Canadian Currency

Canadian CurrencyNobel is a Citizen of Botswana. He intends to travel to Canada next month. He is preparing himself for the trip. Nobel doesn’t know anything about the Canadian currency. He knows most Canadian vendors accept the US dollar, but he wants to prevent them from taking advantage of him.

The Canadian unit of currency is called the Canadian Dollar. A common name for the Canadian Dollar among economists and Canadian people is Loonie, derived from Common Loon, the name of a bird whose image appears on the face of  Canadian one-dollar coins. Another common name for the Canadian dollar is the buck. Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC)  struck a coin in the 17th century with a value equal to the pelt of a male beaver or rather a “buck.” The term remained slang, referring to the unit of currency and now refers to both Canadian and US dollars.  A Canadian dollar is divided into 100 cents.

Canadian Coins

The following coins are widely used in Canada.

  • Penny = 1 cent (discontinued on February 4, 2013)
  • Nickel = 5 cents
  • Dime = 10 cents
  • Quarter = 25 cents
  • Loonie = 1 dollar or rather 100 cents
  • Toonie = 2 dollars

The word Toonie is derived from combining the words Two and Loonie. Fifty cent coins are issued in limited edition. You may rarely find them in everyday transactions. You may, however, find 50 cents (half a dollar) coins in commemorative collections.

Canadian Banknotes

Canadian paper money, called banknotes or notes, is commonly offered in 5-dollar, 10-dollar, 20-dollar, 50-dollar, and 100-dollar denominations. It is not common to encounter a $500 note, which is the highest valued banknote issued in Canada.

Most ATM (Automated Teller Machines), also known as ABM (Automated Banking Machines) carries $20 notes. Some also offer $50 notes.

Many Canadian stores do not accept $100 and/or $50 notes. If you carry a large banknote, you may refer to a nearby bank to convert it into smaller ones.

The Value of the Canadian Dollar

The standard symbol for the Canadian dollar is CAD, but $ is also quite common.
Historically, the value of the Canadian dollar has been between 0.68 US dollars to 1.06. In other words, you could sell a US dollar anywhere between 0.94 Canadian dollars to 1.45 Canadian dollars, depending on the daily exchange rate.

The following widget unofficially converts the Canadian Dollar to most currencies of the world and vice versa.


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Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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Al Parsai

This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.