Robert-Ralph Carmichael, creator of loonie's design, dies at 78 on Saturday, July 16 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.
On 30 June 1987, the Loonie coin was released for circulation. The $1 note remained in issue and in circulation along with the coin for the next two years, until the note was finally withdrawn on 30 June 1989.
The coin was instantly dubbed the Loonie after the solitary loon that graces the coin's reverse side; the nickname caught on and Canadians have embraced it ever since. Mr. Carmichael’s Loonie design has stood the test of time due to its simplicity in depicting an icon of Canadian wildlife.
When introduced, loonie coins were made of Aureate, a bronze-electroplated nickel combination. Beginning in 2007, some loonie blanks also began to be produced with a cyanide-free brass plating process. In the spring of 2012, the composition switched to multi-ply brass-plated steel.
On 15 March 2006, the Royal Canadian Mint secured the rights to the name "Loonie" for their one dollar coin.
The introduction of the one-dollar coin in 1987 was the most significant change to Canada’s coinage system in over 50 years. Since that time, Mr. Carmichael’s design has appeared on over 1 billion one-dollar coins.