receiving its charter in 1822.
  • The Bank of Upper Canada opened in 1821. For a long time, it was the largest in the province of Canada until its collapse in 1866.


  • An imperial order-in-council of 1825 which was designed to encourage the circulation of sterling coinage in all the colonies, actually had the reverse effect in the Canadas. It had the effect of driving out what little sterling specie coinage did actually circulate. This was because the rating of one Spanish dollar to fours shillings and four pence sterling that was contained in the order-in-council did not represent a realistic comparison between the *silver content in the Spanish dollar as compared to the gold content in the British gold sovereign. When the remedial legislation came about in the year 1838, the British North American colonies were excluded from its provisions due to recent minor rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada.


  • Banks would start to issue more than just paper money. They would start to import tokens from England. The Bank of Montreal would import tokens and also had some tokens with their own name on it.
  • In an effort to impose order on the issuance of tokens (and purge the junk), three banks in Montreal, plus the Quebec bank issued a new series of tokens. Said tokens included the image of a habitant on one side and the coat of arms of Montreal, along with the bank name, on the other. These tokens were popularly known as Papineaus.


In 1841, the Province of Canada adopted a new system based on the Halifax rating. The new Canadian pound was equal to 4 U.S. dollars (92.88 grains gold), making one pound sterling equal to 1 pound 4 shillings 4 pence Canadian. Thus, the new Canadian pound was worth 16 shillings 5.3 pence sterling.


The 1850s was a decade of wrangling over whether to adopt a sterling monetary system or a decimal monetary system based on the US dollar. The local population, for reasons of practicality in relation to the increasing trade with the neighbouring USA, had an overwhelming desire to assimilate the Canadian currency with the American unit, but the imperial authorities in London still preferred the idea of sterling to be the sole currency throughout the British Empire. In 1851, the Canadian parliament passed an act for the purposes of introducing a pound sterling unit in conjunction with decimal fractional coinage. The idea was that the fractional values would correspond to exact values of the US dollar fractions. The authorities in London refused to give consent to the act on technical grounds. This was the last time that the imperial authorities in London ever questioned Canada's internal jurisdiction.


As a compromise, an act of the Canadian parliament introduced the gold standard into Canada, based on both the British gold sovereign and the American Gold Eagle coins. The gold sovereign was legal tender at a rating of $US4.86⅔. No coinage was provided for under the 1853 act. Sterling coinage was made legal tender, and all other silver coins were demonetized. Dollar transactions were legalized. The Government in London agreed in principle to a decimal coinage but held out the hope that a sterling unit would be adopted under the name 'Royal'. However, the Canadian authorities were determined to align with the US dollar and in 1857 the decision was made to introduce a decimal coinage into Canada in conjunction with the American unit.


The first Canadian coinage was authorized and executed. The coins were struck at the Royal Mint at Tower Hill in London and they portrayed the head of Queen Victoria on the obverse. They represented fractions of the US dollar unit and hence when this new decimal coinage was introduced, Canada's currency became aligned with the US currency, although the British gold sovereign continued to remain legal tender at the rate of £1 = 4.86⅔ right up until the 1990s. Also in late 1858 Canadians had made their own coins. When they did it wasn't long before not just Upper Canada was using the coins, but also Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island was also using the Canadian coins.


Canadian postage stamps were issued with the amounts denominated in dollars and cents.


New Brunswick and Nova Scotia adopt a decimal system in conjunction with the US dollar unit, hence bringing them into line with the Province of Canada.


Newfoundland starts to release its own coinage. In 1865, the one-cent, five-cent, ten-cent, twenty-cent and two dollar coins were released. It was a decimal coinage that represented fractions of the Spanish dollar unit that was used in British Guiana. This had the benefit of making one penny sterling exactly equal to two new Newfoundland cents. This was seen as a compromise between those who wanted Newfoundland to adopt the British system and those who wanted Newfoundland to adopt the American system. The Spanish dollar unit was slightly greater in value than the US dollar unit. This was because in 1792 when the US dollar was created, Hamilton at the treasury had weighed an average sample of worn Spanish dollars and the US dollar was defined, based on that average weight.

Newfoundland eventually became fully integrated into the Canadian monetary system in 1894 following the Newfoundland bank crash. The Canadian banks moved in following the crash, and the Canadian dollar was introduced.


The Province of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia unite in a federation entitled the Dominion of Canada. The three respective currencies merge into the Canadian dollar.


Prince Edward Island goes decimal and introduces a new one cent coin. Not long afterwards, Prince Edward Island joins the Dominion of Canada and its currency gets absorbed into the Canadian system.


International silver crisis follows in the wake of the decision by the German Reich to abandon silver and adopt the new gold mark standard. The USA goes unto the gold standard 'de facto', and both the US dollar and the Canadian dollar diverge from their one-to-one parity with the silver Mexican dollar.

Dominion of Canada

With the onset of Canadian confederation, the Dominion of Canada came into existence on July 1, 1867. While the chartered banks were still permitted to issue their own notes, the government undertook the effort to implement its own currency.

  • Canadian currency was decimalized with Confederation effectively making Canada leave the Sterling zone.
  • Canada issued a new series of coins in the following denominations: one-cent, five-cent, ten-cent, twenty-five cents, and fifty-cents.
  • These coins were legal tender in the four provinces that signed the Confederation Act: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

Dominion of Canada bank notes

  • The Dominion of Canada issued $1 and $2 notes in 1870. $500 and $1,000 notes followed in 1871, and $50 and $100 notes in 1872. A $4 denomination was added in 1882.

Chartered bank notes

  • The chartered banks were limited to issuing notes in denominations of $4 and over. This limit was raised to $5 in 1881.
  • Some banks circumvented the agreement by issuing notes in odd denominations, such as the $6 and $7 notes issued by the Molsons Bank in 1871. This meant that they could carry out transactions without having to use the government’s $1 and $2 notes.

20th century


The First Coin

At the opening ceremonies for the Ottawa branch of the Royal Mint, held on January 2, 1908, Governor General Earl Gray struck the Dominion of Canada’s first domestically produced coin. It was a silver fifty-cent piece bearing the effigy of His Majesty King Edward VII.


  • The Ottawa branch of the Royal Mint opened its own refinery. By year’s end, a record number of gold sovereigns (256,946) were coined at the new facility.[5]
  • A new monarch assumed the British throne. His Majesty King George V acceded to the throne in 1910 and his effigy would now appear on all coins minted in Canada.[6]


  • The second coin that was struck at the Ottawa Mint’s facilities was the large one-cent piece. This coin would be replaced in 1920 by a smaller bronze coin. This cent was now closer in size to its American counterpart.[6]

1922 Nickel

  • Canada now converts to a five-cent piece that is made of nickel. This proves to be an ideal metal for coinage because Canada is the world’s leading source of nickel ore.[7]



  • Canada abandons the gold standard and the Canadian dollar moves to a discount against the US dollar. A problem arises in Newfoundland which although uses Canadian currency was not a part of Canada at that time. The banks in Newfoundland were still obliged to redeem their notes in gold, and so trading in one direction between Canada and the USA began to take place through Newfoundland in order to take advantage of the arbitrage. This state of affairs did not last for very long because pressure was brought to bear on Newfoundland to amend its legislation in line with Canada's gold embargo. The new Newfoundland legislation took effect at the end of December 1931, and hence Newfoundland also abandoned the gold standard.
  • The Discontinuance Proclamation of December 1, 1931, transforms the Ottawa branch of the Royal Mint into the Royal Canadian Mint.

Bank of Canada

The Bank of Canada was created in 1934 and given sole responsibility for issuing paper currency in Canada.[8] The chartered banks still issuing their own bank notes were permitted to do so for another ten years.


  • The Royal Canadian Mint issues the first silver dollar in 1935. It is meant to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of His Majesty King George V. The coin’s reverse design is sculpted by Emanuel Hahn and portrays a Voyageur and an aboriginal paddling a birch-back canoe. The faint lines in the background are meant to represent the Northern Lights. This design would be utilized on the dollar until 1986.


On 11 March 1935, the Bank of Canada issued its first series of bank notes. Unique to the 1935 series were:

  • A $25 note, issued to commemorate the silver jubilee of King George V
  • A $500 note, a carry-over from Dominion of Canada bank notes.

This is the only Bank of Canada series that includes $25 and $500 bank notes.[8]


In 1937, new Canadian coinage is introduced. New reverse designs are introduced for the following coins:

Denomination Design Artist
One Cent Maple Leaf G.E. Kruger-Gray
Five-Cent Beaver G.E. Kruger-Gray
Ten-Cent Bluenose Emanuel Hahn
Twenty-Five Cents Caribou Emanuel Hahn
Fifty Cents Coat of Arms G.E. Kruger-Gray

New Banknotes

The 1937 series of bank notes saw the portrait of King George VI replace those of other members of the royal family on all denominations except the $100 and $1,000 bank notes, which pictured former Canadian prime ministers. Other departures from the 1935 series included colour variations and the location of the portrait in the centre of the bank note bordered by English and French text.[8]


  • A new silver dollar is issued to commemorate the Royal Visit of His Majesty King George VI and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. The reverse design by Emanuel Hahn depicts the Centre Block and the Peace Tower of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. The legend on the coin, “Fide Suorum Regnat”, means, “He reigns by the faith of his people.”



  • The Royal Bank of Canada released the last bank notes that were issued by any of the chartered banks.
  • Also in 1943, a new five-cent piece was introduced. Due to the shortages of nickel, owing its use for munitions, the Royal Canadian Mint adopted tombac, a type of brass for the five-cent piece. The composition of tombac was .880 copper and .120 zinc.[9] The coin was twelve-sided, so that the public could easily distinguish it from the bronze cent. Rather than the traditional beaver, the patriotic V for Victory (made famous by Winston Churchill and a burning torch were now used. The coin was designed by Thomas Shingles, the Chief Engraver for the Royal Canadian Mint, and the coin’s rim holds a message in morse code that states: “We win when we work willingly.”[10]


  • When India gained its independence on August 1947, the legend IND:IMP (Latin for Emperor of India) had to be removed from the obverse of all Canadian coinage. The legend appeared on all Canadian coinage since 1902.
  • Owing to the time required to produce new dies, the revised inscription did not appear until late 1948.[11]


  • War Medals: In honour of the service of Canadians during World War II, the Defence Department commissioned the Royal Canadian Mint to strike a Defence of Britain Medal and The War Medal 1939-1945. Both medals were struck in .800 fine silver.
  • Newfoundland joins Confederation: A silver dollar was struck to commemorate the entry of Newfoundland into the Dominion of Canada.[12] The coin depicts the ship called The Matthew. This was the ship in which John Cabot made his historic discovery of Newfoundland in 1497.


  • 200th Anniversary of Nickel Discovery: The bicentennial of the isolation and naming of the mineral by Swedish chemist A.F. Cronstedt is commemorated with a five-cent coin. At the time of issue, Canada supplied 90% of the world’s nickel supply. The coin features a hill with a smokestack in the middle.[13]


The first Effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II appears on Canadian coinage for the first time.

Devil's Head Banknotes

In 1954, the Third Series of Canadian banknotes was released. Significant changes to the design of Canada's paper currency gave it a whole new look that set the standard for the future.

This series caused controversy because highlighted areas of the Queen's hair gave the illusion of a grinning demon behind the ear. The term "Devil's Head" is commonly used to describe these bank notes. The Bank of Canada had both bank note companies modify the face plates by darkening the highlights in the hair. These modifications were made in 1956 for all denominations.[8]


  • To commemorate the centennial of British Columbia, a silver dollar is issued. With a reverse designed by Stephen Trenka, a totem pole is the focal point of the design with a view of the mountains in the background.[14]


In 1957, the Coat of Arms of Canada was simplified. At the suggestion of the Queen, the crown of Edward the Confessor was substituted for that of the Tudors. The changes were reflected in the 1959 fifty-cent piece. The new reverse was modelled and designed by Thomas Shingles.



The fifth coin in the series of commemorative dollars (the others being 1935, 1939, 1949, and 1958) recalls the centennial of Confederation conferences held in Charlottetown and Quebec City. The design is by Dinko Vodanovic, who was a winner of a nationwide competition. The drawing features the emblems of the four European nations who took part in the founding of Canada: France, Ireland, Scotland, and England. More than 7 million of these coins were minted.


The effigy of Queen Elizabeth II was updated. A new obverse was sculpted by Arnold Machin, and featured a more mature Queen wearing a tiara. The legend was also revised. The wording Dei Gratia was shortened to D.G. to save space.


Canadian artist and sculptor Alex Colville created six new designs to commemorate Canada’s centennial. The designs for Canada’s coinage is as follows:

Denomination Design Symbolism
Penny Rock Dove Spiritual values and peace
Nickel Rabbit Emblematic of fertility and new life
Dime Mackerel To represent continuity
Quarter Bobcat Embodiment of intelligence and decisive action
50 cent piece Howling Wolf To evoke the vastness of Canada
Silver Dollar Goose Dynamic serenity

Centennial Banknotes

Two series of $1 dollar banknotes were released to celebrate the Centennial of Canada. The scene for both banknotes featured the original Parliament Buildings which were destroyed by fire in 1916. Both banknotes looked the same but one had the Standard Serial Number, while the other was Double Dated (1867–1967)[8]


Scenes of Canada Banknotes

The main characteristic of the new design was the use of multicoloured tints beneath the dominant colour. This series was often dubbed the "multicoloured series". With the exception of the $1 note, the use of black ink was abandoned. Furthermore, the words "this note is legal tender" replaced the phrase "will pay to the bearer on demand," reflecting the fact that Canada's currency had long ceased to be redeemable in gold. The $1,000 denomination was not included in this issue.

Unlike previous series, the 1969-79 series did not have the same date of issue for all denominations, but rather the year in which the printing plate was produced. Originally, the Queen's portrait was to appear on all denominations. However, the Minister of Finance requested the inclusion of portraits of former Canadian prime ministers on the new bank notes to enhance national identity.[8]


The 25-cent piece for 1973 bears a special reverse designed by Paul Cedarberg (the Police Constable sitting on a horse in the design).[15] It honoured the RCMP for 100 years of service.


  • The Centenary of Winnipeg, Manitoba is celebrated on a silver dollar. The design consists of a large 100. In the first 0 is a view of Main Street in 1874 while the second 0 is a view of the same location, but 100 years later. For the first time, the nickel dollar and the special collector's issue of silver dollars had the same design.[16]
  • A unique error existed with the coin. On the reverse, the first 0 on the coin has a double yoke. An animal is shown pulling a cart, and the design has one yoke right near the neck of the animal. The error has a double yoke near the neck of the animal.


The 1975 Bank of Canada $50 banknote featured the Dome Formation from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Musical Ride.[17] The note enjoyed circulation for fifteen years before counterfeiting forced its removal from circulation.


Montreal Olympics

  • To celebrate the XXI Olympic Games in Montreal, the Royal Canadian Mint launches five and ten dollar coins. Seven series are created for a total of 28 different coins. Said coins are the first Canadian silver coins to feature face values of five and ten dollars. A one hundred dollar gold coin is also created, and this would be the first of the Modern Olympic coins to feature a face value of one hundred dollars.[18]
  • All medals awarded to Olympic champions are also produced by the Royal Canadian Mint.


  • In February 1979, the Government of Canada launches the Gold Maple Leaf programme on a three-year trial basis.
  • The Royal Canadian Mint’s Chief Engraver Walter Ott designed the reverse of the coin.
  • The coin contained one troy ounce of twenty-four karat gold (99.9% pure). The only other widely available gold coin in the world was 22 karat (91.6% pure). Three years later, the purity would be increased to "four nines" pure, eventually with some special issues at "five nines" purity.



  • The success of the Gold Maple Leaf results in Parliament allowing the coin to be produced on an ongoing basis.

O Canada!

  • A one hundred dollar gold coin was issued to commemorate the adoption of O Canada as the country’s national anthem on July 1, 1980. The reverse design is by Roger Savage and the coin is released in 1981.


A commemorative dollar coin is issued for circulation on June 10, 1982. It recognizes the patriation of Canada’s constitution and the creation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A total of 11,812,000 are minted for circulation.[19]


A commemorative dollar coin to honour Jacques Cartier is issued for circulation. It commemorates the 450th Anniversary of Cartier’s landing at Gaspé, Quebec. The coin was released on July 24, 1984, and a total of 6,141,503 are minted for circulation.[19]


The Birds of Canada Banknotes series was released. The 1986 series of bank notes was designed with enhanced security features to counter developments in colour-copier technology.[8]


  • The one dollar coin (known affectionately as the Loonie) is released as a cost-cutting measure.
  • The coin was minted of aureate bronze and was plated on pure nickel with an eleven-sided shape.
  • The reverse of a Canadian Loon at rest on a lake was the design of Canadian wildlife artist Robert Ralph Carmichael.

Calgary Olympics

  • To finance the XV Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Alberta, a series of ten commemorative coins were issued.


  • Based on the success of the Gold Maple Leaf program, the Royal Canadian Mint releases the Silver Maple Leaf. Each coin contained one troy ounce of 99.99% fine silver.


  • After a two year period of dual issuance and circulation with the $1 coin, the Bank of Canada retires the $1 note from circulation.[20]



The new effigy of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II depicts the monarch in her 64th year. The portrait was designed by Dora de Pedery-Hunt and was in use on circulation coins until 2003. The only coins past 2003 that still use this effigy are the Chinese Lunar New Year coins (the series reached its conclusion in 2009).

Canada 125

To celebrate Canada's 125th anniversary in 1992, 12 different quarters were put into circulation, one for each province and one each for the territories of Yukon and Northwest Territories. There was no coin issued for the territory of Nunavut, as it did not exist until 1999.


  • Along with the 1992 quarters, there was also a commemorative loonie for that year. The coin features people in front of the parliament building. One of them is holding a Canadian flag.


The 1994 loonies featured a cenotaph. In 1995, the Royal Canadian Mint issued a loonie depicting three peacekeepers.


The two-dollar coin was introduced on February 19, 1996, to replace the two-dollar banknote. The decision was based on the fact that coins lasted 20 years longer than banknotes.[4]

  • The “Toonie” features a bi-metallic locking mechanism, which was engineered and patented by the Royal Canadian Mint. The coin’s outer ring is nickel while the inner core is aluminum bronze (92% copper, 6% aluminum, 2% nickel). In 1996 alone, 375 million toonies were struck.
  • The reverse depicts an adult polar bear in the early summer on an ice floe. It was designed by an Ontario artist, Brent Townsend, who specializes in North American wildlife and landscapes.


A new round one-cent coin is introduced. The previous one-cent coin contained 98% copper (which was also twelve sided) but its composition was modified. Now that the coin was composed of copper-plated zinc, the twelve-sided one-cent coin became difficult to produce. Therefore, the round design was introduced to complement the new technology.


Holograms The Royal Canadian Mint celebrated the 20th Anniversary of its Gold Maple Leaf with a high-tech version. The bullion coin features a hologram, which is a first for the Mint. Its innovation consists of striking the hologram directly onto the coin’s surface, instead of producing and applying it in separate steps.[4]

Millennium In 1999, 12 quarters were issued, one for each month, to celebrate the coming millennium. Each of the 12 coins were selected from designs submitted by the public. The coins depicted a theme that defined Canada in the previous millennium, and was named after the month it stood for.

21st century



  • In 2000, 12 quarters were issued, again one for each month, that were to celebrate the new millennium. Once again, each of the 12 coins were selected from designs submitted by the public. The coins depicted a theme that defined Canada's hope for the new millennium, and was named after the theme.
  • The first coloured Canadian collector coin is released. “Celebration”, one of the twenty-four twenty-five cent pieces designed for the Millennium program, becomes the first Canadian coin ever to be re-issued in a colourized version. This special collector version was released in July 2000, and features a Canadian flag with a red maple leaf and side panels.


  • In 2001, Parliament passed a special bill creating a special silver three cent coin to commemorate the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the first Canadian postage stamp. Usually, the Royal Canadian mint has the authority to mint commemorative coinage on its own.
  • In 2001, a dime honouring Canadian volunteers was issued. It depicts a sun at the bottom, and the faces of three people at the top. To commemorate the international Year of the Volunteer, a total of 224,714,000 are minted for circulation.[21]

Canadian Journey Banknotes

The Canadian Journey series was released between 2001-2004. These notes are distinguished by new and enhanced security features, world-class designs, and a tactile feature to help the blind and visually impaired identify the different denominations.[8]


In 2002, a special 50 cent piece was put into circulation. The reverse of the coin shows the coat of arms of Canada, as usual, however the obverse features a unique picture of Queen Elizabeth II. This coin celebrates the 50 years the queen has been in reign.

As well, coins issued in 2002 are missing the mint date as it usually appears on the reverse ("tails") side. Instead, the obverse ("heads") side has a commemorative-style double date reading "1952-2002".


On June 2, 2003, an updated effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was unveiled. Introduced one year after her Golden Jubilee, the latest effigy features Her Majesty, without a crown. The portrait was designed by Susanna Blunt.


In 2004, two separate commemorative quarters were minted. One depicted a sailboat, which was to represent the 400th anniversary of Acadia.


To commemorate the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, the Royal Canadian Mint releases two numismatic products.

  • A sterling silver version of a five-cent coin with the popular “V Nickel” design from 1943-1945 was issued with the double date of 1944 and 2004. The coin was released with a medallion and packaged with a CD-Rom.
  • The second coin was a Silver Maple Leaf privy mark that featured a soldier and the date of D-Day: June 6, 1944.

Lucky Loonie

The first Lucky Loonie is released and serves as a gold luck charm for the Canadian Olympic athletes competing at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. A Sterling Silver numismatic version is issued as well. This coin is released two years after a Loonie was secretly buried at centre ice during the 2002 Winter Olympic games in Salt Lake City, Utah when the Canadian Men’s and Women’s Olympic Hockey teams skated to gold.

The Poppy

  • The Royal Canadian Mint releases the world’s first coloured circulation coin.[22] The coin features the Poppy, Canada’s flower of remembrance. The Poppy coin is dedicated to all 117,000 Canadians who gave their lives while in the nation’s service.
  • To meet the engineering and design challenges involved in producing this coin, the Mint perfected a high-speed colouring process that can generate thirty million coins. The process ensures that the colour adheres to the medal and resists day-to-day wear.[4]


Military Commemoratives

To celebrate the Year of the Veteran, two commemorative coins were released for circulation. A five-cent coin with the popular “V Nickel” design from 1943-1945 was issued with the double date of 1945 and 2005. A commemorative 25-cent was struck. Over 30,000,000 pieces were put into Canadian circulation. Various numismatic pieces were also released to commemorate Canada’s military contributions.

  • A sterling silver version of the five-cent 1945-2005 Victory Nickel was released with a medallion and packaged in a tin box with a booklet; depicting the VE Day Celebrations.
  • A six coin set featuring a fifty-cent face value were issued marking the various events of World War II, including: Battle of Britain, Battle of the Atlantic, the Raid on Dieppe, the Conquest of Sicily, the Liberation of the Netherlands, and Battle of the Scheldt.[23]
  • A five dollar silver coin (complemented by a fifty dollar gold version) to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the end of World War II was released.
  • A joint release with the Royal Dutch Mint honouring the Liberation of the Netherlands. The coin featured eight brilliant uncirculated Euro coins and one Canadian twenty-five cent coin with the same design as the Liberation of the Netherlands fifty-cent coin from the set mentioned above.
  • Two Silver Maple Leaf coins are released to commemorate VE Day and VJ Day. Both coins feature privy marks with the dates of both days.

Terry Fox

To commemorate the 25th Anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope, a one-dollar coin is issued with his image. This marks the first time that a Canadian-born individual is featured on a circulation coin.[24]

Alberta/Saskatchewan Centennial

Two commemorative twenty-five cent coins are issued to honour the centennials of Alberta and Saskatchewan. For the first time ever, the public is given the opportunity to vote on the coin design. Two toll-free phone numbers (1-877-884-5550 for the Alberta Coin and 1-877-884-5557 for the Saskatchewan coin) were established for voting. There were four different Alberta designs to choose from and three different Saskatchewan designs to choose from. The four designs were titled:

  • 1) Big Sky Country
  • 2) Alberta’s Natural Beauty
  • 3) A Dynamic Century
  • 4) Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

There were three different Saskatchewan designs to choose from.

  • 1) The Western Meadowlark
  • 2) Canada Geese over Wascana Lake
  • 3) The Round Dance Celebration

The winners for Alberta and Saksatchewan were: Big Sky Country (designed by Michelle Grant) and the Western Meadowlark (designed by Paulette Sapergia).[25][26] A total of 20,640,000 Alberta coins and a total of 19,290,000 Saskatchewan coins were minted.[27]


Breast Cancer

The world’s second coloured circulation coin was unveiled. The coin was meant to highlight awareness of breast cancer and was a twenty-five cent coin.

Lucky Loonie

The second Lucky Loonie coin is released. Like the first Lucky Loonie from 2004, a sterling silver numismatic version is featured as well.

10th Anniversary Toonie

The 10th Anniversary of the Toonie was unveiled at the Canadian Numismatic Association Annual Convention on July 21. The coin also featured the brand new Mint Mark (see below). To commemorate the Toonie’s Anniversary, a “Name the Bear” Contest was held with Canadians having the opportunity to vote for one of five names:

  • Churchill
  • Wilbert
  • Makwa
  • Sacha
  • Plouf

“Churchill” was selected as the winning name.[28]

Mint Mark

The new mint logo (not a Mint Mark), a symbol of the Royal Canadian Mint’s reputation for high quality and innovation, was added to all Circulation Coins on the obverse (heads of the coin) side depicting Queen Elizabeth II. A Special Edition Uncirculated Set was also released with all the coins featuring the brand new Mint Mark, with a limited mintage of 30,000 and an issue price of $19.95.


Vancouver Olympics

To commemorate the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Royal Canadian Mint begins to release commemoratives for the event.

  • The circulation coins feature 5 twenty-five cent coins honouring the various winter games sports. Said sports include curling, ice hockey, paralympic Curling, biathlon, and alpine skiing
  • Four different series of numismatic coins are released. The first series are $25 dollar Hologram coins. These are the first-ever Olympic coins to have a hologram on them. The non-circulating legal tender commemorative coins will have a face value of $25, a Canadian first.[29]
  • The second series have a face value of $75 coins. These are the first Royal Canadian Mint Olympic Coins to have selective colouring on them.
  • The third series were $300 Gold Coins and the outer rim of this coin features various faces looking at the inside of the coin.
  • The fourth series are one-kilogram coins. These are the first one kilogram coins to be released in the history of the Royal Canadian Mint. There is a silver version with a mintage of 1,200 and a gold version with a mintage of only 20.

List of recent issues

Please see Royal Canadian Mint Numismatic Coins for a complete listing

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Bank of Canada - Currency Museum / Banque du Canada - Musée de la monnaie
  2. ^ a b W. K. Cross (2005). Charlton's Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins (60th ed. ed.). The Charlton Press, Toronto. p. 6. ISBN 0-88968-297-6. 
  3. ^ http://www.teachmag.com/Mint_images/engpdf/rolltimeline_e.pdf
  4. ^ a b c d Royal Canadian Mint
  5. ^ W. K. Cross (2005). Charlton's Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins (60th ed. ed.). The Charlton Press, Toronto. p. 183. ISBN 0-88968-297-6. 
  6. ^ a b J.A. Haxby and R.A. Willey. Coins of Canada. The Unitrade Press, Toronto, Ontario. p. 25. ISBN 1-894763-01-7. 
  7. ^ J.A. Haxby and R.A. Willey. Coins of Canada. The Unitrade Press, Toronto, Ontario. p. 38. ISBN 1-894763-01-7. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Introduction- Bank note series, 1935 to present- Bank Notes- Bank of Canada
  9. ^ W. K. Cross (2005). Charlton's Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins (60th ed. ed.). The Charlton Press, Toronto. p. 89. ISBN 0-88968-297-6. 
  10. ^ J.A. Haxby and R.A. Willey. Coins of Canada. The Unitrade Press, Toronto, Ontario. p. 39. ISBN 1-894763-01-7. 
  11. ^ J.A. Haxby and R.A. Willey. Coins of Canada. The Unitrade Press, Toronto, Ontario. p. 27. ISBN 1-894763-01-7. 
  12. ^ J.A. Haxby and R.A. Willey. Coins of Canada. The Unitrade Press, Toronto, Ontario. p. 82. ISBN 1-894763-01-7. 
  13. ^ J.A. Haxby and R.A. Willey. Coins of Canada. The Unitrade Press, Toronto, Ontario. p. 41. ISBN 1-894763-01-7. 
  14. ^ J.A. Haxby and R.A. Willey. Coins of Canada. The Unitrade Press, Toronto, Ontario. p. 84. ISBN 1-894763-01-7. 
  15. ^ J.A. Haxby and R.A. Willey. Coins of Canada. The Unitrade Press, Toronto, Ontario. p. 63. ISBN 1-894763-01-7. 
  16. ^ W. K. Cross (2005). Charlton's Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins (60th ed. ed.). The Charlton Press, Toronto. p. 170. ISBN 0-88968-297-6. 
  17. ^ ”Mountie Money”, Christopher Boyer, p. 35, Numismatist, Volume 118, Number 9, September 2005
  18. ^ W. K. Cross (2005). Charlton's Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins (60th ed. ed.). The Charlton Press, Toronto. pp. 337–345. ISBN 0-88968-297-6. 
  19. ^ a b W. K. Cross (2005). Charlton's Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins (60th ed. ed.). The Charlton Press, Toronto. p. 171. ISBN 0-88968-297-6. 
  20. ^ http://www.bankofcanada.ca/en/banknotes/general/character/1969-79_1.html
  21. ^ W. K. Cross (2005). Charlton's Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins (60th ed. ed.). The Charlton Press, Toronto. p. 114. ISBN 0-88968-297-6. 
  22. ^ W. K. Cross (2005). Charlton's Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins (60th ed. ed.). The Charlton Press, Toronto. p. 135. ISBN 0-88968-297-6. 
  23. ^ W. K. Cross (2005). Charlton's Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins (60th ed. ed.). The Charlton Press, Toronto. p. 287. ISBN 0-88968-297-6. 
  24. ^ W. K. Cross (2005). Charlton's Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins (60th ed. ed.). The Charlton Press, Toronto. p. 177. ISBN 0-88968-297-6. 
  25. ^ Alberta's Centennial Coin - Alberta Centennial
  27. ^ Royal Canadian Mint 2005 Annual Report, p.38
  28. ^ www.mint.ca/toonie
  29. ^ ”Olympic commems to sport $25 face”, Canadian Coin News, p.1, Bret Evans, January 9 to 22, 2007

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