When the Canadian government announced in 1986 that a new dollar coin would be launched BOS-LOONIEthe following year and the dollar bill phased out, they had planned to continue using the voyageur theme of its predecessor, and the master dies for the coin were sent from Ottawa to the Mint in Winnipeg. Somehow they were lost in transit.

An investigation found that there were no specific procedures for transporting master dies and that they had been shipped using a local courier in order to save $43.50. The investigation also found it to be the third time that the Mint had lost master dies within five years. Fingers started pointing.  An internal review by the Royal Canadian Mint found that an existing policy did require the two sides of the dies to be shipped separately. The new coins dies were indeed packaged separately but they were part of a single shipment. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police contended that the dies were simply lost in transit. But the Mint said the dies were stolen. They were never recovered.

Fearing possible counterfeiting, the government approved a new design for the reverse side of the coin, replacing the voyageur with an engraving of a common loon floating in water. The coin was immediately christened the “loonie” throughout English Canada (“huard” in Quebec) when 40 million coins went into circulation on June 30, 1987.

The final dollar bills were printed two years later on June 30, 1989.  And in 1996, Canadians got a two-dollar coin, the “toonie.”


It was one of the dullest speeches I ever heard. The Agee woman told us for three quarters of an hour how she came to write her beastly book, when a simple apology was all that was required. ― P.G. Wodehouse


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