Archives

Canada's $1 coin, or loonie, makes its debut

Just before Canada Day in 1987, a familiar $1 coin entered circulation -- and eventually the pockets, wallets and couch cushions of Canadians.

Why the name? 'Because of the loon on one of its sides'

Canada's shiny new one dollar coin has a cute nickname, and an early fan following. 2:01

Canada's $1 coin quickly became known as the loonie almost as soon as it entered circulation in June 1987.

The nickname was a natural choice, given the loon that appears on the reverse. (Though as you can see in this report from The National, we felt compelled to explain that to people when it made its debut.)

The birth of the loonie, however, meant the looming death of the dollar bill.

But the change was inevitable, as the Canadian government saw big savings in having coins that lasted years, rather than bills that needed frequent replacing.

Before long, the now-familiar loonie could be found jingling in Canadians' pockets, piling up in pop machines and hiding under couch cushions across the country.