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Information about currency: Canadian Pound

Currency nameCanadian Pound
Dates1841 - 1858

1 Pound = 20 Shillings, 1 Shilling = 12 Pennies


The pound (symbol £ or C£) was the unit of account for currency of the Canadas until 1858. It was subdivided into 20 shillings (s), each of 12 pence (d). In Lower Canada, the sou was used, worth 1⁄2 penny. Although the pounds, shillings, and pence accounting system had its origins in the British pound sterling, the Canadian pound was never linked to British currency.

Both Upper Canada (Canada West, modern southern Ontario) and Lower Canada (Canada East, modern southern Quebec) issued copper tokens. Between 1835 and 1852, the Bank of Montreal, the Banque du Peuple, the City Bank and the Quebec Bank issued 1- and 2-sou (1⁄2- and 1-penny) tokens for use in Lower Canada. The Bank of Upper Canada issued 1⁄2- and 1-penny tokens between 1850 and 1857.

On notes issued by the chartered banks, denominations were given in both dollars and pounds/shillings, with £1 = $4 and $1 = 5s. Many banks issued notes, starting with the Bank of Montreal in 1817. Denominations included 5s, 10s, 15s, £1, £1 1⁄4, £2 1⁄2, £5, £12 1⁄2 and £25. In addition, small value, "scrip" notes were issued in 1837, by the Quebec Bank, in denominations of 6d (12 sous), $1⁄4 (30 sous, 1s 3d) and $1⁄2 (60 sous, 2s 6d), and by Arman's Bank, in denominations of 5d, 10d and 15d (10, 20 and 30 sous).