Eight Years Since Canadian Penny Departed

·1 min read

February 4, 2021, will mark eight years since the Royal Canadian Mint stopped distributing the Canadian penny. The Government of Canada had announced that the penny would be phased out of Canada’s coinage system in the budget presented on March 29, 2012. The reason for this move was that the cost of producing the coins had outstripped the actual value of the coins themselves. With the 1 cent coin costing 1.6 cents to make, the Government calculated that it would save about $11 million per year.

There was a lot of initial confusion about how this would all work, about how businesses would make change for their customers… and how customers would ensure that they received their exact change. It all seemed somewhat confusing at the time, but eight years down the road, it feels perfectly natural. While there might be a sentimental soft spot for a coin that many of us grew up with, it is more convenient not to have to deal with all the extra change. Especially as inflation grew and the penny became worth less and less.

The Canadian penny had been around for a long time, going back to 1858 in what was then known as the Province of Canada. The Royal Mint produced these coins in England at this time. The Royal Mint also produced the coinage for Canada after it became a country in 1867 (the Dominion of Canada), but the first Dominion of Canada pennies weren’t added until 1876. Pennies started being produced in Canada when the Ottawa branch of the Royal Mint opened in 1908.

The last Canadian penny was minted on May 4, 2012, at the Royal Canadian Mint location in Winnipeg.

Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette