With the recent news about strained relations between the United
States and Canada over trade issues, it is good to reflect on one
point on which the two nations still agree: the bird called a loon
makes for a great theme on a coin.
Canada has had a loon on its circulating coinage since 1987, when it
introduced a new gold-colored smaller dollar to replace its old
nickel-composition dollar. The reverse design selected for the coin
shows a loon at rest in one of Canada’s waterways, a shoreline in the
distance. The Loon dollar was quickly called a “Loonie,” of course,
and it has served as Canada’s primary dollar-denomination currency
since. (Canada stopped printing and circulating its dollar note as an
inducement to get the new coin to circulate more broadly than the
larger nickel dollar it was replacing.)
Inside Coin World: About those 1805 silver
dollars Although an 1806 Mint document claims 321
silver dollar were made in 1805, no such coins are known today. It
took a later book to explain the reference.
The loon is now an established icon of Canadian coinage, much as
the bald eagle is a standard found on numerous U.S. coins. But the
bald eagle is not the only bird to be found on circulating coins in
the United States; a new coin was just introduced that depicts a scene
that is similar in theme to the Canadian dollar.
The 2018 Voyageurs National Park quarter dollar was placed into
circulation on June 14, the latest coin in the America the Beautiful
quarters series. It depicts a loon resting in the waters of the park,
trees along a rocky shoreline in the background.
Minnesotans must love the loon. Their 2005 quarter dollar in the
State quarters series also depicts a loon in a wilderness setting.
The habitats shown on the reverses of the two Minnesota quarter
dollars are just like the habitats of southern Canada. Nature does not
have national boundaries. Lakes and streams and rivers and wetlands
and forests and mountains cross borders without regard to political
boundaries. A bird goes where it wants to go.
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It is not unusual for residents of the northern United States not
far from the border with Canada to receive Canadian coins in change.
The two nations’ coinages are remarkably similar in appearance and
size, so a Canadian 10-cent coin might lurk in the Roosevelt dime slot
of a cash register. The Canadian coins are not legal tender in the
United States and vice versa, and sometimes are rejected in tender of
a payment, but the fact that they do circulate somewhat is testament
to the long relationship between the two nations.