|Dollar canadien (language?)|
|ISO 4217 code||CAD|
|Central bank||Bank of Canada|
|Official user(s)||23x15px Canada|
|Unofficial user(s)||23x15px Saint Pierre and Miquelon (France) (alongside the euro)|
|Source||Statistics Canada, 2012.|
|1/100||Cent Invalid language code. and sou (colloquial) Invalid language code.|
|Symbol||$ or C$ or CAD|
|Cent Invalid language code. and sou (colloquial) Invalid language code.||¢|
Loonie, buck Invalid language code. |
Huard, piastre (pronounced piasse in popular usage) Invalid language code.
|Freq. used||5¢, 10¢, 25¢, $1, $2|
|Freq. used||$5, $10, $20, $50|
|Printer||Canadian Bank Note Company|
|Mint||Royal Canadian Mint|
|Part of a series on the|
|Economy of Canada|
|Economic history of Canada|
|Economy by province|
|Economy by city|
The Canadian dollar (symbol: $; code: CAD) is the currency of Canada. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or sometimes C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. It is divided into 100 cents.
Canada's dollar is the 5th most held reserve currency in the world, accounting for approximately 2% of all global reserves, behind only the U.S. dollar, the euro, the yen and the pound sterling. The Canadian dollar is popular with central banks because of Canada's relative economic soundness, the Canadian government's strong sovereign position, and the stability of the country's legal and political systems.
From the Canadian pound to the Canadian dollar
In 1841, the Province of Canada adopted a new system based on the Halifax rating. The new Canadian pound was equal to four US dollars (92.88 grains gold), making one pound sterling equal to 1 pound, 4 shillings, and 4 pence Canadian. Thus, the new Canadian pound was worth 16 shillings and 5.3 pence.
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 United States, had a desire to assimilate their colonial currency with the American unit, but the imperial authorities in London still preferred sterling as the sole currency throughout the British Empire. In 1851, the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly passed an act for the purposes of introducing a pound sterling unit in conjunction with decimal fractional coinage. The idea was that the decimal coins would correspond to exact amounts in relation to the U.S. dollar fractional coinage.
As a compromise, in 1853 an act of the Legislative Council and Assembly of the Province of Canada introduced the gold standard into the colony, based on both the British gold sovereign and the American gold eagle coins. This gold standard was introduced with the gold sovereign being legal tender at £1 = US$4.86 2⁄3. No coinage was provided for under the 1853 act. Sterling coinage was made legal tender and all other silver coins were demonetized. The British government in principle allowed for a decimal coinage but nevertheless held out the hope that a sterling unit would be chosen under the name of "royal". However, in 1857, the decision was made to introduce a decimal coinage into the Province of Canada in conjunction with the U.S. dollar unit. Hence, when the new decimal coins were introduced in 1858, the colony's currency became aligned with the U.S. currency, although the British gold sovereign continued to remain legal tender at the rate of £1 = 4.86 2⁄3 right up until the 1990s. In 1859, Canadian colonial postage stamps were issued with decimal denominations for the first time.
In 1861, the colonies of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia followed the colony of Canada in adopting a decimal system based on the U.S. dollar unit. In the following year, Canadian colonial postage stamps were issued with the denominations shown in dollars and cents.
Newfoundland went decimal in 1865, but unlike the Province of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, it decided to adopt a unit based on the Spanish dollar rather than on the U.S. dollar, and there was a slight difference between these two units. The U.S. dollar was created in 1792 on the basis of the average weight of a selection of worn Spanish dollars. As such, the Spanish dollar was worth slightly more than the U.S. dollar, and likewise, the Newfoundland dollar, until 1895, was worth slightly more than the Canadian colonial dollar.
In 1867, the colonies of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia were united in a federation called the Dominion of Canada and the three currencies were merged into the Canadian dollar.
In 1871, Prince Edward Island went decimal within the U.S. dollar unit and introduced coins for 1¢. However, the currency of Prince Edward Island was absorbed into the Canadian system shortly afterwards, when Prince Edward island joined the Dominion of Canada in 1873.
|Currency||Dates in use||Value in British pounds||Value in Canadian dollars|
|Canadian pound||1841–1858||16s 5.3d||$4|
|Canadian dollar||1858–present||4s 1.3d||$1|
|New Brunswick dollar||1860–1867|
|British Columbia dollar||1865–1871|
|Prince Edward Island dollar||1871–1873|
|Nova Scotian dollar||1860–1871||4s||$0.973|
|Newfoundland dollar||1865–1895||4s 2d||$1.014|
The Canadian Parliament passed the Uniform Currency Act in April 1871, tying up loose ends as to the currencies of the various provinces and replacing them with a common Canadian dollar. The gold standard was temporarily abandoned during the First World War and definitively abolished on April 10, 1933. At the outbreak of the Second World War, the exchange rate to the U.S. dollar was fixed at C$1.10 = US$1.00. This was changed to parity in 1946. In 1949, sterling was devalued and Canada followed, returning to a peg of C$1.10 = US$1.00. However, Canada allowed its dollar to float in 1950, returning to a fixed exchange rate only in 1962, when the dollar was pegged at C$1.00 = US$0.925. This was sometimes pejoratively referred to as the "Diefenbuck", after the name of the then Prime Minister, Diefenbaker. This peg lasted until 1970, after which the currency's value has floated.
Canadian English, like American English, used the slang term "buck" for a former paper dollar. The Canadian origin of this term derives from a coin struck by the Hudson's Bay Company during the 17th century with a value equal to the pelt of a male beaver – a "buck". Because of the appearance of the common loon on the back of the dollar coin that replaced the dollar bill in 1987, the word "loonie" was adopted in Canadian parlance to distinguish the Canadian dollar coin from the dollar bill. When the two-dollar coin was introduced in 1996, the derivative word "toonie" ("two loonies") became the common word for it in Canadian English slang.
In French, the currency is also called le dollar; Canadian French slang terms include piastre or piasse (the original word used in 18th-century French to translate "dollar") and huard (equivalent to "loonie", since huard is French for "loon," the bird appearing on the coin). The French pronunciation of cent (pronounced similarly to English as /sɛnt/ or /sɛn/, not like the word for hundred, /sɑ̃/ or /sã/) is generally used for the subdivision; sou is another, informal, term for 1¢. 25¢ coins in Quebec French are often called trente sous ("thirty cents") because of a series of changes in terminology, currencies, and exchange rates. After the British conquest of Canada in 1760, French coins gradually went out of use, and sou became a nickname for the halfpenny, which was similar in value to the French sou. Spanish dollars and U.S. dollars were also in use, and from 1841 to 1858, the exchange rate was fixed at $4 = £1 (or 400¢ = 240d). This made 25¢ equal to 15d, or 30 halfpence (trente sous). After decimalization and the withdrawal of halfpence coins, the nickname sou began to be used for the 1¢ coin, but the idiom trente sous for 25¢ endured.
Coins are produced by the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and currently issued in denominations of 5¢ (nickel), 10¢ (dime), 25¢ (quarter), 50¢ (50¢ piece) (though the 50¢ piece is no longer distributed to banks and is only available directly from the mint, therefore seeing very little circulation), $1 (loonie), and $2 (toonie). The last 1¢ (penny) to be minted in Canada was struck on Friday May 4, 2012, and ceased its distribution on February 4, 2013. Ever since, the price for a cash transaction may be rounded to the nearest nickel, though the penny continues to be legal tender. The Royal Canadian Mint has copyrighted these coins.
The standard set of designs has Canadian symbols, usually wildlife, on the reverse, and an effigy of Elizabeth II on the obverse. However, some pennies, nickels, and dimes remain in circulation that bear the effigy of George VI. It is also common for American coins to be found among circulation due to the close proximity to the United States and the fact that the sizes of the coins are similar. Commemorative coins with differing reverses are also issued on an irregular basis, most often Quarters. 50¢ coins are rarely found in circulation; they are often collected and not regularly used in day-to-day transactions in most provinces.
In 1858, bronze 1¢ and 0.925 silver 5¢, 10¢ and 20¢ coins were issued by the Province of Canada. Except for 1¢ coins struck in 1859, no more coins were issued until 1870, when production of the 5¢ and 10¢ was resumed and silver 25¢ and 50¢ were introduced. Between 1908 and 1919, sovereigns (legal tender in Canada for $4.86 2⁄3) were struck in Ottawa with a "C" mintmark.
Canada produced its first gold dollar coins in 1912 in the form of $5 and $10. These coins were produced from 1912 to 1914. The obverse carries an image of King George V and on the reverse is a shield with the arms of the Dominion of Canada. Gold from the Klondike River valley in the Yukon accounts for much of the gold in the coins.
Two years into the coin's production World War I began and production of the coins stopped in favour of tighter control over Canadian gold reserves. Most of the 1914 coins produced never reached circulation at the time and some were stored in cloth bags for more than 75 years until being rediscovered. The high quality specimens were sold to the public and the visually unappealing ones were melted.
In 1920, the size of the 1¢ was reduced and the silver fineness of the 5¢, 10¢, 25¢ and 50¢ coins was reduced to 0.800 silver/.200 copper. This composition was maintained for the 10¢, 25¢ and 50¢ piece through 1966, but the debasement of the 5¢ piece continued in 1922 with the silver 5¢ being entirely replaced by a larger nickel coin. In 1942, as a wartime measure, nickel was replaced by tombac in the 5¢ coin, which was changed in shape from round to dodecagonal. Chromium-plated steel was used for the 5¢ in 1944 and 1945 and between 1951 and 1954, after which nickel was readopted. The 5¢ returned to a round shape in 1963.
In 1935, the 0.800 silver voyageur dollar was introduced. Production was maintained through 1967 with the exception of the war years between 1939 and 1945.
In 1967 both 0.800 silver/0.200 copper and, later that year, 0.500 silver/.500 copper 10¢ and 25¢ coins were issued. 1968 saw further debasement: the 0.500 fine silver dimes and quarters were completely replaced by nickel ones mid-year. All 1968 50¢ and $1 coins were reduced in size and coined only in pure nickel. Thus, 1968 marked the last year in which any circulating silver coinage was issued in Canada.
In 1982, the 1¢ coin was changed to dodecagonal, and the 5¢ was further debased to a cupro-nickel alloy. In 1987, a $1 coin struck in aureate-plated nickel was introduced. A bimetallic $2 coin followed in 1996. In 1997, copper-plated zinc replaced bronze in the 1¢, and it returned to a round shape. This was followed, in 2000, by the introduction of even cheaper plated-steel 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢ and 50¢ coins, with the 1¢ plated in copper and the others plated in cupro-nickel. In 2012, the multi-ply plated-steel technology was introduced for $1 and $2 coins as well. Also in that year mintage of the 1¢ coin ceased and its withdrawal from circulation began in 2013.
The first paper money issued in Canada denominated in dollars were British Army bills, issued between 1813 and 1815. Canadian dollar bank notes were later issued by the chartered banks starting in the 1830s, by several pre-Confederation colonial governments (most notably the Province of Canada in 1866), and after confederation, by the Dominion of Canada starting in 1870. Some municipalities also issued notes, most notably depression scrip during the 1930s.
On July 3, 1934, with only 10 chartered banks still issuing notes, the Bank of Canada was founded. It took over the federal issuance of notes from the Dominion of Canada. It began issuing notes in denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $25, $50, $100, $500 and $1000. In 1944, the chartered banks were prohibited from issuing their own currency, with the Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Montreal among the last to issue notes.