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Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Word About Loonies and Toonies

Since last night I shared with you my story about the confusion between the loonies and toonies; especially since it took me a day to get used to these coin pieces and the awkwardness I felt because I definitely looked like a tourist who had never been to Canada before (I am still grateful for the patience displayed by those in Toronto when it came to asking for help distinguishing between the loonie and toonie). On Friday morning when I had breakfast at the bed & breakfast, I was chatting with one of the guests over breakfast about the confusion. I told him I felt like a true tourist with this monetary confusion and he just laughed at me. He understood the confusion and did say, "Americans don't use dollar coins anymore." I replied, "Nope, probably not since the 70's. While that was before my time, I used to collect coins. I have a Sacagawea dollar piece, a Susan B. Anthony dollar coin, and a Kennedy half dollar as well. We just rely on dollar bills." We talked for a good half an hour about the currency. We also chatted about the differences between America and Canada.

When I was telling Moe about this confusion, he chuckled and said, "The loonies and toonies gave you trouble, eh? It took me a while to get used to them too." It seems that way for a lot of people, especially newbies to the country.

These coins give Americans the most trouble, at least according to different sites I've visited for information. In Canada, paper currency starts at $5, the dollar and two dollar piece are coins and Americans simply don't deal with coin dollar pieces anymore; Americans never dealt with two dollar coins at all (maybe $2 bills, I have some of those in my collection, but never $2 coins). According to the National Park Traveler website, the names come from the likeness of the loon found on the back of the dollar piece. It just makes sense to call the two dollar piece a "toonie." They do look different, but they are the same size, so travelers have to make sure they are handing the cashier the right amount of money.

Fortunately it doesn't take too long to get used to loonies and toonies. However, the embarrassing stories to tell others are priceless.  Canada doesn't use pennies anymore, so everything is rounded up to a nickle. I wish I took a picture of the bills because they are a lot more colourful than American money. I loved seeing purple and red bills.

The Canadian nickle.

All of the currency has Queen Mum (as dad and I lovingly refer to Queen Elizabeth as) on it.

Canadian ten cent piece.


  1. Welcome to Canada, eh!

    It's so interesting to hear about our cities and currency from your point of view. You asked me on my blog how far Peterbourough is from Toronto. It's about 1 to 1.5 hours of driving depending on where you are. It would be a GO Train ride to the last spot in the east (Oshawa) and then a GO Bus ride for about an hour (I'm guessing.. with stops). Are you still in town? You can email me at if you like. :)

    1. Sadly, no, I came home four weeks ago. Toronto was just a long weekend. I loved it, though, and can't wait to go back! :) I remember seeing those GO trains while I was walking around the stations. My friend, Moe, lives in Hamilton and I think he took a bus like that to meet me in Toronto.

      I spent the paper money before I came back to the States, but I am glad I kept the coins!

  2. Hi, Jessica Marie!

    Thanks for the interesting lesson and anecdotes about Canadian coins. I can't imagine modern Americans being willing to carry coins. Years ago when I was young it was common for people to walk around with a pocket full of miscellaneous coins because many items cost less than a dollar. Not any more.

    When I was a boy my big brother had a collection of silver dollars. He obsessed over them - shined them, stacked them and counted them over and over again. He and I also had a collection of crisp new $2 bills. (I have some elevens and thirteens if you'd like to buy them from me! :)

    When I got into the motivational seminar movement I learned an interesting mind game. I went to the bank and secured five brand new, uncirculated $100 bills. The mental trick is to place those clean, fresh hundreds in your pocket or wallet and walk down the street, go shopping, go about your daily business, and note the difference in your posture, how you sit, how you stand, how you walk, how you talk, how you breathe, your facial expression and generally the way you feel about yourself when you know that you are carrying 5 brand new hundred dollar bills. It really makes a difference. You conduct yourself and think of yourself as a "winner" rather than a loser. Of course, carrying that much cash around isn't the safest thing to do, so you need to be careful where you go, but for me, the exercise was worth it.

    Happy Mother's Day to all the moms in your family, dear friend Jessica!

    1. Hi Shady!

      Yeah, the coins did make my purse heavier - heavier than it already was (I carry around a lot of things, bad habit)! But, they were fun to have. I remember the days when things used to be less than a dollar - I was a child, but I remember carrying around a lot of coins to buy candy or juice. Not the case anymore, sadly. :(

      They made eleven and thirteen dollar bills?! I have to Google this because that sounds interesting! :D I don't collect currency much anymore, just a fun hobby when I was a child.Some of our silver dollars are framed. I'm not sure where dad put the rest of the collection - somewhere safe.

      I should try that exercise. Though for me, even $200 in my pocket would be a confidence booster. Best not to do that for work, however, we've had people stealing from our desks. :\

      Thank you, Shady! I'm treating my mom to brunch at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I hope you have a great day, dear friend!

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