A practical foreign exchange and currency guide to Canada
What's in this Canada currency guide:
The official currency of Canada is the Canadian dollar, with symbol C$ and currency code CAD.
Representing a little more than 5% of the foreign exchange market daily turnover, the Canadian dollar (ISO: CAD) is the world’s sixth most traded currency.
Frequently called the ‘loonie’ by foreign exchange traders due to the image of a loon (an aquatic bird) on Canada’s one-dollar coin, the currency’s value is heavily influenced by commodities prices, particularly oil. For this reason, the Canadian dollar is often labelled a ‘petro-currency’. Canada currently has the world’s third largest oil reserves and is the world’s fourth largest oil exporter.
Canadians are mostly concerned with the value of their currency against the US dollar, since nearly 80% of Canadian exports go south of the border. In the past two decades, the Canadian dollar lowest value against its US counterpart occurred in January 2002 when the CAD/USD exchange rate traded at just 0.6178. The currency’s two-decade high occurred in November 2007 (following a boom in the oil price) when CAD/USD reached 1.1041.
The Canadians are more focussed on their currency exchange rate than are the citizens of most other countries, along with perhaps the Australians and British. This is may be due to the open and trading nature of the Canadian economy and also due to their long border with the USA.
Since the start of the Russia/Ukrainian war the risk on-off markets had been pushing the Canadian dollar rate up and down in a range around 0.7850 to the US dollar.
However from mid-September the loonie has weakened down from this range to around 0.73 relative to the greenback.
18 Nov 2022
03 Sep 2022
02 Dec 2021
03 Dec 2017
04 Dec 2012
07 Dec 2002
The below comparison table makes it easy to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees when you want to make a Transfer or Spend Canadian dollar.
Accessing ATMs and banks is not a problem in Canada with any major credit card.
Getting around by train is a popular way of travel in Canada as it is a big place. Booking a sleeper car can be comfortable for long distance overnight stretches. VIA Rail Canrailpass gives you 12 days of unlimited rail travel in Canada during a 30-day period, check VIA Rail’s website for current prices. Bus travel in Canada is an economic and comfortable way to travel, Canada’s system of intercity bus routes spans the entire country. Some cities also offer flexible transit passes so you can have unlimited all-day, multi-day, or monthly travel.
You can read about the best providers and compare the latest deals for international money transfers to Canada in our Send Money to Canada guide.