It is of course a shock for everybody when you find out how much money you need in Vancouver. But Canadian money itself bears some interesting fact; take a closer look in your wallet!
Have you ever been asked for a “loonie” and you had nooo idea what it’s supposed to mean? The first thing a foreigner should learn about the money here is that a $1 coin is called a Loonie, a $2 coin is a Toonie! There is an image of the common loon on the back of the dollar coin, which is a frequent symbol in Canada and the reason for the name “Loonie”. The toonie coin was introduced later and picked up this similar name in colloquial use.
Of course, if you are new to North America, you need to learn the expressions of Penny (1¢), Nickel (5¢), Dime (10¢), and Quarter (25¢). These coins also feature very Canadian things! There is a moose on the 25 cents coin, a beaver on the 5 cents coin, and a maple leaf branch on the penny. By the way, on Friday, May 4th 2012, Canada stopped minting 1 cent coins! No more worthless pennies that make our wallets fat and heavy. Well, the existing ones will still be in circulation, so it will probably take a while. But wait, what about the lucky penny then? Make sure you keep a couple!
More Canadian symbols you will find on the dollar bills. Remember how important hockey is around here? Can’t be missing on the money! The 5 dollar bill features ice hockey-playing children and the inscription says: “The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons. We lived in three places – the school, the church and the skating-rink – but our real life was on the skating-rink.” Canadian money featuring Canadian life!
In case you are wondering who the important people are on the bills and coins: they are usually Canadian Prime Ministers and of course Queen Elizabeth II who still is the Head of State in Canada. Especially the 20 dollar note has her image all over (and you can play “sad queen/happy queen” with it, see below! 🙂 ). This is also the most common bill in Canada. I learned that when I withdrew money for my rent and got $600 in 20 dollar bills… You will hardly get a 50 dollar bill from the cash machine but if you do, take a closer look, the $50 notes are all new and shiny! The new ones were introduced into circulation only on March 26, 2012 and are printed on plastic instead of paper!
Let us know if you ever spotted a 100 dollar bill, they exist!