Canadian One Dollar Reverse Designs and Coin Specifications

Reverse Designs

Striking in its solitude, the 1-dollar coin, familiarly known as the 'loonie' The 1-dollar circulation coin was introduced in 1987 as a cost-saving measure to replace dollar bills. The coin was instantly dubbed the 'loonie' after the solitary loon that graces the coin's reverse side. The nickname caught on and Canadians have been using it ever since. The loon design was created by noted wildlife artist Robert-Ralph Carmichael.
The illustration has been modified only slightly over the years. This page shows the major die designs since Canadian one dollar coins were introduced in 1987. It does NOT cover "die blunders", where dies were re-punched with different years (and the previous number is visible below the current number), or where cracks appeared in the dies causing unwanted lines to appear in the coin. It also does not cover date doubling.

This page only discusses one dollar coins issued for circulation since 1987. It does not include coins which were created exclusively for the collector market (there are a GREAT number of them).

NOTE: Click on any photo to load a much larger version of the same photo

Article Index

1987 - 1991, 1993 - present
The Loon coin The 1-dollar bill was replaced in 1987 by a new eleven-sided circulation coin nicknamed the 'Loonie'. Ralph-Robert Carmichael's popular design features a Canadian loon, and is made of aureate bronze.

The 125th Anniversary of Confederation

Ralph-Robert Carmichael's popular design was modified slightly to include the dates "1867-1992" to celebrate the 125th anniversary Canada's Confederation.

The 125th Anniversary of Confederation

A second coin was designed in 1992 utilizing Rita Swanson's design featuring three children with a Canadian flag on Parliament Hill in commemoration of Canada's 125th birthday. Note the clock on the Peace Tower reads 1:25.

The National War Memorial coin

A representation of the National War Memorial in Ottawa honours the contribution and sacrifice made by Canadian soldiers in both World Wars and the Korean War designed by the staff at the Royal Canadian Mint.

The Peacekeeping coin

Designed by J. K. Harman, R. G. Enriquez, C. H. Oberlander and Susan Taylor, this coin commemorates the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, and pays tribute to the Canadians who have served as UN peacekeepers. It features an image of the Peacekeeping Monument in Ottawa.


Lucky Loonie

Designed by R. R. Carmichael and Terrence Smith, the 2004 Lucky Loonie features the Common Loon design accompanied by the Canadian Olympic logo. It was created in response to the legend that the ice maker at the hockey arena in Salt Lake City embedded a Loonie at centre ice prior to the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City to bring good luck to Canada's gold medal-winning men's and women's hockey teams. In 2004, the Royal Canadian Mint created the first Lucky Loonie as a way of passing on its special magic to Canadian athletes as they departed for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

Terry Fox

Designed by Stan Witten, the Terry Fox coin commemorates the 25th Anniversary of the Marathon of Hope.

Lucky Loonie

Designed by Jean-Luc Grondin, this coin features the familiar loon in flight along with the official emblem of the Canadian Olympic Team. It served as a good luck charm for Canadian athletes competing at the 2006 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

2008 Lucky Loonie
Lucky Loonie

Designed by Jean-Luc Grondin, the 2008 Lucky Loonie features a common Loon getting ready to take flight with the Canadian Olympic Team's logo at its side. The Mint provided each member of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Teams competing in Beijing with a Lucky Loonie as their own personal good luck charm.

2009 Canadiens
100th anniversary of the Montreal Canadiens

Designed by the RCM staff, this coin celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team. The Loon has been replaced with a stylized "100" and the "CH" logo bracketed by 1909 2009.

Founded in 1909, the Canadiens are the oldest continuously operating professional ice hockey team and the only continuously operating club to predate the founding of the NHL.

2010 Olympics
Olympic Inukshuk Designed by the RCM staff, this coin celebrates the fact that Vancouver BC was the host city of the 2010 Winter Olympics, and continues the tradition of issuing "Lucky Loonies" during years of either summer or winter Olympic games.

2010 Navy
100th Anniversary of the Canadian Navy

Designed by Bonnie Ross and the RCM staff, this coin celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy. In 2010 Canada issued in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Canadian Navy a special dollar coin. The coin depicts an serviceman with the 1910 uniform and a female officer with a modern day uniform, to represent the men and women in the Naval service. The ship represented is HMCS Halifax, the lead ship in the Navy's current fleet. The fouled anchor is part of the centennial identifier image in use to recognize the 100th anniversary of the Navy.

2010 Roughriders
Saskatchewan Roughriders Centennial Designed by the Saskatchewan Roughriders football club and the RCM staff, this coin celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Saskatchewan Roughriders football club.
The coin is engraved with the Roughriders' logo and a stylized '100' framed by the years '1910' and '2010'

2011 Parks Canada Centennial
Parks Canada Centennial The Dominion Parks Branch (known today as Parks Canada) was founded in 1911, and mandated to conserve Canada`s unrivalled wilderness for Canadians to explore and enjoy.

Designed by Nolin BBDO Montreal, the reverse design of this coin features stylized land, air and aquatic fauna, varieties of flora, as well as a symbolic park building and the silhouette of a hiker framed by a snow-capped mountain range. It is also dated "1911-2011".

2012 New Reverse

New Security Features added

In hopes of eliminating the counterfeiting of Canadian coins, the Mint added new security features to their one and two dollar coins in 2012 While the new one-dollar circulation coin maintains the traditional "Loon" design, there are a few visible changes:
- A single laser mark of a maple leaf positioned within a circle on the coin's reverse above the Loon. This laser mark is produced during the striking of the coins using a contrasting pattern micro-engraved on the coin die itself.
- The date has been moved to the reverse of the coin.
- The Loon has been moved lower on the obverse to fill the space left when the date was moved.

Note that these changes were made after production began, so both new and old versions of the 2012 dollar exist.

2012 Lucky Loonie
Designed by Emily Damstra, the 2012 Lucky Loonie circulation coin features the iconic loon as it spreads its majestic wings while sitting on rippling Canadian lake waters. The coin also features the Canadian Olympic Team logo, in celebration and support of Canada's athletes as they compete in London this summer.

2012 100th Grey Cup
100th Grey Cup

To celebrate the 100th Grey Cup the RCM staff designed a coin which features the Grey Cup with "100th Grey Cup" in English and French.

2014 Lucky Loonie
Emily Damstra designed the 6th Lucky Loonie. Features a common loon with its wings spread and floating on a lake, the Canadian Olympic Team logo, and laser etched maple leaf.

2016 Lucky Loonie
Designed by Canadian artist Derek Wicks, this 7th Lucky Loonie design features a common loon on the water, its arched body and outstretched wings poised for take-off.

Above the main feature is a stylized maple leaf in the background, as well as the laser etched maple leaf security feature.

Below the main feature you will see he Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Team logos

2016 Women's Suffrage
Women's Suffrage

In 1916, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan granted women the right to vote in provincial elections. Universal suffrage came later, but the history-changing shift in the provinces paved the way for a larger societal shift.

Designed by Canadian artist Laurie McGaw, this circulation coin depicts a woman proudly casting a ballot while her young daughter looks on.

2017 Canada's Sesquicentennial
While the standard Loon design was used for the classic 1 dollar coin (only produced for the "Classic Canadian Coin Set"), a special series of circulation coins were produced to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

The Sesquicentennial 1 dollar coin - "Connecting a Nation"

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, a design contest was held among all ordinary citizens.

The one dollar coin was designed by Wesley Klassen from St. Catharines, Ontario.

This unique design features impressive landmarks along the country's rail routes - from the Lion's Gate Bridge in British Columbia to the Grand Banks of the East Coast.

2017 Toronto Maple Leafs Centennial
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team, a special 1 dollar coin was produced.

The design by Canadian artist Steven Rosati features two crossed hockey sticks above the Leafs' current maple leaf logo; the vintage stick to the left honouring the team's storied past while the stick to the right represents the modern game. The security feature is positioned between the two sticks like a hockey puck, and the Leafs' current logo shines below them. It's flanked by the years "1917" and "2017" while a ring of 100 dots around the rim represent the team's centennial. The coin's denomination is engraved in a semi-circle at the top of the coin with a puck positioned between the words "Canada" and "Dollar."

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