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Exchange rates last updated Friday, 18 January 2019 11:13:05 AM EST. The online exchange rates provided by this Currency Converter are intended as a guide only and should not be used for transactional purposes. All rates are subject to change from time to time without notice. Exchange rates used in-store may differ from those offered online. The Travelex online sell rate will be used for conversions from US Dollars to a foreign currency.
The latest on USD to CAD exchange rates
The lowdown on the Canadian dollar
Way back in the early 16th century Canada began to establish its currency, but instead of using coins, the likes of furs, wampum shells and, at one point, playing cards were actually considered tradeable currency. With colonization by France and England in the 18th and 19th centuries, coins began to be introduced – and these days, shells are unfortunately no longer considered legal tender, so don’t waste your time searching on the beach!
With a coin shortage throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, there were never enough coins in Canada to go around. It took the public a little while to trust paper money when it was introduced in the early 19th century and by 1837, banks were importing tokens from England known as Papineaus. In 1841, the Province of Canada adopted the Canadian pound, a new system based on the Halifax Rating. However, the Canadian authorities were determined to align with the US dollar over the British pound and by 1894, the Canadian dollar was fully introduced across the country.
These days, the Canadian dollar is the 5th most held reserve currency in the world and accounts for approximately 2% of all global reserves. You might hear it referred to as the loonie, because of the image of a loon bird on the one dollar coin, or as the huard in French.
A look back at US dollar to Canadian dollar rates
Back in 1864, the Canadian dollar reached its highest ever rate against the US dollar when the US temporarily abandoned the gold standard: an unprecedented amount of $2.78 to C$1.
Although most currencies in the Bretton Woods system had fixed values, the Canadian dollar was instead a floating currency between 1950 and 1962, reaching a high of $1.0614 to $C1 on August 20 1957. Falling considerably after 1960, the Canadian dollar returned instead to a fixed exchange rate, pegged against the US dollar at $0.925 to C$1. It remained here until 1970, where inflation meant that it returned to a free floating currency and peaked at $1.0443 in April 1974.
During the USA’s technological boom of the 1990s, the Canadian dollar fell against the US dollar, trading at its lowest ever rate of just $0.6179 to C$1 on January 21 2002.
The dizzy heights of 2007
In 2007, rates rose again sharply thanks to a strong Canadian economy, bringing the Canadian dollar and US dollar at par on September 20, 2007 for the first time since the heady days of 1976. By September 28 rates had continued to rise to $1.0052, and to $1.1024 by November 7.
However, by November 30 the rates had started to slow back down, putting the two currencies again at par. December 4 saw the US dollar falling back to $0.98 and by March 2009, the US dollar has fallen all the way to $0.77. It steadily rose back above the Canadian dollar and was sitting at $1.053 by July 2011, with a steady decline back down ever since.