In early Canadian history, people in Britain’s Canadian colonies used a variety of different currencies to buy things, including British pounds, American dollars, Spanish pesos, and even unique colonial currencies made by local banks and governments. In 1867, the new unified Canadian government gained exclusive constitutional power over currency, and in 1870 it used this power to pass the Dominion Notes Act (now known as the Currency Act) which made the Canadian Dollar ($) the official currency of Canada. A Canadian dollar is made up of 100 Canadian cents (₵).
Originally tied to value of the British pound, and then the price of gold, since 1931 the Canadian dollar has been a so-called “free-floating” currency with a value determined by the international marketplace. Like most advanced countries, Canada also has a national bank, known as the Bank of Canada, that has the power to both print and buy currency in order to help control the currency’s value. In the opinion of the International Monetary Fund, the Canadian dollar is one of the world’s seven reserve currencies known for its stability and reliability even in times of economic uncertainty.
The Canadian dollar is usually measured in comparison to the American dollar. It is almost always worth less, but the exact value can vary quite a bit depending on what’s going on in the world. At its worst, the Canadian dollar may be worth around 65 American cents; at best, it can be very close to par.
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