Are Canadian coins "legal tender" in your state?

BrotherCadfael’s comment in the GQ thread pertaining to Sacagawea dollars inspired this one.

Back when I was in upstate New York, Canadian coins were somewhat commonplace, and nary a second thought was had by a clerk at the store, who accepted them.

When we moved out here, though, we were a little surprised at the blatant refusal of such coins. Likewise, I remember having to refuse a Minnesotan customer’s Canadian pennies as a checker. I remembered a time when this wasn’t really done.

So, who here gets Canadian coins in their change, and can you spend it as it were an American coin?

Not in Georgia! We don’t do play money here. If it don’t say C.S.A. on the front, you ain’t gettin’ no stuff!

I don’t care about getting Canadian pennies in my change, though I do separate them out when I’m sorting it. But I certainly wouldn’t accept a loonie or a twonie to pay for something unless the person paid extra to account for the difference in the currency values. (around 1.3 Canadian to 1 US now, I think) If they went to 1:1, or if the person threw in 30 cents extra or so, then I’d take it, since I’m in Canada enough that I have use for the coins. But I wouldn’t take it as a store clerk - it’s so hard to get coins changed, and tends to cost a decent amount.

By the way, when WERE you in upstate NY? What were the currency values like then?

I live in upstate NY and most places around here accept pennies, dimes, and quarters from Canadia (yeah, that’s what some people call it around here), but nothing bigger. You do have to keep things kind of separated though because they really mess up things like coin-operated laundry machines and vending machines.

Here in Maine, I see Canadian coins quite frequently. I’ve never heard of a store not accepting them. What I have encountered are visitors from other states who refuse to accept Canadian coins in the change a cashier(me) hands them. While I don’t blame them for wanting U.S. currency, it always confuses me for a second, until I figure out that they are “from away”.

Before 1988, around Albany. And, you know what—the rates were rather similar then, weren’t they?

Here in Ohio we get them sometimes. Never have a problem spending them either. I work as a cashier and we take them, but we have had some people get mad when we tried to give them a Canadian coin.

Back home in Michigan we spent Canadian coins freely, just as you described. Keep in mind that a bit of Canada touches Michigan right where Detroit is – kids used to go to Windsor across the river to drink since the drinking age was 19.

I had the very same awakining that you did when I tried to spend a Canadian quarter in Florida. I never even considered that someone wouldn’t accept one, after all, they were a part of life in Michigan.

Never even tried to pass one off in Joisey. I very rarely ever see them in my pocket change here.

I spend a lot of time in the Niagara Falls area on both sides of the border, mainly the US side. I receive daily at least one Canadian coin, and often about 20% of my change is in Canadian coins. I think I’ve received a US coin on the Canadian side of the border once.

I get a ton of Canadian pennies in change here in North-east Maine (Downeast) and they are interchangable with US pennies. I get few coins of higher dominations. I am in Canada quite frequently to shop in the superstore (grocery) just over the border but I’ve never gotten US coins in change.

Shore ain’t legal tender here. Sometimes we’d have Canadian pennies come in at the store, and the few times I noticed 'em, I didn’t care. Except for one guy who always took twenty minutes to count out the damn pennies and was a jerk to boot.

In New Hampshire? Are you kidding?

If they didn’t want us to uses them they wouldn’t make them the same size and shape as American coiins. Hmmmm…I suspect some sort of Canadian plot…

There is no plot. We have no designs aimed at subverting the US monetary system. There are no advance operatives in deep cover south of the border. The similarity is coin sizes is purely coincidental.


Uh oh.

Great, now I’m going to have to be eliminated…

You can still be saved betenoir, you just have to repeat the following :
I pledge allegiance to Tim Horton
Of the Dominion of Canada,
And to the franchises for which he stands:
One double-double, indivisible,
With donuts and coffee for all.

Canada? Ain’t that where them Mounties are?

I don’t think a loonie or twonie would be accepted, but pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters are. I don’t think that cashiers would look twice at them. They don’t work in vending machines, but to everyone else, they are pretty much equal.

They are apparently half legal tender here in Massachusetts. Which is to say that I am constantly getting them in change from the stores I visit, but none of those stores will accept them when I try to pay with them. :frowning:


Barry, that’s exactly what I encounter in MA, also. However, the vending machines will happily accept them, which I figured out for the first time only after getting Canadian coins as change from said vending machine.

Hey Joe K, thanks for picking up on this…I was too lazy to start a thread!

In our area, virtually all businesses will take Canadian coins (including loonies and toonies) and bills, although at a discount (the cash registers are programmed to convert).

Some businesses which cater to Canadian tourists will accept Canadian at par, although this may be dependent on the actual exchange rate. I haven’t seen anyone advertising “at par” lately, so the exchange rate may be bad enough that they had to drop the policy. It’s pretty cool when it’s on, though – we go to the bank, get Canadian at the appropriate exchange rate, and then go buy whatever “at par”. Pretty sweet!