Canadian Dollar

The Canadian dollar or CAD is the currency used in Canada, typically written with a dollar sign ($). To distinguish it from other currencies using the dollar, it is usually denoted with C$. One Canadian dollar is equivalent to 100 cents.

Brief History of Canadian Currency

The province of Canada used to have a pound-denominated currency. It all started in 1841 when the province based its currency system on the Halifax rating. The gold standard was introduced later in the country in 1853. The Canadian currency was then based on both the American gold eagle coins and the British gold sovereign. No coinage was introduced at that time, and it was only in 1857 that the decimal coinage was introduced in the country, hence placing the Canadian currency in line with the US currency. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick also adopted the US dollar-based decimal system in 1861. In 1867, The Dominion of Canada was formed to unite the three currencies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Prince Edward Island adopted the decimal system based on the US dollar and introduced coinage for 1 cent in 1871. Prince Edward Island united with the Dominion of Canada and its currency was absorbed into the currency system of Canada.


The Royal Canadian Mint produces all coins on the territory of Canada. The corporation is situated in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The coins in Canada are issued in the following denominations: penny (1¢), nickel (5¢), dime (10¢), twenty-five cent piece (25¢), fifty cent piece (50¢), loonie ($1), and toonie (2$). The designs on the coins typically include Canadian symbols on one side, and Elizabeth II’s effigy (sometimes the effigy of George VI) on the other side. 50¢ denominations are not often used and are regarded collectibles.

Banknotes of Canada

Canada's first paper money was issued between 1813 and 1815 in denominations ranging from $1 to $400. These denominations were called British Army Bills, issued because of the War of 1812. It was only in 1817 that the Montreal Bank issued the very first official banknotes of Canada.

The modern banknotes in the country are denominated in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. All of these notes are issued by the Bank of Canada. The first Canadian banknotes were released in 1935. Banknotes or “bills” are made using 100 percent cotton paper. Although there were a couple of series of banknotes issued in different years (1935, 1937, 1954 and so on), the only difference was the appearance; however, the shades and color were uniformly maintained.

The Bank of Canada

The Bank of Canada (Banque du Canada in French) is the central bank of Canada. The bank was established in accordance with the 1934 Bank of Canada Act. As the central bank of the country, it is the sole creator and issuer of Canadian banknotes. The strength of the Canadian dollar depends on how much money the bank creates. The headquarters of the bank are located in the Bank of Canada Building in Ottawa. It is the central bank's goal to promote Canada's economic and financial welfare.