Canadian Dollar (CAD) Profile

Currency name: 
Currency code: 
Currency symbol: 

$ or C$ or CAD$

Subunit: 
1/100, Cent (English) and sou (colloquial) (French), symbol: ¢
Coins freq used: 
C$1, C$2, 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Coins rarely used: 
50¢
Banknotes freq used: 
C$5, C$10, C$20, C$50, C$100
Banknotes rarely used: 
 
Central bank: 
Bank of Canada (www.bankofcanada.ca)
Currency users: 

Canada, Saint Pierre and Miquelon (France) (alongside its official currency of euro)

Currency notes: 

Nicknames: Loonie, buck (English), Huard, piastre  (French)

Currency user map: 

Canadian dollar users

The Canadian dollar is the official currency of Canada. It is also widely used and accepted by Saint Pierre and Miquelon whose official currency is euro. Saint Pierre and Miquelon is a self-governing territorial overseas collectivity of France and locates near Canada.

Canada is a North American country, borders with the United States with the world’s longest land border. It is the world’s second-largest country by total area.

Canada was established in 1867 from the United Kingdom. It was formed through confederation and combined as a federal dominion firstly with four provinces including Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Until 1999, Canada consists of ten provinces and three territories.

10 provinces of Canada Capital of province Confederation
Ontario Toronto July 1, 1867 (1st)
Quebec Quebec city July 1, 1867 (1st)
Nova Scotia Halifax July 1, 1867 (1st)
New Brunswick Fredricton July 1, 1867 (1st)
Manitoba Winnipeg 15 July 1870 (5th)
British Columbia Victoria July 20, 1871 (7th)
Prince Edward Island Charlottetown July 1, 1873 (8th)
Saskatchewan Regina September 1, 1905 (Split from Northwest Territories) (10th)
Alberta Edmonton September 1, 1905 (Split from Northwest Territories) (11th)
Newfoundland and Labrador St. John's March 31, 1949 (12th)
3 territories of Canada Capital of Territories confederation
Northwest Territories Yellowknife July 15, 1870 (Hudson's Bay Company cedes territory to Canada) (6th)
Yukon Whitehorse June 13, 1898 (9th)
Nunavut Iqaluit April 1, 1999 (13th)

Canada obtained full independence from the United Kingdom in 1931 and became the first Commonwealth realm.

A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign country within the Commonwealth of Nations which now consists of 16 Commonwealth realms:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Grenada
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tuvalu
  • United Kingdom

Except for Papua New Guinea and the United Kingdom itself, the other fourteen realms are former British colonies. The United Kingdom is the original realm from which other realms became independent, and Papua New Guinea obtained independence from Australia on 16 September 1975. The first Commonwealth realm is Canada, which adopted the Act of Statute of Westminster 1931 and granted full autonomy, followed by Australia and New Zealand. Each later twelfth realm (except the United Kingdom itself) was created by an instant grant of independence.

The Commonwealth of Nations, also known as the Commonwealth or British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organization consisting of 54 independent member states, most of which were part of the British Empire.

Sixteen Commonwealth realms (Established Since 1931 -present)
Realms Since Location-Continent Currency name Code Currency notes
Antigua and Barbuda 1981 North America East Caribbean dollar XCD Pegged with the U.S. dollar
at 1USD = 2.70 XCD
Australia 1942 <2> Oceania Australian dollar AUD Pegged by Tuvaluan dollar and Kiribati dollar at par
Bahamas 1973 North America Bahamian dollar BSD Pegged with the U.S. dollar at par
Barbados 1966 North America Barbadian dollar BBD Pegged with the U.S. dollar
at 1 USD= 2 BZD
Belize 1981 North America Belize dollar BZD Pegged with the U.S. dollar
at 1 USD = 2 BZD
Canada 1931 <2> North America Canadian dollar CAD  
Grenada 1974 North America East Caribbean dollar XCD Pegged with the U.S. dollar
at 1USD = 2.70 XCD
Jamaica 1962 North America Jamaican dollar JMD  
New Zealand 1947 <2> Oceania New Zealand dollar NZD Pegged at par by Cook Islands dollar, Niue dollar and Pitcairn Islands dollar.
Papua New Guinea 1975 <3> Oceania Papua New Guinean kina PGK  
Saint Kitts and Nevis 1983 North America East Caribbean dollar XCD Pegged with the U.S. dollar
at 1USD = 2.70 XCD
Saint Lucia 1979 North America East Caribbean dollar XCD Pegged with the U.S. dollar
at 1USD = 2.70 XCD
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1979 North America East Caribbean dollar XCD Pegged with the U.S. dollar
at 1USD = 2.70 XCD
Solomon Islands 1978 Oceania Solomon Islands dollar SBD  
Tuvalu 1978 Oceania Australian dollar AUD alongside New Zealand dollar from 25 May 2013 which is pegged with AUD at par.
United Kingdom <1> Europe Pound sterling GBP  

Notes:
<1>. The U.K is the original realm from which other realms became independent.
<2>. Austria, Canada, New Zealand adopted the Act of Statute of Westminster 1931 and granted full autonomy.
<3>. Papua New Guinea obtained independence from Australia on 16 September 1975.

Canadian dollar history

Canadian dollar history can be traced back to the Canadian pound, which was created in 1841 based on Halifax rating. A Canadian pound was equal to four US dollars (92.88 grains gold) or worth pound sterling at 16 shillings and 5.3 pence. The idea to introduce a decimal coinage in conjunction with the U.S. dollar unit was brought up in 1857 and was firstly adopted by the two colonies of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, followed by Newfoundland in 1865.

The Dominion of Canada was established in 1867, marking the beginning of the Canadian dollar. The Uniform Currency Act was passed in 1871, replacing the various currencies of federal provinces with a common Canadian dollar.

The exchange rate of the Canadian dollar to the U.S. dollar was fixed at 1 USD = 1.1 CAD in the early Second World War, followed by changes to parity in 1946 and back to 1 USD = 1.1 CAD in 1949. The fixed rate was 1 CAD = 0.925 USD during 1962 to 1970. The Canadian dollar had adopted a floating exchange rate regime from 1950 to 1962 and from 1970 to the present.

Canadian dollar coins and banknotes

The Canadian dollar is subdivided into 100 cents. Currently, frequently used coins are in denominations of 5, 10, 25 cents, and 1, 2 dollars. Frequently used banknotes are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 dollars.

The Canadian dollar is kept as a reserve currency by many central banks, and it was ranked 6th in value held as reserves. Canadian dollar coins, especially, are accepted by some businesses in the northernmost cities of the United States.