The Canadian dollar (symbol: $; code: CAD) is the currency of Canada. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or sometimes C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. It is divided into 100 cents.
In 1841, the Province of Canada adopted a new system based on the Halifax rating. The new Canadian pound was equal to four US dollars (92.88 grains gold), making one pound sterling equal to 1 pound, 4 shillings, and 4 pence Canadian. Thus, the new Canadian pound was worth 16 shillings and 5.3 pence sterling.
The 1850s was a decade of wrangling over whether to adopt a sterling monetary system or a decimal monetary system based on the US dollar. The local population, for reasons of practicality in relation to the increasing trade with the neighbouring United States, had a desire to assimilate their colonial currency with the American unit, but the imperial authorities in London still preferred sterling as the sole currency throughout the British Empire. In 1851, the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly passed an act for the purposes of introducing a pound sterling unit in conjunction with decimal fractional coinage. The idea was that the decimal coins would correspond to exact amounts in relation to the U.S. dollar fractional coinage.
As a compromise, in 1853 an act of the Legislative Council and Assembly of the Province of Canada introduced the gold standard into the colony, based on both the British gold sovereign and the American gold eagle coins. This gold standard was introduced with the gold sovereign being legal tender at £1 = US$4.86 2⁄3. No coinage was provided for under the 1853 act. Sterling coinage was made legal tender and all other silver coins were demonetized. The British government in principle allowed for a decimal coinage but nevertheless held out the hope that a sterling unit would be chosen under the name of "royal". However, in 1857, the decision was made to introduce a decimal coinage into the Province of Canada in conjunction with the U.S. dollar unit. Hence, when the new decimal coins were introduced in 1858, the colony's currency became aligned with the U.S. currency, although the British gold sovereign continued to remain legal tender at the rate of £1 = 4.86 2⁄3 right up until the 1990s. In 1859, Canadian colonial postage stamps were issued with decimal denominations for the first time.