The weight of Canadian coins varies depending on the year they were made. Listed below are the most recent weights of the seven most common Canadian coins in grams:
- One cent (penny): 2.35 grams
- Five cents (nickel): 3.95 grams
- 10 cents (dime): 1.75 grams
- 20 cents: 4.65 grams
- 25 cents (quarter): 4.4 grams
- 50 cents (half dollar): 6.9 grams
- One dollar (loonie): 6.27 grams
- Two dollars (toonie): 6.92
Canadian half dollars are rarely used while Canadian pennies are no longer being made.
The Royal Canadian Mint
The Royal Canadian Mint makes Canadian coins in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Over a billion coins for everyday use are made by the mint each year. Each one carries a picture of the Canadian monarch, who is also the British monarch. The other side of each coin is usually an animal native to Canada. Exceptions to this include the schooner ship on the back of the dime and the maple leaf on the penny.
In the early years of Canada, people used British pounds, American dollars, Spanish pesos, and currencies made by local banks and colonial authorities. It wasn’t until 1867 that Canada gained the sole right to produce currency. The Canadian dollar became the official currency of Canada three years later in 1870.
The Royal Canadian Mint is renowned for its intricate coin designs, including special colorized coins.
Because Canadian pennies cost 1.6 cents to create, Canada’s parliament voted to stop making them. The second-to-last penny ever made was sent to an American coin collection society while the last penny was given to Ottawa’s Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada. From 2013 onward, no pennies have been made, and those in circulation are being withdrawn and recycled by the Royal Canadian Mint. Stores and businesses are encouraged to round sales to the nearest nickel.
The Canadian 25-cent piece usually comes with a caribou on one side and the Canadian monarch on the other. Emanuel Hahn created the caribou image in 1937, and while it’s periodically been replaced for special occasions, such as Canada’s 125th birthday, it continues to be used today. Like most Canadian coins, the quarter is made from plated steel.
Loonies and Toonies
While Canada used to have single dollar bills, they were phased out in the 1980s to save money. They were replaced with one-dollar coins that had been in limited use since 1935. Because this coin carries the image of a loon, it is informally referred to as a loonie.
Because of the success of the dollar coin, Canada released a two-dollar coin in 1996 that is often called a toonie. Where the one-dollar coin is bronze- or brass-plated steel or zinc, the two-dollar coin has an outer ring of either nickel or nickel-plated steel and an inner portion of either mostly copper or brass-plated aluminum bronze.
American Money in Canada
American dollars are often accepted by stores in Canada, especially near the American border and transit centers. Because the Canadian dollar is usually worth less or equal to the American dollar, United States dollars are often accepted at face value for small purchases. For larger purchases, merchants often check the exchange rate to know the exact value.