If you’ve spent any time in Canada, the toonie is likely a familiar sight. Introduced in 1996, the two-dollar coin is one of the official Canadian coins used for normal circulation. A slightly less common sight, however, is the giant toonie. This unique item is a must-see for any numismatist in the Northumberland County area. Plus, it could make a perfect meeting spot for coin collecting enthusiasts!
The Toonie Coin
The toonie is one of the main coins produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. It is a circular coin with a brass-coloured inner section and a nickel-coloured outer section. This gives the coin a two-tone design that is unique among Canadian coins. It is similar to the British two-pound coin (although the colours are reversed) and a few others around the world. However, few are as attractive as the toonie.
The outer ring of the coin is made from steel with nickel plating. The inner core is made from aluminum bronze with brass plating. There have been two major toonie designs so far (besides updating the Queen’s portrait). The first was introduced with the coin and the second, with a revised reverse outer ring, was released in 2012.
Both toonie designs have featured a polar bear on the inner core’s reverse side. This polar bear is likely the most famous bear in all of Canada. Although it was originally an anonymous bear, it has since been named following a contest run by the Royal Canadian Mint. After a total of 166,635 ballots cast, the bear was named Churchill.
As with all Canadian coins, the obverse design features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. This familiar image was designed by Susanna Blunt and has been in use since 2003.
The Giant Toonie Monument
Of course, most Canadian coin collectors are already familiar with the toonie. Less well-known is the monument celebrating the toonie in Campbellford, Ontario. This fun sculpture is located in Old Mill Park along the banks of the Trent River.
The toonie monument shares its design with the original version of the toonie coin, released in 1996. The sculpture is also marked with the year 1996, which reflects when it was completed. It is 27 feet high (8.2 meters) and 18 feet in diameter (5.5 meters), making it a truly massive toonie.
Campbellford is a relatively small community and may seem like a strange choice of location for Canada’s only giant toonie. However, the town shares some interesting history with the coin.
The image of the polar bear on the reverse of the toonie was designed by artist Brent Townsend. He created the design in Campbellford. Thus, the sleepy riverside town is known as the “Home of the Two Dollar Coin.” In fact, it was officially bestowed this title by the Royal Canadian Mint in 1997. The giant toonie was constructed primarily as a monument to Brent Townsend.
The current toonie is actually the second iteration of the monument. The first version stood nearby and was made from over 700 white and yellow lights, taking 100 workhours to create. That version was 20 feet high (6.1 meters).
Although both monuments have been available for free, public access, they are surprisingly easy to miss. Even with its massive size, the monument is obscured from several angles by the trees. So, you will need to know where to look before you arrive.
Find (Regular-Sized) Toonies and More for Your Collection
While you can only visit the giant toonie, you can collect toonies and many other Canadian coins at Colonial Acres Coins. We have a broad selection of coins from the Royal Canadian Mint and around the world. Plus, we have bullion and paper money. Check out our catalogue today and find the right coins to add to your collection or to gift to the numismatist in your life.