Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

The Five Most Ridiculous Canadian Coins

Published in Blog. Tags: , .

I am Canadian. But I’m an American, too. Having dual citizenship is a pretty great thing, if for no other reason than having the honor to criticize both nations equally. And the most recent reason I have to criticize Canada is the government’s decision to approve a special coin for pressing by the Royal Canadian Mint. But it’s not just any coin, it’s a unique “CH” coin which celebrates the Montreal Canadiens’ centennial season. Certainly hockey is one of the most important staples ingrained in Canadian culture, and without question the Montreal Canadiens stand as somewhat of a patriarch within the sport, but there are simply far too many things wrong with this equation to begin to make sense of it. But alas, that this isn’t the first questionable pressing in the history of the Royal Canadian Mint. Ever the innovators when it comes to currency design, Canada has seen some really, really odd coins in its time. Going into a gas station in the wrong neighborhood with an American two dollar bill is likely to get you shot, but that’s pretty much par for the course as far as unique currencies go in the Great White North. Here are five of the most ridiculous Canadian coins ever to see production:

Canadian Loonie

Denomination: $1
Year of Issue: 1987
Level of Reasonability: Irritatingly Suspicious

The loonie in and of itself isn’t too crazy…it’s just a dollar coin with a bird on it…that has taken on the name of the bird in referencing the coin itself. Well, a little odd maybe, but not crazy. The crazy thing is how the loonie may be the direct link between Canada’s currency and its favorite sport. At the 2002 Winter Olympics a loonie was buried under center ice, and coincidentally it was the Canadian men’s and women’s hockey teams which won gold that year. The next year, at the World Hockey Championships, the men’s team won again – assisted by the luck of the loonie, which was placed beneath the padding the of opposing team’s crossbar. Here’s where this really becomes an issue: at the 2006 Winter Olympics the ice attendants rejected the idea of placing a loonie within the ice sheet. The outcome? Not only did the men’s hockey team fail to win gold, they failed to place within the medal standings altogether. Likewise, prior to game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals, the Carolina Hurricanes removed a loonie which had been placed in the ice by the opposing Edmonton Oilers. Outcome? A Canadian team was denied the cup for the second season in a row. The loonie isn’t crazy, but the idea that the Royal Canadian Mint will now be pressing “Lucky Loonies” every Olympic year is.

Canada Nickel Worlds Largest Coin

Denomination: ¢5
Year of Issue: 1964
Level of Reasonability: It is the world’s largest coin…so…it’s a tad unreasonable

Listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest coin, the Big Nickel measures about 30 feet across and literally brings the idea of a wooden nickel to life as it is constructed of plywood (covered in a sheet of stainless steel). Rather than a product of the Royal Canadian Mint the nickel was created by a local Sudbury, Ontario businessman, but my friends – does that make a nickel that is just as long as an American end zone (or half a Canadian end zone) any less demented? Either way, the thing is ridiculously big and entirely unnecessary.

Canada Dime Mackarel

Denomination: ¢10
Year of Issue: 1967
Level of ReasonabilitySon of the Mask

The idea of having an animal on a coin is far from new, so when the Mint took to celebrating the country’s centennial by introducing a series of coins featuring a variety of animals it made a bit of sense: a dove, a rabbit, a mackerel, a cougar, a wolf and a goose. But hold up for a moment here; somewhere along the way this idea went terribly wrong. A wolf? Majestic, I love it. A cougar? Daring, a symbol of fierce power. A goose? Sure, Canadian geese are everywhere – why not? A dove? Canada = peace. A rabbit? Well, I guess… But a mackerel? No sir, that’s where I draw the line. This coin represents a fisherman’s wet dream just as much as it does a starving seagull’s. A slimy scrap in the foodchain that somehow made its way onto the list by what I can only imagine what a drunken prank on the nation. And who’s to blame? I’m looking at you Molson Canadian…

Montreal Canadians Coin

Denomination: $1
Year of Issue: 2009
Level of Reasonability: Highly Unsound

The biggest issue I have with the coin is that the Montreal Canadiens are a privately held business, owned by an elderly American billionaire. Even if we’re considering the impact that sport has on culture, the idea is still insane. It would be equally questionable for the American government to approve a coin to press featuring any number of baseball teams – a subject of what is, and forever may be, America’s national pastime. How pissed off would you be if Mark Cuban bought the Cubs and rallied for the US government to celebrate the team’s legacy with a specially minted dime? If you’re answer to that question isn’t “furious,” you’ve lost your mind.

Canada Million Dollar Coin

Denomination: $1,000,000
Year of Issue: 2007
Level of Reasonability: Hopelessly Ludicrous

First of all, the coin weighs 100kg (or for my American friends, that’s roughly two Paris Hiltons) and bears the highest denomination of any coin in the world. While the “pizza sized” coin is crazy by its own merit, the fact that the coins were each pressed using approximately $2,000,000 dollars worth of pure bullion makes this the most ridiculous Canadian coin of all time. It’s simple math Canada – for every dollar that this coin represents, you spent 2 making it…