It’s tax time in America.
Which means it must be tax time in Canada, too. Right?
After all, Canadians don’t even have pennies anymore. (What did they do with the poor pennies?!)
And have you ever heard of a Loonie? A Toonie? GST?
Fear not! For just as I shared with you the exact location of Canada in Part I of the riveting series, The Surprising Truth about Canada, I will now share everything you need to know to make cents of Canada’s economy and it’s colorful currency. There are even some random nuggets about beavers and Mounties.
Who am I kidding? All of this economic goodness is courtesy of Kelly L. McKenzie, my resident Canadian blogging buddy. Kelly, who writes the hilarious Just Typikel blog , has an amazing sense of humor and will enlighten us now by answering my queries (in bold) about Canucks and their money below.
With glowing hearts, we turn now to The Surprising Truth about Canada, Part II (aka making sense of Canada’s cents):
1. Why did Canada get rid of pennies? Where did they all go?
We finally saw the light. The Canadian Mint (where our currency is created) stopped making them in May of 2012 and then stopped distributing them to financial institutions on February 4, 2013. The official word is that it was no longer cost-effective to make them. However, I believe that it was done in an effort to encourage folks to finally roll up all their thousands of pennies squirreled away in those now impossibly heavy piggy banks, cottage cheese containers and jam jars and return them to the banks. We suspect they’ve all been shipped over to Apple to be melted down into computer bits.
2. Tell the unsuspecting Americans all about Loonies and Toonies.
Ok, kids, gather round. This is genius.
Yes, we Canadians have a $1.00 coin (the loonie) and a $2.00 coin (the toonie). The loonie is so named for the image of a loon (think On Golden Pond) on the back. The toonie which came later was just naturally called that. And look how different they are! No more fumbling at the counter in abject confusion.
“Is this a $1.00 or a $2.00 bill?”
Just a quick peak and if it’s two-tone it’s a toonie, monotone it’s a loonie. Makes cents, no?
3. Why is your paper money see through?
So we can see you coming. Sorry. You think we’re all welcoming and lovely and we are but remember, we’re also shy. So we prefer a little lead in time. One peek through the bill et voila.
4. We have sales tax in most places in America, but in Canada you have PST and HST and GST and WTH (ok, not really “WTH”, but that’s what it seems like). Explain.
WTF? It’s simple to understand. Simply consult this website highlighted here.
5. Queen Elizabeth is on your money. Last I checked (okay, never), she wasn’t Canadian. What gives?
Now isn’t that an apt question for the topic? She’s the head of the common wealth. What with all those loonies and toonies we are a pretty wealthy country. So she is one of us. But it’s not all about money. Consider the fact that all the world’s Prime Ministers (our stalwart leaders), Presidents, Governors, Lieutenant Governors, Premiers, Senators, Dictators, Dog Walkers, Blog Writers, Sandwich Makers etc. tend to come and go. But not our Lilibet. No. On the throne since February of 1952 she has been my one and only Queen. I’m sorry, but it’s foolish to put the head of your country on the currency. They change all the time!
6. Why don’t you just use USD and call it a day?
Hmmm. Have to say this one threw me for a bit. Sorry. Initially I thought you were either asking me why we don’t use a parcel delivery service or a psychedelic drug. I was puzzled about the context.
The real reason we don’t use USD is simple. We’re not afraid of coloUr.
7. If you earn a dollar in Canada, then why do you cross the border as fast as you can to spend that money at the nearest Target in America?
We don’t. Not anymore. Ouch. This is painful on two fronts. One, you’ve reminded me that Target recently shut down ALL of its Canadian Targets and we now have to resume zipping across the border if a Target is within our sights. And Two, you’ve reminded me that our cherished Loonie is a weensy bit peaked at present. As in not feeling especially plump. Last time I checked, one of your greenbacks was worth 120 of our former pennies. That means if I cross the border into Washington (and hopefully not crash through the border on the way back into Canada) and buy a $1.00 US item at Target it REALLY cost me $1.20.
So, I’m sorry but this question is not only painful but it’s not really on the money these days.
Sorry if I’ve been a bit rude. Don’t mean to be. Care for a glug of maple syrup?
8. Do the beavers and polar bears use the same money as the Mounties?
No. The beavers only use our five cent coin, the nickel.
And the polar bears use the toonie.
and, though you didn’t ask, sorry, the moose use our 25 cent coin, the quarter.
The Mounties are welcome to use any currency they wish although they tend to favour hay. The first choice of their horses.
And there you have it! Thank you, Kelly, for helping us bumbling Americans make sense of your giant cents and colorful, dare I say kindergartenish, paper bills. Dear Readers, have you been to Canada? Do you know where it is? Have you ever seen a Mountie? Ever come back to the U.S.A. with $30 in coins by mistake because, you know, you thought you had some nickels and dimes and not 10-20 loonies and toonies?! Do tell!