Foreign exchange guide to Canada and the Canadian dollar
What's in this Canada currency guide?
The official currency of Canada (country code: CA) 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.
The physical CAD currency consists of coins and banknotes. The coins come in denominations of 1 cent (¢), 5 cents (nickel), 10 cents (dime), 25 cents (quarter), and 50 cents (half dollar).
The banknotes come in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. The banknotes feature images of famous Canadian historical figures, such as Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and Sir Robert Borden. The design of the currency is constantly being updated, so the physical appearance of the coins and banknotes may vary slightly over time.
Save money and time by Ordering your Canadian dollar online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the CAD cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.
Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.
For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in Canadian dollar otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.
Canada is a vast country with a lot to see and do, so it's a good idea to spend some time planning your trip to make the most of your time there. Here are some things you might consider when planning a trip to Canada:
Timing: Canada is a large country with a wide range of climates, so it's important to consider the best time to visit based on your destination and what you want to do there. For example, if you want to go skiing in the Rocky Mountains, you'll want to visit in the winter. If you want to spend time on the beach in British Columbia, you'll want to visit in the summer.
Obtain any necessary travel documents: If you're not a Canadian citizen, you may need a visa to enter Canada. You should also ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your stay in Canada.
Budget: Canada is a relatively expensive country, so it's important to budget accordingly. Consider the cost of flights, accommodation, activities, and meals when planning your trip.
Transportation: Canada is a large country, so you'll need to consider how you'll get around. Options include flying, taking the train, or renting a car. Keep in mind that distances can be long and the roads can be challenging in some parts of the country, so plan your route carefully.
Accommodation: Canada has a wide range of accommodation options, from hotels and motels to bed and breakfasts, campsites, and vacation rentals. Consider your budget and what type of experience you're looking for when choosing your accommodation.
Activities: Canada has a wide range of activities to suit all interests, from outdoor adventures like hiking, skiing, and fishing to cultural experiences like visiting museums and galleries. Make a list of the things you want to do and plan your trip accordingly.
Visit Niagara Falls: Niagara Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in the world, and it's a must-see destination when visiting Canada. There are several observation points where you can get a great view of the falls, and you can also take a boat tour to get up close to the action.
Explore the Rocky Mountains: The Rocky Mountains are a breathtaking mountain range that stretches through western Canada. Take a drive through the mountains and stop at scenic viewpoints along the way, or go hiking, biking, or skiing in the park.
Visit Toronto: Toronto is the largest city in Canada and it's a great place to visit for its vibrant arts and culture scene, great restaurants, and iconic landmarks like the CN Tower.
Go whale watching: Canada is home to a variety of whale species, and you can spot them in many different parts of the country. Head to the coast and join a whale-watching tour to see these majestic creatures up close.
Explore the outdoors: Canada is home to a vast and diverse natural landscape, and there are countless opportunities for outdoor adventures. Go hiking, camping, or fishing in one of the country's many national parks, or take a trip to the boreal forest to see the Northern Lights.
The cost of lift tickets for skiing in Canada can vary depending on the location, time of year, and type of ticket. Prices typically range from around $50 to $150 per day for an adult ticket, although deals and discounts may be available. Some resorts also offer multi-day and season passes, which can be more cost-effective for frequent skiers. It is best to check with individual ski resorts for the most up-to-date prices and any deals they may be offering.
Read our guide to finding the best value global destinations for skiing, there are countries where skiing may be more affordable due to favourable exchange rates or lower costs of living.
The domestic currency in Canada is the Canadian dollar.
The three letter currency code for the Canadian dollar is CAD — symbol is C$.
It is the domestic currency in   Canada.
No, the Canadian dollar is freely available and convertible. See guide: What is a closed currency?
To get a good (and fair) exchange rate when sending money to Canada you need to find and compare exchange rates for International Money Transfers (IMTs).
The available FX rates for sending money abroad can be very different to the mid-market (wholesale) rate which you see reported online and in the News.
You should especially compare your own bank's exchange rates to those available from Money Transfer specialists to see how much you can save - we make that calculation easy in the below table.
When sending money to Canada it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 4 simple steps :
Use the above calculator to compare the exchange rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more Canadian dollar deposited into the recipient bank account and less margins and fees kept by the banks!
Managing your money effectively while living and working abroad can be challenging, but there are several steps you can take to ensure that your finances are in order.
By following these tips and managing your money effectively, you can reduce financial stress and enjoy your experience living or doing business in Canada.
Here are a few things to consider when sending money to Canada:
Fees: Different banks and money transfer services charge different fees for international money transfers. Shop around to find the best deal and compare the fees charged by different providers.
Exchange rate: The exchange rate is the rate at which one currency is converted into another. Keep an eye on the exchange rate when sending money to Canada, as it can fluctuate and impact the amount of money you receive.
Transfer speed: Some money transfer providers offer faster transfer speeds than others. If you need the money to arrive in Canada quickly, consider a provider that offers expedited transfer speeds for an additional fee.
Transfer limits: Most banks and money transfer providers have limits on the amount of money you can send in a single transaction. Check with your provider to find out what the limits are and whether you'll need to send multiple transactions to send the amount you need.
Security: Make sure to use a reputable and secure provider when sending money to Canada. Look for a provider that uses encryption to protect your personal and financial information.
Here we list some key points for expats and businesses to consider when managing financial dealings in Canada:
Understand Canadian dollar currency exchange rates: Exchange rates can have a big impact on your finances, so it is important to keep an eye on the CAD exchange rate and consider using a currency exchange service or a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees to get the best exchange rate.
Use a local Canadian dollar bank account: A local CAD bank account can make it easier for you to manage your finances and pay bills while you are in Canada. It may also be more convenient to use a local CAD bank account to make purchases and withdraw cash.
Research local laws and regulations: It is important to understand the local laws and regulations that apply to financial transactions in Canada. This can help you avoid legal issues and ensure that you are complying with local requirements.
Consider the tax implications: It is important to understand the tax implications of living or doing business in Canada. This can help you plan your finances and ensure that you are paying the correct amount of tax.
Seek financial advice: If you are unsure of how to manage your finances in Canada, it is a good idea to seek the advice of a financial professional who is familiar with the local financial system. This can help you make informed decisions and avoid financial pitfalls.
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.