In 1987 Canada the $1 banknote from circulation and replace it with $1 coins. The replacing coins were changed drastically from the previous Voyager Dollar series. The diameter was reduced from 32.13 mm to 26.72 mm, the coin shape went from being round to eleven sided and the composition was changed to nickel with a bronze plating. The specific bronze used for the plating is referred to as aureate bronze since its color composition is similar to gold.
The reverse was also changed from the Voyager image to that of a Canadian loon which quickly got the nickname “loonies” by the public.
The obverse design features a bust image of Queen Elizabeth II and the phrase "ELIZABETH II D.G. REGINA".
The reverse, designed by Robert R. Carmichael, features a Canadian Loon on water with an island in the background. On the outer periphery are the words "CANADA" and "DOLLAR". Just below the loon is the year of issue.
Type 1 Queen with Tiara: 1987-1989
Type 2 Crowned Queen: 1990-2003
Type 3 Mature Queen: 2004-Present
Major Design Varieties
1. Large Diameter - 1987, Initial dollar coins were issued with a diameter of 26.72 mm but all subsequent issues would have a diameter of 26.5 mm.
2. Dual Date 1867 to 1992 - 1992 marked the 125th Anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.
3. Maple Leaf Logo - 2006 to Present, Maple leaf logo added to obverse just below the bust of Elizabeth II.
All coins are readily available and affordable.