n. — amelioration
the nickname for the Canadian two-dollar coin (see Image 1).
Type: 1. Origin — The two-dollar coin was introduced by the Royal Canadian Mint on 19 February 1996 to replace the two-dollar bill (see deuce). The front of the coin always depicts Queen Elizabeth II, while the reverse side usually features a polar bear (see the first 1996 quotation), except for a few special commemorative editions (see Royal Canadian Mint reference). The locking mechanism for the bi-metallic coin is a Canadian invention (see the 2002 quotation).
Shortly after the coin was introduced, it was nicknamed, with toonie and twoonie or twonie competing in 1996/97. The first form was elegant for its analogy with loonie, which had already become established as the nickname for the one-dollar coin (introduced in 1987), while the third form had its appeal for the inclusion of the spelling "two", with the middle form being a compromise that was very popular in the mid-1990s during the pre-release period (see the 1994 quotations). In the end, the analogy with loonie won and toonie is today the standard spelling.
The Gage-5 describes the term toonie as a blend of the words "two" and "-nie" on the analogy of loonie. Note that Gage-5, published in 1997, already codified today's preferred spelling.
See also Gage-5, s.v. "toonie", which is marked "Cdn", ITP Nelson, s.v. "toonie", which is marked "Informal" and described as "Canadian".
See also: deuce loonie
- There were spelling variants galore for toonie in the 1990s (see above the horizontal line). As of 2000, the form stabilized, but even after that, the mostly oral term toonie is sometimes creatively spelled (see, e.g., the 2003 quotation).
- 1993  If one is a loonie, will a two be a toonie?
- 1994  And we're calling the coin the twoonie.
- 1994  Move over loonie, here comes the "twoonie."
As a recently ordained gambling town, quick to cash in on the requisite glitz and glitter, it figures Windsor would one-up the feds with its own $2 coin commemorating the casino.
"It's intended to be a fun thing for the whole community," said Larry Bannon, chairman of the Windsor & District Chamber of Commerce which launched the project as a fundraiser for various programs. "It is a unique program. And we're calling the coin the twoonie."
- 1995  The opposition suggested just scrapping the $2 bill. That could be an expensive solution, however. Enough loonies would have to be minted to replace about 200 million $2 notes now in circulation. It's cheaper to strike $2 coins than to mint two loonies for each toonie.
Ever wonder what happens to old money? Well, when bills get worn, bank tellers put them aside; periodically, a load of bills is sent to the Bank of Canada, in exchange for credit. The bank used to burn old bills ceremoniously in its furnaces. Nowadays, the bills are shredded.
- 1996  The new coin is larger and heavier than the loonie - 28 millimetres across and 7.3 grams in weight compared with the loonie's 26.6 millimetres and seven grams. The $2 coin consists of two metals: an outer ring of nickel and an inner core of aluminum/ bronze.
The image of Queen Elizabeth is on one side. A polar bear on an ice floe is on the other.
The coin has already been dubbed the toonie, bloon, polar and doubloonie. No nickname has emerged yet as Canadians' favorite.
- 1996  The mint says replacing $2 bills with the coin will save taxpayers $250 million over the next 20 years.
The $2 coin is the third to replace Canadian bills.
In 1931 the 25-cent bill, or "shinplaster,'' as it was called, was discontinued. The $1 bill was replaced with the loony in 1987.
No one is quite sure what to call the $2 coin.
Suggestions include the doubloony, the teddy, the twonie (two loonies) or - in franglais - deuxbear, as in this tax is too much deuxbear.
- 1996  MONEY MACHINES Aren't you missing something in all the fuss about the new two-dollar coin falling apart? It takes one machine to punch out a "loonie." However a "twonie" requires one machine to make the outside ring of the coin, one machine to make the centre of the coin and another machine to punch the two parts together. That's three machines and triple the cost to the taxpayer. Presumably the government will now buy a fourth machine to fix broken "twonies."
Oh well, it's only money.
- 1996  We Canadians should cherish everything that distinguishes us from the Americans. That includes the loonie. And it will probably include the twoonie when the struggle over what to call the thing dies down.
The jury's still out on a long list of nicknames for the two-dollar coin. Heading the list is the twoonie (also spelled toonie and tooney). I suspect this will be the ultimate choice, despite the attractions of bear, bearback, bearbuck, bearbutt, deuce, doozie, doubloon, doubloonie, moonie, nanook, teddy and others too numerous (if not too humorous) to mention.
- 1998  Along Yonge St. as you head south to Wellesley, weaving through the swirl of oblivious walkers come one, two, three, four different women, two old, two younger, panhandling you one after another, making their way slowly north against the stream, softly and fruitlessly importuning their way through the crowd. Into the hand of the fourth beggar, a thin woman with a thin gray face, you finally drop a coin.
"Omigod, wow," she says when she sees it's a tooney. "Omigod, thanks, really thanks."
- 1999  Twoonie Cake -- Watch Vancouver Island's largest non-edible cake being built by the Kidney Foundation using 33,000 twoonies and loonies coins, as part of Twoonies For Transplantation campaign.
- 2002  Beavers appear on our nickels -- and speaking of coins, something else unique to Canada is the toonie, our two-dollar coin. The "bi-metallic coin locking mechanism" that holds the nickel outer ring and aluminum bronze core together is a Canadian invention.
- 2003  "It was about (the size of a twoonie), and now I've split it in two and it's the size of a plate."
- 2008  All students and staff are invited to wear denim and donate a loonie or a toonie for breast cancer on Tuesday.
- 2012  When you go to buy your booze this holiday season, throw in a toonie for McMaster Children's Hospital.
2016 Teddy for a Toonie Spin Class
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Image 1: Front (left) and back (right) of a 2012 toonie. Photo: G. Lim