Lonely Planet Writer

Check out Canada’s new 'toonie', the first glow-in-the-dark coin in circulation

To celebrate its 150th birthday, Canada has launched a new “toonie” coin – the first glow-in-the-dark coin in circulation in the world, featuring Northern Lights that actually light up in the dark.

Canadians call their one-dollar coin a ‘loonie’ – a reference to the loon bird featured on the coin. Naturally, when the two-dollar was introduced in 1996, it quickly picked up the name “toonie”. The new toonie is world’s first coloured bimetallic coin and the first circulation coin to feature glow-in-the-dark technology, according to the Royal Canadian Mint.

With Canada Day celebrations kicking off on 1 July, the Royal Canadian Mint is encouraging Canadians to keep an eye out for the new 2017 coins and keep them to mark the occasion.

“Like the rest of Canada, the Mint is looking forward to 1 July to celebrate everything that makes our country great,” said Sandra Hanington, president and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint in a statement. “Over time, the Canada 150 circulation coins will become lasting keepsakes of this incredible year, so find them and hold on to them for future generations to enjoy.”

Canada has a new coin that is the first glow-in-the-dark coin in circulation.
Canada has a new coin that is the first glow-in-the-dark coin in circulation.

There are actually five new coins released this year, all of which were designed by people from around Canada as part of a national contest. The glow-in-the-dark coin was designed by Timothy Hsia of Richmond, British Columbia, and is called Dance of the Spirits.

Rendering of Canada's glow-in-the-dark coin.
Canada’s glow-in-the-dark coin shows off the Northern Lights. Image by Royal Canadian Mint

As Canada Day nears, the country is getting ready to mark the occasion with celebrations from sea to sea. But travellers have been reaping the benefits the country’s sesquicentennial all year. All of Canada’s national parks have free entry for the year of 2017 and travel companies have been offering special deals for travellers. Canada was even named as the best country to visit this year by Lonely Planet.