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Value2.00 CAD
Mass6.92 g
Diameter28 mm
Thickness1.75 mm
EdgeIntermittent milled/smooth
outer ring
  99% Ni
inner core
  aluminum bronze
  (92% Cu, 6% Al, 2% Ni)

outer ring
  nickel plating
inner core
  aluminum bronze,
  brass plating
Years of minting1996–present
Catalog number-
Toonie - back.png
DesignQueen Elizabeth II
DesignerSusanna Blunt
Design date2003
Toonie - front.png
DesignPolar bear in early summer on an ice floe
DesignerBrent Townsend
Design date1996
Design discontinued2012
DesignPolar bear in early summer on an ice floe
DesignerBrent Townsend
Design date2012

The toonie (also spelled twonie or twoonie), formally the Canadian two-dollar coin (French: pièce de 2 dollars canadiens, nicknamed deux piastres or deux piastres rond), was introduced on February 19, 1996, by Minister of Public Works Diane Marleau. As of 2019, it possesses the highest monetary value of any circulating Canadian coin. The toonie is a bi-metallic coin which on the reverse side bears an image of a polar bear by artist Brent Townsend. The obverse, like all other current Canadian circulation coins, has a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. It has the words ELIZABETH II / D.G. REGINA in a different typeface from any other Canadian coin.

The coin is manufactured using a patented distinctive bi-metallic coin-locking mechanism.[1] The coins are estimated to last 20 years. The discontinued two-dollar bill was less expensive to manufacture but lasted only one year on average.[2]

On April 10, 2012, the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) announced design changes to the loonie and toonie, which include new security features.[3][4]

Coins minted prior to 2012 consist of an aluminum bronze inner core with a pure nickel outer ring;[5] but in March–May 2012, the composition of the inner core switched to aluminum bronze coated with multi-ply plated brass, and the outer ring switched to steel coated with multi-ply plated nickel.[6] The weight dropped from 7.30 to 6.92 g, and the thickness changed from 1.8 to 1.75 mm. The Mint stated that multi-ply plated steel technology, already used in Canada's smaller coinage, produces an electromagnetic signature that is harder to counterfeit than that of regular alloy coins; also, using steel provides cost savings and avoids fluctuations in the price or supply of nickel.[7][8]


"Toonie" is a portmanteau word combining the number "two" with the name of the loonie, Canada's one-dollar coin. It is occasionally spelled "twonie" or "twoonie", but Canadian newspapers and the Royal Canadian Mint use the "toonie" spelling.

Jack Iyerak Anawak, member of Parliament from Nunatsiaq (the electoral district representing what is now the territory of Nunavut), suggested the name "Nanuq" [nanook, polar bear] in honour of Canada's Inuit people and their northern culture; however, this proposal went largely unnoticed beside the popular "toonie".[9][10][11]

The name "toonie" became so widely accepted that in 2006, the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) secured the rights to it. A competition to name the bear resulted in the name "Churchill", a reference both to Winston Churchill and to the common polar bear sightings in Churchill, Manitoba.[12]


Finance Minister Paul Martin announced the replacement of the $2 banknote with a coin in the 1995 Canadian federal budget speech.[13] The RCM spent C$17,400 to canvass 2,000 Canadian households regarding which of the 10 theme options they preferred.[13]

Under the direction of Hieu C. Truong, the RCM engineering division designed the two-dollar coin to be made from two different metals. The metals for the bimetallic coin would be lighter and thinner than those produced anywhere in the world. To join the two parts, the engineering division selected a bimechanical locking mechanism.[14] By the end of 1996, the Winnipeg facility had struck 375 million of these coins.[15] The coin was officially launched at Ben's Deli in Montreal on February 19, 1996.[14]

The weight of the coin was originally specified as 112.64 grains, equivalent to 7.299 g.[16]

The community of Campbellford, Ontario, home to the coin's designer, constructed an 8-metre-tall (26 ft) toonie monument,[17] similar to the "Big Loonie" in Echo Bay and the Big Nickel in Sudbury.

Unlike the loonie before it, the toonie and the $2 bill were not produced concurrently with each other, as the $2 bill was withdrawn from circulation on February 16, 1996, three days prior to the toonie's introduction.[18][full citation needed]

Commemorative editions[edit]

Year Theme Artist Mintage Special notes
1999 The founding of Nunavut G. Arnaktavyok 25,130,000 Commemorating the founding of Nunavut, featuring an Inuit drummer.
2000 Knowledge/Le Savoir Tony Bianco 29,880,000 Millennium edition, the coin value "2 DOLLARS" appears on the obverse instead of on the reverse. It also features three polar bears. The issue date of the 2000 coin is on the reverse instead of the obverse side.[19]
2002 The 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's reign Brent Townsend 27,020,000 The issue date reads "1952–2002".
2006 10th anniversary of $2 coin Tony Bianco 35,319,000 Featuring an updated pose of the bear looking up at the dramatic lines of an aurora borealis. The first circulation coin to be introduced with the new mintmark.[20]

The issue date reads 1996–2006.[21]

2008 400th anniversary of founding of Quebec City, the first French settlement in North America The coin was designed by jeweller Genevieve Bertrand, a Quebec City native. The engraving was done by RCM engraver William Woodruff. 6,000,000 The design of the coin is dominated by a large fleur-de-lis. Other elements include a ship and lines representing the St. Lawrence River.[22]
2011 Boreal forest Nolin BBDO Montreal 5,000,000 Celebrates Canada's boreal forest that covers over half of Canada's landmass. Features three stylized trees, a bird and a man.[23][24]
2012 War of 1812: HMS Shannon Bonnie Ross 5,000,000 Part of a series of commemorative issues on the War of 1812. Features a modified reverse with HMS Shannon in the centre core, as well as artwork with "The War of 1812, HMS Shannon" in the outer ring.
2014 Wait for Me Daddy Claude Dettloff 5,000,000 Inspired by the iconic photograph known as Wait for Me, Daddy, which was taken on October 1, 1940, in New Westminster, British Columbia, by photographer Claude Dettloff.[25]
2015 200th anniversary of the birth of John A. Macdonald Glen Green 5,000,000 The design features a portrait of John A. Macdonald superimposed on the map of Canada in the centre; in the outer ring are the dates "1815" and "2015".[26]
2015 100th anniversary of the In Flanders Fields poem Glen Loates 5,000,000 Part of a collection featuring a coloured and uncoloured quarter duo, the reverse depicts John McCrae sitting in a field of poppies as he composes the poem.[27]
2016 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic Yves Bérubé 5,000,000 Features a sailor aboard a Canadian warship who presses his eye to the viewfinder of his anti-aircraft gun, scanning the skies for threats. Two other Canadian vessels in the distance while a Bristol Beaufighter flies overhead.[28]
2017 Canada 150 Timothy Hsia 4,000,000 (with applied colour)
6,000,000 (regular issue)
Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada. The design is titled Dance of the Spirits and shows a pair of paddlers dwarfed by a night sky alive with the ever-shifting movement of the Aurora Borealis. The aurora portion glows in the dark. The theme of the coin is "Our Wonders".[29]
2017 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge Tony Bianco 5,130,000 Designed by Canadian artist Tony Bianco, the coin design features the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in Vimy, France, flanked by a First World War soldier on the left and a veteran soldier on the right.[30]
2018 100th anniversary of the Armistice of 1918 Laurie McGaw 2,000,000 (with applied colour)
1,000,000 (regular issue)
Designed by Canadian artist Laurie McGaw, the coin design features two symbols of remembrance: a soldier's helmet represents the end of the First World War and serves as a reminder of the many lives lost during history's first mechanized war. Below the helmet lies a large poppy, the official bloom of remembrance, whose bright scarlet colour is re-created on the selectively coloured coins.[31]
2019 75th anniversary of the Battle of Normandy Alan Daniel 2,000,000 (with applied colour)
1,000,000 (regular issue)
2020 100th anniversary of the birth of artist Bill Reid Bill Reid 2,000,000 (with applied colour)
1,000,000 (regular issue)
Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Haida artist Bill Reid, the design features a rendering of the Xhuwaji, the Haida grizzly bear, along with his name and the year of issue placed between two micro-engraved maple leaves.[32]
2020 75th anniversary of the end of the World War II Thomas Shingles 2,000,000 (with applied colour)
1,000,000 (regular issue)
Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, the design is based on the Victory nickel by Thomas Shingles, featuring a large "V" for Victory overlaid with a torch topped by orange and yellow flames. The Canadian victory emblem is flanked by maple leaves, while the double dates "1945" and "2020" appear at both left and right, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. The words "Victory" (English) and "Victoire" (French) appear on the outer ring, with an inscription in International Morse code, that when translated reads "We win when we work willingly" (English) and "La bonne volonté est gage de victoire" (French). The words "Remember" (English) and "Souvenir" (French) are added to the bottom part of the outer ring.
2021 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin Jesse Koreck 2,000,000 (with applied colour)
1,000,000 (regular issue)
Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, the design features a monomer, the building block of the insulin molecule, along with scientific instruments used in the early formulation of insulin, including a vial, mortar and pestle, and Erlenmeyer flask overlaid on a maple leaf, with red blood cells, glucose and insulin molecules, the words "INSULIN" and "INSULINE" appearing on the coin's outer ring and the dates "1921" and "2021" on the upper part of the coin's outer ring.[33]

Specimen set editions[edit]

From 2010 to 2015, the Royal Canadian Mint issued a two-dollar coin that depicts a different and unique image of a young animal on the coin's reverse. These special toonies have limited mintages and are available only in the six-coin specimen sets.

Year Theme Artist Mintage Full-Set Issue Price (CAD)
2010 Young lynx[34] Christie Paquet 15,000 $49.95
2011 Elk calf[35] Christie Paquet 15,000 $49.95
2012 Wolf cubs[36] Emily Damstra 15,000 $49.95
2013 Black bear cubs[37] Glen Loates 17,500 $49.95
2014 Baby rabbits[38] Pierre Leduc 17,500 $49.95
2015 Baby raccoons[39] Clinton Jammer 15,000 $49.95

First strikes[edit]

Year Theme Mintage Issue price
2005 Polar bear 2,375 $14.95
2006 10th anniversary toonie 5,000 $15.95
2006 New Mint Mark 5,000 $29.95

Separation of metals[edit]

A failure in the bimetallic locking mechanism in the first batch of toonies caused some coins to separate if struck hard or frozen. Despite media reports of defective toonies, the RCM responded that the odds of a toonie falling apart were about one in 60 million.[40] Deliberately attempting to separate a toonie is considered to be "defacing coin currency", a summary offence under section 456 of the Canadian Criminal Code.[41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Balance and composition – the 2-dollar coin". Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
  2. ^ Fred Langan. "Canada's new coin a 'toonie'? By Fred Langan THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR - Tuesday, Feb. 20, 1996 | 11:59 a.m." Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
  3. ^ Royal Canadian Mint. "The Loonie and Toonie have evolved". Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
  4. ^ [1] Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  5. ^ George S. Čuhaj; Thomas Michael (July 11, 2011). 2012 Standard Catalog of World Coins 2001 to Date. Krause Publications. p. 144. ISBN 978-1-4402-1575-9.
  6. ^ "The New $2 Coin". Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
  7. ^ "Order Amending Part 2 of the Schedule to the Royal Canadian Mint Act". Canada Gazette. Government of Canada. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
  8. ^ "Material change in store for loonies, toonies". Montreal Gazette. Postmedia News. January 14, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Jack Iyerak Anawak on Two-Dollar Coin - Hansard April 26th, 1996, Retrieved March 30, 2011". April 26, 1996. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
  10. ^ "WordReference Forums - Vocabulaire Anglo-Normand, Retrieved March 30, 2011". August 5, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
  11. ^ Poff, Stephanie. "The Story Behind Your Pocket Change". Canadian Wildlife Federation. Archived from the original on February 13, 2019. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  12. ^ Royal Canadian Mint. "Canadians Choose Churchill as Official Name of Toonie Polar Bear." Retrieved January 27, 2011.
  13. ^ a b Girard, Daniel (March 11, 1995). "It's a real toss-up but here's our 2-cents worth: Call the $2 coin an American dollar". Toronto Star.
  14. ^ a b Royal Canadian Mint: 100 Years of History, p.177, Published by Les Éditions Stromboli, 2008, St. Lambert, Québec, Canada, Project Co-Oridnator: Francesco Bellomo, Project Manager for Royal Canadian Mint: Susan Aubry, Legal Deposit: Library and Archives Canada, ISBN 2-921800-26-8
  15. ^ The Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins, 61st Edition, p.139, edited by W.K. Cross, The Charlton Press, Toronto, Ontario, ISBN 0-88968-315-8
  16. ^ "Canada Gazette, 42-43-44 ELIZABETH II, Chapter 26, p. 614".
  17. ^ "Canada's two-dollar coin and its polar bear turn 10 this year" Archived November 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. CNW Telbec, August 28, 2006.
  18. ^ Bank of Canada.
  19. ^ "Order Authorizing the Issue of a Two Dollar Circulation Coin Commemorating the Millennium and Specifying its Characteristics, SOR/2000-245". CanLII. November 19, 2011. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
  20. ^ "'Toonie' turns 10 ... and gets a facelift". August 28, 2006. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
  21. ^ "Talisman Coins". Archived from the original on October 8, 2011. Retrieved July 25, 2016.
  22. ^ Quebec City - 400th Anniversary Toonie. Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 19, 2012. Retrieved December 8, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ Unser, Darrin Lee (June 22, 2012). "Canadian HMS Shannon $2 Coin Commemorates War of 1812". Retrieved July 25, 2016.
  25. ^ "Wait for Me, Daddy Coin Pack (2014)". Retrieved July 25, 2016.
  26. ^ "Sir John A. Macdonald Coin Pack (2015)". Retrieved July 25, 2016.
  27. ^ "2015 Remembrance Coin Pack (2016)". Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  28. ^ "75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic Coin Pack (2016)". Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  29. ^ "The Canada 150 Toonie Makes History (2017)". Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  30. ^ "The Battle of Vimy Ridge Special Wrap Roll (2017)". Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  31. ^ "100th Anniversary of the Armistice of 1918 Special Wrap Roll (2018)". Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  32. ^ 2020 Bill Reid Commemorative Collector Keepsake Royal Canadian Mint ( Retrieved on 2020-08-01.
  33. ^ Discovery of Insulin - Commemorative Collector Keepsake (2021 Royal Canadian Mint ( Retrieved on 2021-07-17.
  34. ^ "Special Edition Specimen Set - Young lynx (2010)". Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  35. ^ "Special Edition Specimen Set - Elk Calf (2011)". Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  36. ^ "Special Edition Specimen Set - Wolf Cubs (2012)". Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  37. ^ "Special Edition Specimen Set - Black Bear Cubs (2013)". Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  38. ^ "Special Edition Specimen Set - Baby Rabbits (2014)". Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  39. ^ "Special Edition Specimen Set - Baby Raccoons (2015)". Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  40. ^ "'Toonie' makes its debut". CBC Archives. CBC. September 20, 1995. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  41. ^ Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, s. 456 (Criminal Code at Justice Laws Website)

External links[edit]