The Canadian dollar (sign: $; code: CAD) is the currency of Canada. It is normally abbreviated with the Dollar/Peso sign $, or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. It is divided into 100 cents. As of 2007, the Canadian dollar was the 7th most traded currency in the world, behind the US dollar, the euro, the yen, the pound sterling, the Swiss franc and the Australian dollar.
In 1858, bronze 1¢ and .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 $4.866) were struck in Ottawa with a C mintmark. Gold $5 and $10 coins were issued between 1912 and 1914.
In 1920, the size of the 1¢ was reduced and the silver fineness of the 5¢, 10¢, 25¢ and 50¢ coins was reduced to .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 war-time 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. Canadian $2 coin, nicknamed toonie,
In 1967 both .800 silver/.200 copper and, later that year, .500 silver/.500 copper 10¢ and 25¢ coins were issued. 1968 saw further debasement: the .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¢. 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.
Coins are produced by the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and currently issued in denominations of 1¢ (penny), 5¢ (nickel), 10¢ (dime), 25¢ (twenty-five cent piece) (quarter is not an official designation in Canada), 50¢ (50¢ piece) (though the 50¢ piece is rarely used), $1 (loonie), and $2 (toonie). 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. Commemorative coins with differing reverses are also issued on an irregular basis. 50¢ coins are rarely found in circulation; they are often collected and not regularly used in day-to-day transactions. There have been repeated talks about removing the penny from circulation as it is estimated that it costs the Royal Canadian Mint up to four cents to produce and distribute a one-cent coin. The Canadian penny costs at least C$130 million annually to keep in circulation, estimates a financial institution that called for an end to the penny. A 2007 survey shows that only 37% of Canadians use pennies but the government continues to produce about 816 million pennies per year, equal to 25 pennies per Canadian.