Quarter (Canadian coin)

The quarter, short for quarter dollar, is a Canadian coin worth 25 cents or one-fourth of a Canadian dollar. It is a small, circular coin of silver colour. According to the Royal Canadian Mint, the official name for the coin is the 25-cent piece, but in practice it is usually called a "quarter", much like its American counterpart. In French, it is called a caribou or trente sous ("thirty sous", based on the old exchange rate).[1][2] The coin is produced at the Royal Canadian Mint's facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Value0.25 Canadian dollar
Mass4.4 g
Diameter23.88 mm
Thickness1.58 mm
CompositionNickel-plated steel
94% steel,
3.8% Cu,
2.2% Ni plating
Years of minting1870–present
Catalog number-
DesignQueen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada
DesignerSusanna Blunt
Design date2003
DesignerEmmanuel Hahn
Design date1937

History of composition

2000–present 4.40 g 23.88 mm 94.0% steel (unspecified alloy), 3.8% copper, 2.2% nickel plating
1968–1999 5.05 g 23.88 mm 99.9% nickel
1967–1968 5.83 g 23.88 mm 50% silver, 50% copper
1953–1967 5.83 g 23.88 mm 80% silver, 20% copper
1920–1952 5.83 g 23.62 mm 80% silver, 20% copper
1910–1919 5.83 g 23.62 mm 92.5% silver, 7.5% copper
1908–1910 5.81 g 23.62 mm 92.5% silver, 7.5% copper

From 1920 until 1967 the quarter contained 0.15 troy ounces of silver—one quarter as much as the silver dollar (0.60 ozt), one half as much as the 50-cent piece, and 2 12 times more than the dime.

Commemorative reverses

Ordinarily featuring a caribou,[3] the quarter has the most commonly altered reverse in Canada and is the usual venue for commemorative issues.

In 2004, a quarter was issued in honour of Remembrance Day, featuring a corn poppy on the reverse, a traditional symbol in Canada of that day. This resulted in a bizarre international incident, in which American military contractors unfamiliar with the coin's design believed these coins were outfitted with nanotechnology designed for espionage.[4]

Single commemorative designs

Image Year Theme Artist Mintage Notes
1967 Canada's Centennial Alex Colville 48,855,500 The reverse featured a Canada lynx.
1973 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Paul Cederberg 135,958,589 The reverse depicted a mounted RCMP officer

obverse featured Queen Elizabeth II.

2002 Canadian Maple Leaf Judith Chartier 30,627,000 1952–2002
2004 Acadia (Île Ste. Croix) R.R. Carmichael,
Stan Witten
15,400,000 The reverse depicted a 17th-century sailing ship, "La Bonne-Renommée"[5] and the dates 1604–2004.
2004 Remembrance Day Cosme Saffioti,
Stan Witten
28,500,000 The reverse featured a corn poppy coloured red, the first coloured general circulation coin in the world.[6]
2005 Year of the Veteran Elaine Gobel 29,396,000
2006 Pink Ribbon Cosme Saffioti 29,798,000[7] The second colourized coin in general issue. The colouration is more scratch-resistant.
2006 Medal of Bravery RCM Engravers 20,040,000[7]
2008 Remembrance Day 90th anniversary Cosme Saffioti,
Stan Witten
11,000,000 Re-issue of 2004 design (but with a superior red poppy process & appearance), with '1918 Armistice' added to commemorate 90th anniversary.
2010 65th anniversary of World War II[8] Cosme Saffioti 11,000,000 Features a soldier with a bowed head and hands on a rifle in front of a maple leaf. Two coloured poppies are on each side of the soldier.
2013 100th anniversary of the Canadian Arctic Expedition[9] Bonnie Ross 12,500,000 Features two varieties of frosted accents.
2015 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag 12,500,000[10] Features fifty children holding the flag of Canada. Half issued colourized.
2015 100th anniversary of the writing of In Flanders Field 12,500,000[10]
2017 Canada 150 Joelle Wong 20,000,000[10] Features a turtle, bird and beaver, all decorated with aboriginal patterns, reaching toward a plant growing out from a pair of hands to symbolize how all Canadians are connected in protecting Canada's future. The theme of the coin is "Canada's Future".
2017 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup Steve Hepburn 12,500,000[10] Features the Stanley Cup, flanked by two hockey players; on the left is a player who would have vied for the trophy in its early days, and on the right is a hockey player from today's era.

1992 125th Anniversary of Confederation

In 1992, to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Confederation, the Mint released twelve commemorative coins, one for each Canadian province and territory at the time. These were the inspiration[11] for the US 50 State Quarters program of 1999–2008. Nunavut, which separated from the Northwest Territories seven years later in 1999, was honoured with a special $2 coin.

Image Province/territory Date of Release Description Artist Mintage
Alberta 1992-06-04 June 4, 1992 The Alberta badlands Mel Heath 12,133,000
British Columbia 1992-11-09 December 9, 1992 An orca surfacing with the Coast Mountains in the distance Carla Egan 14,001,000
Manitoba 1992-04-07 April 7, 1992 A Hudson's Bay Company fort Muriel Hope 11,349,000
New Brunswick 1992-01-09 January 9, 1992 The Hartland Bridge Ronald Lambert 12,174,000
Newfoundland and Labrador 1992-03-05 March 5, 1992 A fisherman in a dory Christoper Newhook 11,405,000
Northwest Territories 1992-02-06 February 6, 1992 An inuksuk Beth McEachen 12,580,000
Nova Scotia 1992-09-09 September 9, 1992 The Peggys Point Lighthouse at Peggy's Cove Bruce Wood 13,600,000
Ontario 1992-08-06 August 6, 1992 A windswept tree on the Canadian Shield Greg Salmela 14,263,000
Prince Edward Island 1992-07-07 July 7, 1992 The province's distinctive coastline Nigel Roe 13,001,000
Quebec 1992-10-01 October 1, 1992 Sailboats at Percé Rock Romualdas Bukauskas 13,607,000
Saskatchewan 1992-11-05 November 5, 1992 Ears of wheat, grain elevators, and a train of Canadian Wheat Board hopper cars Brian Cobb 14,165,000
Yukon 1992-05-07 May 7, 1992 The Kaskawulsh Glacier Libby Dulac 10,388,000

1999/2000 Millennium quarters

In April 1998, the Mint announced the Millennium Coin Design Contest, a contest open to all Canadians to submit designs for twenty-four millennium quarters, one for each month of 1999 and 2000. The 1999 designs were meant to look back on Canada's past, while the 2000 designs looked to the future. While the 1999 coins were labeled with their month of issue, the 2000 coins were labeled with the relevant theme (see below).

Image Month Theme Artist Date of Issue Mintage
January 1999 A Country Unfolds Peter Ka-Kin Poon January 5, 1999 12,238,559
February 1999 Etched in Stone Lonnie Springer February 1, 1999 13,985,195
March 1999 The Log Drive Marjolaine Lavoie 15,157,061
April 1999 Our Northern Heritage Kenojuak Ashevak March 30, 1999 15,214,397
May 1999 The Voyageurs Sergiy Minenok May 3, 1999 14,906,187
June 1999 From Coast to Coast Gordon Ho June 2, 1999 19,821,722
July 1999 A Nation of People Maria H. Sarkany July 1, 1999 16,537,018
August 1999 The Pioneer Spirit Alzira Botelho August 3, 1999 17,621,561
September 1999 Canada Through a Child's Eye Claudia Bertrand August 27, 1999 31,077,650
October 1999 A Tribute to First Nations Jason Edward Read October 4, 1999 31,964,487
November 1999 The Airplane Opens the North Brian R. Bacon 27,437,677
December 1999 This Is Canada J.L. Pierre Provencher 42,927,482
January 2000 Pride

Red color was added to the two on Maple Leaf

Donald F. Warkentin January 6, 2000 50,749,102
February 2000 Ingenuity John Jaciw February 4, 2000 35,812,988
March 2000 Achievement Daryl Ann Dorosz 35,135,154
April 2000 Health Anny Wassef April 5, 2000 34,663,619
May 2000 Natural Legacy Randy Trantau 36,416,953
June 2000 Harmony Haver Demirer June 1, 2000 34,604,075
July 2000 Celebration

Red color was added to the Flag

Laura Paxton June 29, 2000 34,816,329
August 2000 Family Wade Stephen Baker August 1, 2000 34,320,111
September 2000 Wisdom Cezar Şerbănescu September 6, 2000 33,993,016
October 2000 Creativity Eric (Kong Tat) Hui October 4, 2000 35,102,206
November 2000 Freedom Kathy Vinish November 1, 2000 33,251,352
December 2000 Community Michelle Thibodeau December 4, 2000 34,378,898

2005 Alberta and Saskatchewan Centennial

In 2005, to celebrate the centennials of the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, two commemorative quarters were issued. The public was given the opportunity to vote on the coin design through two toll-free phone numbers.

There were four candidate designs for the Alberta quarter: Big Sky Country, Alberta's Natural Beauty, A Dynamic Century, and Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. The winning design was Big Sky Country, by Michelle Grant, and depicted an oil derrick with cattle grazing at its base.[12] The coin had a mintage of 20,640,000.[13]

There were three candidate designs for the Saskatchewan quarter: The Western Meadowlark, Canada Geese over Wascana Lake, and The Round Dance Celebration. The winning design was Western Meadowlark, designed by Paulette Sapergia.[14] The coin's mintage was 19,290,000.[13]

Image Province Date of Issue Artist Mintage
Alberta July 19, 2005[15] Michelle Grant 20,640,000
Saskatchewan July 13, 2005[16] Paulette Sapergia 19,290,000

2010 Vancouver Olympics

The Olympic coins do not have the inscription 'D.G. Regina' (Latin for 'By the Grace of God, Queen') making the coins "godless circulating coins". There has been a couple of circulation strike mule coins in this series, including 2007 Paralympic wheelchair curling and 2009 Olympic Alpine Skiing coins. With the medalist coins now called the Olympic moments coins, a very small percentage will be a colourized version.

Image Date of Issue Sport Artist Mintage
February 23, 2007 Curling Glen Green 22,000,400
April 3, 2007 Ice Hockey Glen Green 22,000,400
July 11, 2007 Wheelchair curling Glen Green 22,000,400
September 12, 2007 Biathlon Glen Green 22,000,400
October 24, 2007 Alpine Skiing Glen Green 22,000,400
February 20, 2008 Snowboarding Glen Green 22,000,400
April 16, 2008 Freestyle Skiing Glen Green 22,000,400
November 18, 2008 Figure Skating Glen Green 22,000,400
2008 Bobsleigh Glen Green 22,400,000
January 15, 2009 Cross Country Skiing Glen Green 44,400,000
March 12, 2009 Speed Skating Glen Green 22,400,000
2009 Sledge hockey Glen Green 22,400,000
September 29, 2009 Men's Ice Hockey J.B. & RCM engravers 20 000 000
September 29, 2009 Men's Ice Hockey (colour) J.B. & RCM engravers 2,800,000
September 29, 2009 Men's Ice Hockey (colour engraved 2)[17] J.B. & RCM engravers 200,000[17]
November 17, 2009 Women's Ice Hockey J.B. & RCM engravers TBA
November 17, 2009 Women's Ice Hockey (colour) J.B. & RCM engravers 3,000,000
January 5, 2010 Cindy Klassen J.B. & RCM engravers 19,000,000[18]
January 5, 2010 Cindy Klassen (colour) J.B. & RCM engravers 3,000,000

2011 Legendary Nature

Image Date of Issue Animal Mintage
January 2011 Wood bison 6,250,000[19]
January 2011 Wood bison – colourized (green) 6,250,000[19]
February 2011 Orca 6,250,000[19]
February 2011 Orca – colourized (blue) 6,250,000[19]
March 2011 Peregrine falcon 6,250,000[19]
March 2011 Peregrine falcon – colourized (yellow) 6,250,000[19]

2012 War of 1812 Bicentennial

Image Date of Issue Theme Artist Mintage Notes
October 13, 2012 Sir Isaac Brock Bonnie Ross 12,500,000 Half feature a coloured maple leaf from the War of 1812 logo, while the remaining coins have a frosted portrait of Major-General Brock while the maple leaf remains unpainted.[20]
November 19, 2012 Tecumseh Bonnie Ross 12,500,000 Half feature a coloured maple leaf from the War of 1812 logo, while the remaining coins have a frosted portrait of Tecumseh while the maple leaf remains unpainted.[21]
March 18, 2013 Charles-Michel de Salaberry Bonnie Ross 12,500,000 Half feature a coloured maple leaf from the War of 1812 logo, while the remaining coins have a frosted portrait of Lieutenant Colonel de Salaberry while the maple leaf remains unpainted.[22]
June 22, 2013 Laura Secord Bonnie Ross 12,500,000 Half feature a coloured maple leaf from the War of 1812 logo, while the remaining coins have a frosted portrait of Laura Secord while the maple leaf remains unpainted.

First strikes

Year Theme Mintage Issue Price
2004 The Poppy 9,928 $19.95
2004 MOOSE 1,907 $14.95
2005 Alberta Centennial 8,936 $14.95
2005 Saskatchewan Centennial 6,926 $14.95
2005 Year of the Veteran 7,820 $14.95
2006 Medal of Bravery 5,000 $15.95
2006 New Mint Mark 5,000 $29.95
2006 Pink Ribbon 20,000 $15.95

Olympic first strikes

Year Sport Artist Mintage Issue Price Release Date
2007 Curling Glen Green 10,000 $15.95 February 24
2007 Ice Hockey Glen Green 10,000 $15.95 April 4
2007 Paralympic Curling Glen Green 10,000 $15.95 July 11
2007 Biathlon Glen Green 10,000 $15.95 September 12
2007 Alpine Skiing Glen Green 10,000 $15.95 October 24

Canada Day

Since 2000, the RCM has been issuing colourized quarters on Canada Day with designs aimed to attract young collectors. As with other collector coins issued by the RCM, the Canada Day series coins are non-circulating legal tender.

Year Theme Artist Mintage Issue Price Special Notes
2000 Millennium Coloured Coin "Canada Day" Laura Paxton 26,106 $8.95 1st Canada Day Coin.
2001 Canada Day Coloured Coin Silke Ware 96,352 $9.95
2002 Canada Day Coloured Coin Judith Chartier 49,901 $9.95 Version w/o colour was circulated.
2003 Canada Day Coloured Coin Jade Pearen 63,511 $9.95
2004 Canada Day Coloured Coin Cosme Saffioti 44,759 $9.95
2004 Canada Day Multi-Ply Plated Steel Nick Wooster 29,762 $24.95 Part of Canada Day bundle.
2005 Canada Day Coin Stan Witten $9.95
2006 Canada Day Coin (coloured featuring two children holding a Canadian flag) $9.95 Packaged with four Crayola crayons.
2007 Canada Day Coin (coloured featuring RCMP) $9.95 Packaged with tattoos.
2008 Canada Day Coin (coloured featuring a cool moose in shades with his cap on backwards) $9.95 Packaged with tattoos.
2009 Canada Day Coin (coloured featuring caricatures of the circulation-coin animals polar bear, beaver, loon and caribou] all in a schooner) $14.95 Packaged with a postcard and a magnetic frame with character magnets.

Other notable dates

A 1917 quarter featuring King George V
  • The 1906 Small Crown is valued in the thousands of dollars even for very poor conditions.
  • 1936 marked two valuable variations, the Bar and the Dot, both trend for over $1,000 in uncirculated condition.
  • The 1951 Low Relief was predominantly only made available in proof-like sets and have a mintage of around 500.
  • The 1973 Large Bust is among the most desired Canadian Quarter. They sell for around $300 in Proof Like or Specimen condition and can sell in the thousands for high-end circulation strikes.
  • The 1991 quarter had a low mintage, of 459,000
  • The 1992 New Brunswick quarter has several rotated die versions, with the 180-degree rotation selling for between $100 and $200 in uncirculated condition.
  • 1999 featured mule versions of the September and November quarters. These coins do not have the 25 CENTS mark on them, making them legal tender without face value. Either usually sells for over $10 depending on the condition of the coin. The Royal Canadian Mint estimates a combined mintage of 10,000 to 50,000 of the September and November mules.
  • The 2000 Millennium Map Mule. Highly sought after by collectors, this is a modern rarity with about 100 known examples, as referenced in population reports of coin certification services (ICCS, CCCS, PCGS, NGC).
  • 2000P Caribou: two examples are known to exist. They fetch $40,000 or more (ICCS has graded both in MS-64: ICCS 2010 Population report). Both are in private collections.
  • 2000P Creativity: two are known to exist. They fetch $15,000 to $20,000 (ICCS has graded one in MS-62 and the other in MS-66: ICCS 2010 Population report).
  • 2000P Community: five are known to exist. They fetch $12,000 to $15,000 (ICCS has graded one in MS-60, two in MS-62, and two in MS-63: ICCS 2010 Population report).

The Tooth Fairy and Friends

Starting in 2011, the mint began selling special sets for newborn babies, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, "Oh Canada" and the Tooth Fairy. The tooth fairy quarters also come packaged separately.[23]


  • The first commemorative coins were planned for 1927 to celebrate Canada's 60th anniversary. A contest was held and the winner for the twenty-five-cent coin was J.A.H. MacDonald; however, the Mint decided to not turn the design into coinage.[24]
  • When coinage was changed in 1937, the caribou (currently on the quarter) was originally planned for the five-cent coin, the beaver (nickel) was planned for the ten-cent coin, and the Bluenose (dime) was planned for the twenty-five-cent coin.[24]
  • The lowest mintage of any circulated quarter post-World War II was in 1991; low mintage was attributed to a work stoppage and using up stock in preparation for the release of the commemorative quarters the following year. The total mintage was a mere 459,000 including collector sets and proofs.[25]
  • Canadian quarters were not issued into circulation in 1997 and 1998. In 1997, only 525,257 quarters were produced. In 1998, only 395,617 quarters were produced; even fewer than in 1991. All of them were issued in collector sets or proofs and none were issued into circulation.
  • The caribou on the 25-cent piece dates back to 1936 when a change in the sovereign's image on circulation currency prompted the Canadian government to modify the designs on the reverse side of coins as well. The caribou design was created by Canadian artist Emanuel Hahn, initially used in 1937. It has been temporarily replaced in some years; in 1967 for the Canadian centennial (with a Canada lynx), in 1973 to celebrate the centennial of the North-West Mounted Police, in 1992 for Canada's 125th anniversary, and in 1999 and 2000 by the winning designs of the Millennium coin program.


  1. Corbeij, André (July 17, 2018). ""Quatre trente sous pour une piastre!"" (in French).
  2. "TRENTE-SOUS : Définition de TRENTE-SOUS". www.cnrtl.fr (in French).
  3. "A familiar face – the 25-cent coin". Royal Canadian Mint. Archived from the original on 2012-10-25. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
  4. Poppy quarter led to spy coin warnings Archived 2009-04-27 at the Wayback Machine, CBC.ca
  5. Charlton Standard of Canadian Coins, p.135
  6. Royal Canadian Mint Currency Timeline, pp. 10-11. Archived 2013-10-17 at the Wayback Machine To produce the coloured coin, the Mint developed a special high-speed colouring process that allowed it to produce 30 million coins, and which ensures the colour sticks to the metal and resists daily wear.
  7. Royal Canadian Mint 2006 Annual Report, p. 46
  8. "National Defense Canada - Army News". Archived from the original on September 5, 2012.
  9. "Mint.ca - News Releases". Archived from the original on 2013-12-25. Retrieved 2013-12-24.
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  11. "Canada and U.S. 50 States". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
  12. "Alberta's Centennial Coin". Archived from the original on 2007-04-04. Retrieved 2007-05-07.
  13. Royal Canadian Mint "2005 Annual Report" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2008-02-16. Retrieved 2008-01-01., page 38. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
  14. "Government of Saskatchewan". Government of Saskatchewan. Archived from the original on October 20, 2008.
  15. Canada, Employment and Social Development. "Royal Canadian Mint to unveil 2005 Alberta Centennial 25-cent coin - Canada.ca". www.canada.ca. Archived from the original on 2017-04-01. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
  16. "ROYAL CANADIAN MINT INTRODUCES 25-CENT COINS CELEBRATING SASKATCHEWAN'S CENTENNIAL | News and Media | Government of Saskatchewan". Government of Saskatchewan. Archived from the original on 2017-04-01. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
  17. Canadian Coin News, "Engraved 2 variety an instant 25-cent key date", p.1, Volume 47, Number 18, December 22 to January 4, 2010 & Canadian Coin News, "Mint sticking to guns on variety report", p.31, Volume 47, Number 19, January 5 to January 18, 2010
  18. "Coins and Canada - Canadian Coins, Price Guide, Errors et Varieties and Bank Notes". Archived from the original on 2010-04-12. Retrieved 2010-01-17.
  19. "Celebrating 100 years of Parks Canada | Royal Canadian Mint". Archived from the original on October 17, 2013.
  20. "War of 1812 Hero Major-General Sir Isaac Brock Commemorated on Royal Canadian Mint 25-Cent Circulation Coin". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
  21. "War of 1812 Hero Tecumseh Commemorated on Royal Canadian Mint 25-Cent Circulation Coin". Royal Canadian Mint.
  22. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-04-24. Retrieved 2013-04-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. "2012 CANADA Tooth Fairy Gift Sett Special quarter reverse Mint sealed | eBay". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
  24. Striking Impressions, James A. Haxby, 1983, ISBN 0-660-91234-1
  25. Charlton Standard of Canadian Coins, p.128
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