New Canadian coins useless in machines

April 26, 2012 at 3:28 PM

TORONTO, April 26 (UPI) -- The new Canadian $1 and $2 coins being rolled out this year will cost coin vending businesses millions of dollars to retool their machines.

So far, the biggest blow has been to the Toronto Parking Authority, which has begun refitting nearly 3,000 parking meters at a cost of at least $1 million, the Toronto Star said.

Canada abandoned paper $1 bills in 1987 for a bronze-plated nickel coin with the image of a common loon on one side. It immediately was dubbed a "loonie," a term that stuck.

Similarly, when the $2 bill was replaced with a bi-metal coin larger than the loonie in 1996, it caught on as a "toonie."

The new coins cost less to manufacture and are lighter than the originals, so coin operated machines largely reject them, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said.

That affects the hundreds of thousands of coin machines throughout the country from Laundromats to food and beverage machines to condom dispensers.

However, Royal Canadian Mint spokesman Alex Reeves told the Star the new coins' details were released to the industry years ago.

"Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the individual operators to initiate the changeover of equipment, the necessity of which we have communicated for several years," he said.

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