Canadian Penny

Do you want to learn about the Canadian penny? Are you interested in discovering the history and future of all Canadian pennies? Read our guide for more facts and information…

The Canadian penny has been minted since 1858 continuously into the present day. Before 1908 Canada did not have its own means to produce coins meaning that up until this year all Canadian coins including the penny were minted in Britain. Today, the Canadian penny and other coins are minted at the Royal Canadian Mint. The Canadian penny has a value of one cent and one hundred cents are required to make one Canadian dollar. Also, although the coin is commonly referred to as the penny the official term for the coin according to the Canadian mint is the one cent piece. The more common term for the coin, the penny, likely obtained its name from its similarity to the term of the British pence.


The Canadian penny is easily recognized as it is copper or brown in colour. The penny, although being worth the least is not the smallest Canadian coin as that position belongs to the ten cent coin. The Canadian penny is comprised of 94% steel, 1.5% nickel and 4.5& copper. A completed penny weighs 2.35 grams. It is also interesting that today the penny has a round smooth edge but between 1983 and 1996 the coin was twelve-edged to help the visually impaired. The Canadian penny of today is also smaller than the original pennies that were produced in Britain.

The Canadian penny has two unique designs on each side of the coin. On one side the coin depicts the reigning monarch of the time as all Canadian coins due. The monarch depicted is the British monarch as Canada retains the British crown as their Head of State. Pennies produced at this time illustrate Queen Elizabeth the Second. This side of the Canadian penny also has a Latin inscription which when translated reads, By the Grace of God, Queen. The other side of the penny illustrates its Canadian identity. This side of the coin depicts two maple leaves and a branch. This side of the coin also records the year the coin was minted as well as the worth of the coin, 1 cent, and the word Canada.


The Canadian penny has existed for more than 100 years; however, there has been discussion in Canada of abolishing the coin. Today, about 816 million pennies are produced per year and it is debated whether this production is too costly in comparison to the worth of the penny. It is also a concern that as at present there are about 20 billion pennies in circulation that the time and money spent processing and storing pennies is too great.  Many Canadians feel that the cost of continuing to use the penny is more than the value that the coins bring them. In order to abolish the coin however the public will need to be convinced of a rounding system that would allow purchases to no longer require the use of a one cent piece. The Canadian penny may not be highly valued for their cash value, however, many consider finding a penny to be good luck and they are also frequently used to wish with.