All of Canada uses the Canadian Dollar (C$ or CAD). The Canadian dollar’s value floats against that of all other major currencies.
Since about 2009, the U.S. and Canadian dollars have been approximately on par, with the CAD hovering either just below or just below the U.S. dollar. This equality is in contrast to the 1980’s and 90’s when the CAD was considerably lower than the U.S. dollar, something that made shopping in Canada a real bargain for those with American currency.
Canadian bills or bank notes are commonly available in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 dollar denominations. The $1 and $2 bills have been replaced with coins (the loonie and the toonie).
Canadian bills are brightly coloured – unlike the green and white of all U.S. bills - making them easy to distinguish from one another. In fact, in addition to better beer than our neighbours to the south, our colourful money is another point of cultural Canadian pride. Check the current Canadian rate of exchange.
Canadian coins include the loonie, toonie, 25¢ quarter, 10¢ dime, 5¢ nickel and 1¢ penny, although production of the penny has been stopped, so hang on to one or two as a keepsake.
Beginning in 2011, the federal government of Canada began replacing paper bills with polymer bank notes to cut down on counterfeiting.
Best Way to Bring Money to Canada:Credit cards and debit cards are widely accepted across Canada and ATMs are easy to find in urban areas so it's not necessary to bring loads of cash. Having some cash on hand when you arrive is a good idea though for tipping or odd small purchases. Read more about using debit and credit cards in Canada.
Exchanging MoneyForeign currencies are easily changed into Canadian dollars at currency exchange kiosks at airports, border crossings, large shopping malls and banks.
Many places near the Canada / U.S. border - tourist destinations especially - accept U.S. dollars, but exchange rates vary by retailer and likely are less favourable than bank exchange rates.
Debit and credit cards issued by other countries can be used for purchases or to withdraw Canadian money in Canada, but currency exchange rates will vary by card. ATMs will ding you for a user fee between $2 and $5. Read more about using debit and credit cards in Canada.
Some Typical Canadian Prices (as of 2012)
- Cup of Coffee (Tim Hortons): $1.50 - $2.50
- Cup of Coffee (Starbucks): $2 - $7+
- Parking downtown in major city: about $3 per hour or $20-25 per day.
- Case of 24 beer: $30 - $50
- Glass of wine at bar / restaurant: $6 - $12