On April 10, 2012, the Royal Canadian Mint announced that they began circulation of their next generation of one-dollar “Common Loon” and two-dollar “Polar Bear” coins, minted at their facilities in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The coins replaced their paper counterparts in 1987 and 1996, respectively, and come on the heels of the announcement that the Canadian government will end production of the one-cent coins this year.
Both of the new designs will feature a laser mark micro-engraving, whereas the two-dollar coin will include edge lettering and a virtual image. With the exception of these additional security features, the new coins will have the same diameter and thickness as the current coins.
The actual coins are minted using the same patented multi-ply plated steel (MPPS) technology from which Canada’s lower denomination circulation coins have been made since 2001. By using a steel core plated with alternating layers of copper, nickel and brass, their manufacturing process employs far less metals than alloy coins and produces highly cost-effective circulation coins. This technique also allows for the fine-tune control of the electromagnetic signature of the coins, a fact that is key to the RCM’s production of coins for other countries seeking cost containment, security, and high quality.