Before You Travel - Money


Canada’s currency is the Canadian dollar (CAD). While you are able to pay with credit cards almost everywhere, many people still use cash (coins and bills) to pay with. It’s a good idea to always carry a bit of cash with you. For instance, on the city bus you can only pay with coins and must have the exact change, (unless you have a bus pass).

The coins have nicknames, or popular names:

  • The one dollar coin is called a Loonie because of the bird on the coin (a loon)
  • The 2-dollar coin is called a Toonie
  • 25 cents is a Quarter
  • 10 cents is a Dime
  • 5 cents is a Nickel

One of the more difficult things to get used to is that the 5 cent coin is bigger than the 10 cent coin. This will take some getting used to when you first start paying with coins.

The other unusual fact is that Canada has stopped making the one cent, also known as a penny, in May 2012, and stopped the use of the penny in February 2013. When paying cash any purchase or price that does not end in a five or a zero will be rounded up or down. If a price is a few cents above a five or a zero, you round down, otherwise you round up. So, if something costs $1.01 or $1.02 the price becomes $1.00. If something costs $1.03 or $1.04, it becomes $1.05.

For any electronic transactions (credit card and debt card), cheques, and money orders, nothing will change. A $1.03 purchase will cost $1.03.

The paper bills you will most often see are 5-dollars (blue color), 10-dollars (purple color) & 20-dollars (green color). There are also 50 & 100 bills, but they are not used very often.

It will be good to have some cash with you when you arrive; we recommend you bring around C$250.00 in cash with you.

To understand the value of your currency in Canadian currency please go to