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Canada - Currency

In Canada the currency used is the Canadian Dollar which is often referred to as a ‘buck’, similar to the slang term used in the US. The dollar is depicted with a dollar sign, the same as an American dollar sign $ and may or may not include the letters CAD or just C. For example, some retailers may show their prices as $50.00, some as C$50.00 or even as $50.00CAD. The use of the lettering CAD is more common for online purchasing than for purchases in an actual store. This is in order for customers to differentiate between US dollars, Canadian dollars or even Australian dollars. Each dollar is made up of 100 cents. The Canadian dollar has an exchange rate very similar to the US dollar. Prior to the country using the Canadian Dollar it did in fact use pounds Sterling as they do in the UK. The Canadian dollar became the official currency on the 1st January 1858.

The coins in circulation are issued by the Royal Canadian Mint and these come in denominations of 1 cent, 5 cents (also known as a nickel), 10 cents, (also known as a dime), 25 cents (also known as a quarter), 50 cents (these coins are rare), 1 dollar coin (known as a loonie) and the 2 dollar coin (also known as a twonie). The Bank of Canada issues the notes (or bills as they are also known) and they come in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. Each note is a different colour as is the practice in the UK and the Eurozone. As with most places, smaller shops may decline larger bills due to having little or no change and the higher risk of counterfeit money. It may be wise to exchange your larger notes for smaller denominations if you are planning on going shopping. If you have traveller’s cheques then you can request that these too are also changed for smaller notes.

Although it is not easy to forge Canadian bank notes it can be done. The newer notes being produced are far more secure and ultimately harder to counterfeit than previous notes issued. There are some ways of checking whether the notes you are carrying are authentic or forgeries although depending on the counterfeiter, the differences between the fake and the real money could be very hard to tell. Many retailers use an ultraviolet light to check on the notes they are handed, but some of the forgeries are now able to pass these checks.

The Canadian notes have a metallic patch in the upper corner. Authentic notes change colour when they are moved. The colour goes from green to gold when turned; the metallic patches on the forgeries usually do not have the same iridescence and remain gold coloured when moved. When held to the light an additional picture will appear next to the large coloured denomination number. This is a ghostly image the same as the face on the note you are looking at, for example the Queen or John A MacDonald. The $5 bill is blue, the $10 is purple, the $20 is green, the $50 is red and the $100 is brown. Each also has raised bumps at the top of the note.

Canadian currency, particularly coins will be accepted in many places in the US, particularly the northern states. The same way, US coins are accepted in many retail outlets in Canada. However, they are not subject to any exchange rate fluctuation and are classed as their face value. Retailers in Canada are in their legal right to not accept any currency as they see fit. If they decide not to accept US currency then this is perfectly legal. They can also refuse Canadian currency if they suspect the money used is a forgery.

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