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The Canadian Loonie Brass-clad One Dollar Coin with History

The Canadian dollar is the 7th most traded currency in the world, and the Canadian Loonie is the coin of the realm. This bronze electroplated coin feature on the reverse a Loon and the name “Loonie” became so beloved that on March 15, 2006 the Royal Canadian Mint secured the rights to the name "Loonie."

The Loonie is an 11-sided coin, 91.5% nickel and electroplated with a bronze (copper & tin) coating called “aureate” to give it the familiar bronze color. The aureate is comprised of 88% copper and 12% tin.

Introduced in the year 1987, the 'loonie' coin was intended to replace the Voyageur Dollar coin but fate had other plans. The dies for the replacement Voyageur theme dollar coin were lost by the courier service en route to the Royal Canadian Mint (Winnipeg) and to prevent counterfeiting of the coin with the missing dies, the new design was used instead. The new design featured the bird called a "loon."

Voyageur Dollar Coin (Canada)

Voyageur Dollar Coin (Canada)

(image source)

Circulation in silver from 1935 to 1966, and as a commemorative coin it was re-issued in the year 2003. A version of Voyageur was struck in the rate of a nickel from 1968 through 1987, the latter being the year the Loonie dollar was introduced. So beloved was the ‘Loonie” coin that when the two dollar coin was introduced in February 19, 1996, the name had to be similar. Thus, the Toonie (also spelled Tooney or Twoney) was born.

Canadian Loonie (one dollar) brass-coated coins

(image by author)

To date there have been 8 additional different reverse images on the Loonie coin, and a new design scheduled for this year (2010.) Sourced from Wikipedia:

  • 1992, the image featured the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation, the process by which the federal Dominion of Canada was formed.
  • 1994, Remembrance Design. This Loonie featured an image of the National War Memorial in Ottawa
  • 1995, Peacekeeping Monument Loonie. This is a monument on Ottawa (the capital city of Canada) commemorating the soldiers who have participated and are currently participating, both living and dead.
  • 2004, Olympic Lucky Loonie. This is a bit of legend here in Canada. For the 2002 Winter Olympics, the icemaker for the ice hockey tournament buried a Loonie coin under the ice. This was only intended to be a marker for the puck-drop. Both the men's and the women';s hockey teams would go on to win gold in the games, exactly 50 years after the last gold had been won in the sport. After the Games were over, Team Canada Executive Director and hockey great Wayne Gretzky retrieved the coin from the ice arena and presented this first "Lucky Loonie" to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
  • 2005, Terry Fox Loonie Dollar. Humanitarian, athlete and cancer activist, he attempted a cross-Canada run with one prosthetic leg to raise awareness and raise money for cancer research. He was unsuccessful with is Cross Canada trek but he did raise awareness of cancer research and the Terry Fox Run (founded in 1981 by Isadore Sharp,) is the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research.
  • 2006, Olympic Lucky Loonie. The 2nd Lucky Loonie.
  • 2008, Olympic Lucky Loonie. The 3rd Lucky Loonie.
  • 2009, Montreal Canadiens Centennial Loonie. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Montreal Canadiens professional hockey team. This Loonie was only circulated in the province of Quebec at Metro(c) Grocery Stores. This Loonie has however reached across Canada and often enough turns up in general usage.
  • 2010, Olympic Lucky Loonie. The 4th Lucky Loonie with the 2010 Vancouver winter Olympic symbol ilanaaq, an inukshuk. Sure to bring Canada more gold in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Canadian loonie one dollar coin, reverse (back/tails) image and The most common Loonie reverse image depicts a loonie (water fowl) swimming on a lake

(image source) National War Memorial in Ottawa, and (image source) the most common reverse image depicts a loon (waterfowl) on a still lake.

Obverse View, Monument to the Designer of the Loonie Coin

monument to the designer of the Loonie coin in his hometown

image source

Echo Bay, Ontario home of Robert-Ralph Carmichael, designer of the basic Loonie dollar coin.

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Comments (2)

great article, we certainly love our loonies

I just wish these coins would not tarnish the lining of my pants pocket with that dirty grungy patina... that has got to be laden with bacteria yuk! Anyway... Thanks for the comment! :-)

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