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Your toonie and your loonie have evolved


With the evolution of the new one- and two-dollar circulation coins, all of Canada's circulation coinage now incorporates the best technology in the world in terms of durability, security and cost-effectiveness. Even though there is little noticeable change in terms of how the new coins look, here are some questions you may be asking yourself:

What's going to happen to old one- and two-dollar circulation coins? Are they going to be abolished? Are we going to have to turn them in for new ones?

All of Canada's current circulating one- and two-dollar coins will remain legal tender. Both the alloy and multi-ply plated version of the one- and two-dollar circulation coins will circulate side by side and will continue to be accepted for all cash transactions.

Over time, the Mint will gradually remove alloy coins from circulation and replace them with new multi-ply plated steel versions, but this process will take several years. There will be no need to return current coins or replace them at any time, so it will be business as usual for all one- and two-dollar coins in circulation, no matter how old.

I keep hearing that these new coins will weigh less than the current one- and two-dollar coins. Are we going to have coins of the same denomination that feel totally different from each other?

The Mint took special care to produce new one- and two-dollar circulation coins with the same diameter and thickness as the current coins.

While it is true that the new coins will be marginally lighter than older versions because multi-ply plated steel is less dense than alloy, the difference in weight is so negligible that they will not feel noticeably lighter when handled. Also, this minimal weight reduction will not be an issue for vending machine acceptance as vending mechanisms employ many different parameters to verify a coin's authenticity.

The exact weight difference is as follows:

Circulation Coin Weight (g) Current New
$1 Dollar 7.0 6.27
$2 Dollars 7.3 6.92

Are these coins going to work in vending machines, pay phones and parking meters?

The Mint has spent several years preparing vending equipment manufacturers and operators for this change and they have been given the time needed to update their equipment so that the new coins will be accepted. As a result, the great majority of vending equipment will accept the new coins by the time they enter circulation.

Why is the Mint changing our coins?

The Government of Canada first announced steps to modernize Canada's currency system in the March 2010 budget, which mandated changes in the composition of the current one- and two-dollar coins to multi-ply plated steel.

In recent years, the prices of both nickel and copper have risen and fluctuated significantly, which has increased the cost of manufacturing coins that contain a higher proportion of pure metal or base-metal alloys. In an age of volatile metal costs, there is a continued need to produce coins at more economical and predictable costs, without compromising quality.

The requested change in composition was also an opportunity for the Mint to add security features which make one of the world's most secure coinage systems even more resistant to counterfeiting.