June 30, 2012, marks 25 years since Canada ditched its one-dollar bill in favour of a gold-coloured coin.
And while the move was somewhat controversial at the time, with many people worried about all the additional change in their pockets, Canadians took quickly to the coin that was soon dubbed the “loonie,” for the image of a common loon found on its tail.
Ian E. Bennett, president and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint, says the coin has become an icon of Canadiana.
"When it was first introduced, the one-dollar coin represented the most significant change to Canada's coinage system in over 50 years and the Mint proudly played a lead role in making it a reality,” Bennett said in a statement this week.
The Mint has issued a special-edition silver-plated 25th anniversary loonie, featuring two common loons on the tail, instead of the usual lone. As the Mint describes it:
Centered around the number "25", two Common Loons swim majestically past one another, one admiring the Loonie's eventful journey over the past 25 years while the other looks to the future and the many adventures to come.
Designed by Robert Ralph Carmichael, the same artist who designed the original loonie, the coin is limited to a run of 15,000 and will sell for $34.95 -- so if you come across one, try not to use it in a soda machine. The coin goes on sale July 16.
In the years since the loonie came to be, Canada has taken some other bold steps in currency -- eliminating the two-dollar bill in 1996 to replace it with the “toonie,” and this year announcing that the penny will be eliminated altogether -- prompting the U.S. into some soul-searching as to whether it should do the same.
And since last year, the Bank of Canada has been replacing Canada’s traditional paper bills with new plastic ones.
Check out our slideshow of the evolution of Canada’s one-dollar denomination.