From the CBC archives: The beginning of the end for the $2 bill
The original toonie design was unveiled 20 years ago
Winnipeggers were one step closer to saying goodbye to their $2 paper bills 20 years ago today, when the Royal Canadian Mint revealed its design for what became known as the toonie.
The bimetallic coin's design, with a polar bear on one side and a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the other, made its debut on Sept. 21, 1995 — five months before the coins began circulating.
At the time, much debate ensued about what the loonie's bigger sibling should be called: The bearie, the toonie (or the 'twonie') or the double loonie? Or something else altogether?
People in Winnipeg, where the Mint's coin manufacturing plant is based, also wondered if having to carry so many coins — loonies, toonies and smaller change — would ruin their pockets, the CBC's Rod Carleton reported in this story from Feb. 28, 1995.
"Too many coins in my pocket," one man said in the report. "I'd rather keep bills in there."
Click on the video player above to watch the full story.
The toonie entered circulation on Feb. 19, 1996, and the $2 bill was eventually phased out.
The federal government replaced paper $1 and $2 paper bank notes with coins as a cost-saving measure. The toonie has a lifespan that's about 20 times longer than paper notes, according to the Mint.