March 16, 2010

What is a toonie

I told a story recently about an awkward moment between me and man who asked me for a Toonie, which prompted some of you to ask, "What's a toonie?"

Well, in the interest of educating the world about Canada, I will tell you.

A Toonie is the Canadian two dollar coin:

When I was a little kid, Canada had paper one and two dollar bills (as well as the 5, 10, 20, 50, and up bills that we still have). In 1987, when I was... um... (quick mental math) 12 years old, the Canadian government decided they wanted our currency to be more unique (at least that's how I remember it - don't quote me on that) and they introduced our one dollar coin. We quickly nicknamed the coin (once we stopped belly-aching about how heavy they were to carry compared to the paper bills - Canadians love to complain) the Loonie because of there's a picture of a loon on it:

You can kind of see the logic, eh?

And in 1996, once Canadians were used to hauling around large bags full of golden loonies, the government introduced the two dollar coin. We named it the Toonie because it rhymes with loonie (everybody loves a rhyme!) and it's a two dollar coin. According to Wikipedia, it can also be spelled 'tooney' or 'twoney' but I've always seen it spelled 'Toonie'. Another interesting tidbit I picked up about my country's currency that I did not know before right now (oops, ignorance abounds) is that the bear on the Toonie is named 'Churchill' after Churchill, Manitoba: the polar bear capital of the world. You can go to Churchill and take tours in giant vehicles made to cross the frozen tundra to view the bears in their natural habitat. The tour operators give you a 45% guarantee that the bears will not eat you! It's great.

So there you have it. That, my friends, is what a Toonie is.

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5 comments :

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

You are such a good teacher. Now if those non-Canadians don't understand a loonie and a toonie after this lesson, they need to repeat a grade!

Quirky said...

THAT's a toonie? (And here I thought that the guy was propositioning you indecently!)

You learn new things everyday, I suppose. I shall make it a point to remember your lesson on Churchill and the loon (which I would have called a duck) and if I ever make it up to Canada, I will be sure to use the lingo.

Kirara said...

I like the 45% guarantee!
So, by putting Churchill on the coin, are they telling the world that Canada is a good place to come get eaten by bears?

scrappysue said...

love it! i think it was around 1986 we did away with our $1 and $2 notes too and replaced them with very heavy coins which we then in turn did away with around 4 years ago i think. thanks for the history lesson!

SaraLynn said...

Thanks for sharing! Love bits like this I can throw at hubby :)