It was on this day in 1870 that Canada’s finance minister authorized legally struck copper tokens, sous, and half-pence as cents, and Canadian one-pence pieces as two cents, effective Oct. 1, 1870.
The first coins of the Dominion of Canada, issued in 1870, were silver 5-, 10-, 25- and 50-cent pieces.
Bronze cents were added in 1876.
All coins bore on the obverse the head of Queen Victoria.
Silver coins bore the value and date in a crowned maple wreath on the reverse; the cent bore the value and date in a circle enclosed by a continuous maple vine. These coins were variously issued until 1901.
In 1902 the crowned bust of Edward VII replaced the head of Queen Victoria. In 1911 the crowned bust of George V replaced that of Edward VII.
Another interesting fact: waiting for the shipment of 1870 coins to arrive from England, the government issued 25-cent notes dubbed “shinplasters”, named after similar U.S. notes that were reportedly used during the American revolution as boot liners.