“Loonie” Celebrates 30th Birthday

June 10th, 2017 by

Canada’s signature $1 coin design turns 30 years old this year, and the country is keen on celebrating this anniversary of perhaps the most beloved coin in Canada.

The design (and thus the coin) is colloquially called the “Loonie,” owing to the bird known as a loon that graces its reverse. The loon design first appeared in 1987, and has been described as the biggest change in the country’s circulating coinage in the last 50 years.


As you can see with the proof commemorative dollar coin shown above, the Royal Canadian Mint has in the past celebrated other major anniversaries for the cherished loon on Canadian coins.

New RCM Commemorative

Given its beloved status, the RCM is not passing up another opportunity to issue special commemorative coins (with limited mintages) to honor the famous symbol of the loon. 30th anniversary commemoratives are slated for this year as part of the broader “Canada 150” celebration by the mint, as 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Canadian federation in 1867.

The classic loon design, created by the late Robert Ralph Carmichael, will be featured on a .9999 fine silver coin, meaning it will be composed of 99.99% pure silver. Beyond the sprawling Canada 150 commemoration happening across the mint’s planned designs for the year, the loon silver commemorative is a timely and fitting tribute to the original designer Carmichael (1937-2016).

The set containing this new “Silver Loonie” will also include a modern restrike of the design that first appeared on the 1935 silver dollar, known as Voyageur, depicting native Canadian First Peoples rowing a canoe. This iconic dollar coin design was produced for circulation most years up until the change to the loon in 1987, and was originally struck from 80% pure silver. CoinWeek reported on the new commemorative set but didn’t specify the composition of the Voyageur coin. Both coins will bear the dual date “1987-2017” and have a nominal face value of One Dollar.


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