A dollar coin was coming in 1986

The $1 bill's days were numbered, to be replaced by a coin that was much friendlier to fare boxes and vending machines.

But would drink machine prices go up to a dollar to take advantage of it?

Paper $1 bills were on the way out, and golden coins were to take their place. 2:17

The $1 bill's days were numbered.

On March 25, 1986, the CBC reported that a new dollar coin would be taking its place the following January.

It was to be "gold-coloured, 11-sided, and only slightly heavier than a quarter," said reporter Der Hoi-Yin as a cascade of sample coins fell in front of the camera.

"When the actual coin is issued ... it will bear the familiar imprint of a voyageur already found on Canadian nickel and silver dollars," she added.

The last $1 bills would soon be rolling off the printing presses once the $1 coin was introduced. (The National/CBC Archives)

(That didn't happen. The dies for the coin were lost in transit before reaching their destination at the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg, necessitating a design change to feature a loon instead.)

Transit authorities would save $2 million annually in handling and processing costs by not having to deal with paper dollars, but at least one consumer was cool to the idea of "too much change in their pockets."

"Going to be heavier, for one thing," said a woman carrying a handbag.

Ideal for vending machines

With the advent of a $1 coin, smokers wouldn't have to carry so many quarters if they needed to buy cigarettes from a vending machine. (The National/CBC Archives)

But a coin dealer pointed out that a dollar coin would mean not needing a fistful of quarters to buy goods from vending machines.

Companies that made the machines welcomed the coin, and some had even refitted their machines to accept the new coin. It would be another 15 months before the loonie was released.      

"For consumers, the dollar coin could be inflationary," said Der. "There are fears vendors might push up the price of a can of pop, for example, to one dollar, simply because there is a dollar coin around."


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