|Years of minting||1996–present|
|Design||Queen Elizabeth II|
|Design||Polar bear in early summer on an ice floe|
|Design||Polar bear in early summer on an ice floe|
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 2022[update], 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 typeface different from any other Canadian coin.
The coin is manufactured using a patented distinctive bi-metallic coin-locking mechanism. 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.
Coins minted prior to 2012 consist of an aluminum bronze inner core with a pure nickel outer ring; 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. The weight dropped from 7.30 to 6.92 g, and the thickness changed from 1.8 to 1.75 mm. The Mint said 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.
"Toonie" is a portmanteau word combining the number "two" with the name of the loonie, Canada's one-dollar coin. Two loonies would be equivalent to one "toonie", hence the name. 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 the Inuit and their northern culture; however, this proposal went largely unnoticed beside the popular "toonie".
The name "toonie" became so widely accepted that in 2006, the 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.
Finance Minister Paul Martin announced the replacement of the $2 banknote with a coin in the 1995 Canadian federal budget speech. The RCM spent Can$17,400 to canvass 2,000 Canadian households regarding which of the 10 theme options they preferred.
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. By the end of 1996, the Winnipeg facility had struck 375 million of these coins. The coin was officially launched at Ben's Deli in Montreal on February 19, 1996.
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.
|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.|
|2006||Churchill, 10th anniversary of $2 coin||Tony Bianco||5,005,000||Featuring an updated pose of the bear looking up at the dramatic lines of the aurora borealis. The first circulation coin to be introduced with the new mintmark.
The issue date reads 1996–2006.
|2008||Québec, 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.||6,010,000||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.|
|2011||Boreal Forest, honouring Canada's boreal forest dedicated to the centennial of Parks Canada.||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.|
|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 Wait for Me, Daddy, which was taken on October 1, 1940, in New Westminster, British Columbia, by photographer Claude Dettloff.|
|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". 2,150,000 of these coins were produced in 2014 (though still dated 2015), with the remaining 2,850,000 being produced in 2015.|
|2015||100th anniversary of the poem "In Flanders Fields"||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.|
|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.|
|2017||Canada 150||Timothy Hsia||10,000,000 (including coloured and regular issues)||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".|
|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.|
|2018||100th anniversary of the Armistice of 11 November 1918||Laurie McGaw||
||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.|
|2019||75th anniversary of the Battle of Normandy||Alan Daniel||
||Designed by Canadian artist Alan Daniel, the coin features Canadian soldiers en route to Juno Beach.|
|2020||100th anniversary of the birth of artist Bill Reid||Bill Reid||
||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.|
|2020||75th anniversary of the end of the World War II||Thomas Shingles||
||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||
||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.|
|2022||50th anniversary of the Summit Series||Joel Kimmel||
||Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Summit Series, the design features two hockey players representing Team Canada, with the team's stylized maple leaf emblem, with "THE SERIES" in English and French, and the words "50 YEARS" and "ANS" appearing on the coin.|
|2022||Honouring Queen Elizabeth II||Brent Townsend||6,000,000||Marking the end of Queen Elizabeth II's reign. With the same design as a regular toonie, except that the outer ring is black, like a mourning band, instead of its usual silver. The colouring is achieved by using black nickel.|
Specimen set editions
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|
|2010||Young lynx||Christie Paquet||15,000||$49.95|
|2011||Elk calf||Christie Paquet||15,000||$49.95|
|2012||Wolf cubs||Emily Damstra||15,000||$49.95|
|2013||Black bear cubs||Glen Loates||17,500||$49.95|
|2014||Baby rabbits||Pierre Leduc||17,500||$49.95|
|2015||Baby raccoons||Clinton Jammer||15,000||$49.95|
|2006||10th anniversary toonie||5,000||$15.95|
|2006||New Mint Mark||5,000||$29.95|
Separation of metals
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. Deliberately attempting to separate a toonie is considered to be "defacing coin currency", a summary offence under section 456 of the Canadian Criminal Code.
- Newfoundland 2-dollar coin (antedating Canada's coin)
- International, Radio Canada (January 5, 2021). "Old Canadian banknotes lose legal tender status". RCI | English. Retrieved September 4, 2021.
- "Toonie turns 20 years old". CBC. February 19, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- "Greater Sudbury to buy Ramsey Lake Island for a twoonie". CBC. February 24, 2015. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- Acres, Victoria (August 12, 2021). "'Twoonie Tuesdays' a hit in Rodney". thechronicle-online. Archived from the original on August 12, 2021. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- "Balance and composition – the 2-dollar coin". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- 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.
- Royal Canadian Mint. "The Loonie and Toonie have evolved". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on April 23, 2012. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- "The New $2 Coin". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on April 13, 2012. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
- 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.
- "Order Amending Part 2 of the Schedule to the Royal Canadian Mint Act". Canada Gazette. Government of Canada. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
- "Material change in store for loonies, toonies". Montreal Gazette. Postmedia News. January 14, 2012.[permanent dead link]
- "Jack Iyerak Anawak on Two-Dollar Coin - Hansard April 26th, 1996, Retrieved March 30, 2011". Openparliament.ca. April 26, 1996. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
- "WordReference Forums - Vocabulaire Anglo-Normand, Retrieved March 30, 2011". Forum.wordreference.com. August 5, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
- Poff, Stephanie. "The Story Behind Your Pocket Change". cwf-fcf.org. Canadian Wildlife Federation. Archived from the original on February 13, 2019. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
- Royal Canadian Mint Archived June 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. "Canadians Choose Churchill as Official Name of Toonie Polar Bear." Retrieved January 27, 2011.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- "Canada Gazette, 42-43-44 ELIZABETH II, Chapter 26, p. 614".
- "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.
- "About legal tender". Bank of Canada. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- Kearney, Mark; Ray, Randy (September 30, 2006). Whatever Happened To...?: Catching Up with Canadian Icons. p. 245. ISBN 9781550026542.
The $2 note ceased being issued on February 16, 1996.
- Cross, W. K. A Charlton Standard Catalogue Canadian Coins (60th ed.). p. 179. ISBN 978-0889682979.
- "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.
- Royal Canadian Mint (2008). 2008 Annual Report – Making History (PDF) (Report). p. 57. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
- "'Toonie' turns 10 ... and gets a facelift". Cbc.ca. August 28, 2006. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- "Talisman Coins". Archived from the original on October 8, 2011. Retrieved July 25, 2016.
- "Pièce de 2 $ du 400e de Québec (2008)". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on March 7, 2011. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- Royal Canadian Mint (2014). 2014 Annual Report – Tomorrow's Mint (PDF) (Report). p. 83. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
- "Order your boreal forest toonies today". Archived from the original on November 19, 2012. Retrieved December 8, 2011.
- Unser, Darrin Lee (June 22, 2012). "Canadian HMS Shannon $2 Coin Commemorates War of 1812". Retrieved July 25, 2016.
- "Wait for Me, Daddy Coin Pack (2014)". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- "Sir John A. Macdonald Coin Pack (2015)". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- Royal Canadian Mint (2016). 2016 Annual Report – With Pride and Purpose (PDF) (Report). p. 87. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
- "2015 Remembrance Coin Pack (2016)". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on October 17, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
- "75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic Coin Pack (2016)". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on October 17, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
- Royal Canadian Mint (2017). 2017 Annual Report – Delivering Results (PDF) (Report). p. 86. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
- Brown, Lola Augustine. "The Canada 150 Toonie Makes History (2017)". Good Times. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- "The Battle of Vimy Ridge Special Wrap Roll (2017)". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on October 17, 2018. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- CBC News (October 15, 2018). "New coin marks 100 years since end of First World War". CBC News. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
- "100th Anniversary of the Armistice of 1918 Special Wrap Roll (2018)". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on March 9, 2021. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- "Royal Canadian Mint honours Canadians who landed at Juno Beach with a $2 circulation coin commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day". Cision. May 27, 2019. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
- "$2 Coin: 75th D-Day Anniversary". Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
- Uguen-Csenge, Eva (July 28, 2020). "New toonie features work of Haida artist Bill Reid". CBC News. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
- "2020 Bill Reid Commemorative Collector Keepsake". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on August 2, 2020. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- "Royal Canadian Mint $2 circulation coin celebrates 75th anniversary of the allied victory that ended the Second World War". Cision. September 2, 2020. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
- Ho, Solarina (July 15, 2021). "New toonie celebrates 100th anniversary of insulin discovery". CTV News. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
- "Discovery of Insulin - Commemorative Collector Keepsake (2021)". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on July 18, 2021. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- Chaar, Mike (October 1, 2022). "Canada Is Getting A New $2 Coin & Here's What It Looks Like (PHOTOS)". MTL Blog. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
- The Summit Series collection Royal Canadian Mint (https://www.mint.ca). Retrieved on October 2, 2022.
- "2022 $2 50th Anniversary of the Summit Series Colourized Special Wrap Roll". Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- @canadianmint (December 7, 2022). "A solemn tribute". Retrieved December 7, 2022 – via Instagram.
- "Honouring Queen Elizabeth II". Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved December 7, 2022.
- "New $2 coin honouring life of Queen Elizabeth goes into circulation this month". CBC News. December 7, 2022. Retrieved December 7, 2022.
- "Special Edition Specimen Set - Young lynx (2010)". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on October 17, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
- "Special Edition Specimen Set - Elk Calf (2011)". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on October 17, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
- "Special Edition Specimen Set - Wolf Cubs (2012)". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on October 17, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
- "Special Edition Specimen Set - Black Bear Cubs (2013)". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on October 17, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
- "Special Edition Specimen Set - Baby Rabbits (2014)". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on October 17, 2018. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- "Special Edition Specimen Set - Baby Raccoons (2015)". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on October 17, 2018. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- "'Toonie' makes its debut". CBC Archives. CBC. September 20, 1995. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
- Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, s. 456 (Criminal Code at Justice Laws Website)