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The Unusual Names of Canadian Coins: Loonies and Toonies

In Canada, using dollar coins is a long-standing tradition that has become integral to the country’s cultural identity. The one-dollar coin, affectionately known as the ‘loonie’, was introduced in 1987 to replace the paper one-dollar bill. It features the image of a common loon, a bird widely found in Canada’s northern lakes and rivers.

The two-dollar coin, or the ‘toonie’, was introduced in 1996 to replace the two-dollar bill. It features a polar bear, an iconic animal deeply associated with Canada’s northern wilderness. The unique name ‘toonie’ is derived from a combination of the words ‘two’ and ‘loonie’, the latter being the name of the one-dollar coin.

Today, loonie and toonie are widely accepted and used in daily transactions across Canada and have become beloved symbols of Canadian culture. Visitors to the country often delight in collecting these distinctive coins as souvenirs, and they serve as a constant reminder of the country’s rich heritage and natural beauty.