Toonie

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outer ring
  99% Ni

The Canadian 2 dollar coin, commonly called Toonie, was introduced on February 19, 1996 by Public Works minister Diane Marleau. The Toonie is a bi-metallic coin which bears an image of a polar bear, by Campbellford, Ontario artist Brent Townsend, on the reverse. The obverse, like all other current Canadian coins, has a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. It has the words "ELIZABETH II / D.G. REGINA" in a different typeface from any other Canadian coin; it is also the only coin to consistently bear its issue date on the obverse. Canada adopted the patented technology to make these coins from Italy. The engineer, and head of the Italian Mint, Dr. Nicola Ielpo, patented the technology of interlocking two metals in coins in 1990.[1]

It costs 16 cents to mint a Toonie, which is estimated to last 20 years. The discontinued two-dollar bill cost six cents to print and, on average, each bill lasted only one year.[2]

Contents

Naming

When the coin was introduced a number of nicknames were suggested. Some of the early ones included the bearie (analogous to the Loonie and its loon), the bearly, the deuce, the doubloonie (a play on "double Loonie" and the former Spanish doubloon coin),[3] and the moonie (because it depicted "the Queen with a bear behind".)

The name toonie became so widely accepted that in 2006 the Royal Canadian Mint secured the rights to it. A competition to name the bear resulted in the name "Churchill", a reference both to Winston Churchill and to the common polar bear sightings in Churchill, Manitoba.[4]

Launch

Under the direction of Dr. Hieu C. Truong, the RCM engineering division designed the two dollar coin to be made from two different metals. The metals for the bi-metallic coin would be lighter and thinner than those produced anywhere in the world. To join the two parts, the engineering division perfected a bi-mechanic locking mechanism which was patented.[5] By the end of 1996, the Winnipeg facility had struck 375 million of these coins.[6] The coin was officially launched at Ben’s Deli in Montreal on February 19, 1996.[7]

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