Coins and Paper Money
Canada uses the dollar for its currency. Paper money comes in $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 bills. The chart below shows Canadian coins, their nicknames, the way you write their value, and whether or not you can use them in vending machines to buy soft drinks or candy. All Canadian coins have a picture of the queen on one side (heads).
|5 cents||nickel||beaver||$0.05 or 5¢|
|10 cents||dime||the Bluenose (ship)||$0.10 or 10¢|
|25 cents||quarter||caribou||$0.25 or 25¢|
|2 dollars||twoonie||polar bear||$2.00|
Most US coins are accepted in Canadian stores and vending machines, just as you can use American paper money almost everywhere in Canada. However, if you go to the United States, don’t try to use Canadian money. Except for towns near the border, American stores will not accept Canadian money. It is better to exchange your Canadian money for American at a currency exchange store or a bank, because then you will get the best exchange rate.
Canada has sales taxes on nearly everything. The government uses the tax money to pay for hospitals, schools, and roads. The Goods and Services Tax (GST in English, [TPS] in French), is a Canadian government sales tax of 5%. The Quebec Sales Tax (QST or [TVQ] is 9.5%). Together, they are about 15%!
You have to pay the GST everywhere in Canada, and most provinces have their own provincial sales taxes between 5% and 10%. You will pay these sales taxes for haircuts, long distance phone calls, clothes, chocolate bars, a cup of coffee….almost everything but groceries (food) and books in the case of the PST. Remember the taxes when you want to buy something, especially if it is expensive. You have to add about 15% to the price. This shows how the taxes are calculated when you buy something:
|plus GST [TPS] 5%||$ 5.00|
|plus PST[TVQ] 9.5%||$ 9.96|