Does Canadian Money Smell Like Maple? Demystifying the Myth

Do you know if Canadian money smells like maple? This is a question that has puzzled many people over the years. Some believe that the maple scent is a delightful feature of Canadian banknotes, while others are skeptical about the claim altogether. If you’ve ever spent time in Canada or handled a Canadian banknote, you may have come across this unique aroma. But is it real, or just a myth? In this article, we will delve into the world of Canadian currency and uncover the truth behind its supposed maple fragrance.

For many people, the scent of maple is synonymous with Canada. The country is famous for its maple syrup, maple leaves, and maple wood, among other things. So, it seems only fitting that Canadian money would also have a hint of maple smell. But why would the government add a fragrance to their banknotes? Is there a specific reason behind it, or is it just a happy accident? In this article, we will explore the origins of the myth and try to understand why Canadians are so fond of the idea that their money smells like maple.

If you’re a fan of maple syrup or the great outdoors, you’ll likely find the idea of a maple-scented currency appealing. But does it actually exist or is it a figment of our imaginations? While some argue that Canadian banknotes smell like maple, others claim that the scent is just a marketing ploy. In this article, we will examine the science behind the purported fragrance and see if there is any truth to the claim. From the composition of the bills to the printing process, we will leave no stone unturned in our quest to solve the mystery of whether Canadian money really smells like maple.

The Canadian Dollar: Overview

Canada is known for its picturesque natural landscapes, friendly locals, and hockey. But when discussing Canadian culture, one cannot ignore their national currency – the Canadian dollar (CAD), affectionately known as the loonie. The Canadian dollar is denoted by the symbol $ or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies, such as the US dollar. In this article, we will delve into the history and design of the Canadian dollar, as well as some interesting facts associated with it.

History and Design of the Canadian Dollar

  • The Canadian dollar was first introduced in 1858 to replace the Canadian pound and was initially tied to the value of the US dollar.
  • Over the years, the design of the Canadian dollar has undergone several changes. In 1935, the Bank of Canada introduced banknotes that featured portraits of Canadian landscapes and famous individuals. These were gradually phased out in favor of banknotes that highlighted important events in Canadian history and culture.
  • In 2011, the Bank of Canada introduced a new polymer series of banknotes that featured faces of important Canadians such as Viola Desmond, the first woman in Canada to be featured on a banknote, and Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister. The polymer notes were designed to be more durable, secure, and environmentally friendly than paper banknotes. They also featured a distinct maple leaf-shaped security window, which has been a source of much speculation among Canadians about the smell of the notes.

Does the Canadian Dollar Smell Like Maple?

One of the most enduring Canadian myths about the Canadian dollar is that it smells like maple. This myth has been perpetuated by many, including former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who once stated that he could smell maple when he took a whiff of a fresh $100 bill. However, the Bank of Canada has officially denied this claim, stating that the maple scent that people detect is simply from the printing process and not an intentional feature of the banknotes.


The Canadian dollar is an integral part of Canadian culture and history. Over the years, it has undergone significant changes in design and security features. While it remains to be seen whether the Canadian dollar truly has a maple scent, what is undeniable is that the loonie is a national symbol that Canadians are proud of.

Denomination Color Design
$5 Blue The Canadarm2 and Dextre robotic arms, with a view of the Earth in the background
$10 Purple The portrait of Viola Desmond, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
$20 Green The Canadian National Vimy Memorial and a quote from John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields”
$50 Red The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Amundsen in the Arctic
$100 Brown The portrait of Sir Robert Borden, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

As of 2021, the commonly used Canadian banknotes are:

Historical Evolution of Canadian Currency

Canadian currency has come a long way since the early days of the fur trade, when beaver pelts were used as a medium of exchange. The introduction of paper money in colonial Canada helped lay the foundation for the modern Canadian currency system. Here are some key moments in the historical evolution of Canadian currency.

  • Early Paper Currency: In the late 18th century, the British government authorized the issue of paper currency in Canada to help fund the colonial government. These early paper bills were denominated in pounds, shillings, and pence and were redeemable for gold or silver.
  • Decimalization: In 1858, the Canadian government adopted the decimal system of currency, with the Canadian dollar set equal to the US dollar. This allowed for easier conversion and eliminated the need for cumbersome fractions in daily transactions.
  • Introduction of the Dominion Bank: In 1871, the Dominion Bank was established, paving the way for a more formal banking system in Canada. This allowed for the issuance of banknotes by private banks, which co-existed with government-issued notes until 1935.

By the mid-20th century, Canadian currency began to take on its modern form. Here are some key developments in recent history:

  • Replacement of Paper with Polymer: In the 1980s and 1990s, the Bank of Canada began exploring the use of polymer materials for its banknotes. The first polymer note, the $100 bill, was issued in 2011, followed by the $50 and $20 bills in subsequent years. Polymer notes are more durable and difficult to counterfeit than paper notes.
  • Introduction of New Design Elements: In the early 2000s, the Bank of Canada introduced new design elements to its banknotes, including metallic strips, color-shifting ink, and hidden images. These elements make the notes more difficult to counterfeit and easier to authenticate.
Dominations Front Back
$5 Sir Wilfred Laurier Kids playing hockey
$10 Sir John A. Macdonald The Canadian train
$20 Queen Elizabeth II The Canadian Vimy Ridge Memorial
$50 William Lyon Mackenzie King The Arctic research vessel CCGS Amundsen
$100 Robert Borden The Canadian Museum of Civilization

Today, Canadian currency is recognized for its high quality, advanced security features, and innovative design elements. While it may not actually smell like maple, it remains a source of national pride for Canadians and a symbol of the country’s economic and cultural heritage.

Canadian Currency Design and Security Features

Canadian currency is known for its unique and intricate designs. The Bank of Canada has a team of designers who carefully craft the images and symbols on each bill to showcase Canada’s heritage and values. The front of each bill features a portrait of a famous Canadian figure, while the back includes images related to their accomplishments.

For example, the $10 bill includes a portrait of Viola Desmond, a Canadian civil rights icon, and the back of the bill depicts the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. The $20 bill features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, which commemorates the important role Canada played in World War I.

But the beauty of Canadian currency is more than just skin deep. In addition to the striking designs, Canadian bills also boast impressive security features to prevent counterfeiting.

  • Hidden Numbers: Each bill has a small number hidden in the maple leaf on the front of the bill. This number is only visible when the bill is held up to the light.
  • 3D Security Ribbon: The $10, $20, and $50 bills all include a security ribbon woven into the bill that appears 3D when you tilt it back and forth.
  • Color-Shifting Images: The large maple leaf and the portrait on the front of the bill both include images that shift colors when you tilt the bill.

All of these features make it extremely difficult for counterfeiters to duplicate Canadian currency. Plus, the Bank of Canada regularly updates and improves these security measures to stay ahead of potential threats.

While some may joke that Canadian money smells like maple syrup, it’s clear that there is far more to this currency than just its sweet smell. From its beautiful designs to its advanced security features, Canadian currency is a testament to the country’s commitment to innovation and excellence.

Denomination Front Design Back Design
$5 Sir Wilfrid Laurier Canadarm2 and Dextre
$10 Viola Desmond Canadian Museum for Human Rights
$20 Queen Elizabeth II Canadian National Vimy Memorial
$50 William Lyon Mackenzie King The Arctic research vessel CCGS Amundsen
$100 Sir Robert Borden The Canadian Coast Guard research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen

Overall, Canadian currency embodies the values of the country it represents – from its commitment to innovation and design to its dedication to security and excellence.

Interesting Facts about the Canadian Dollar

Canada’s currency, the Canadian dollar, also known as the loonie, is a colorful and distinctive banknote made of a blend of cotton and synthetic fibers.

  • Canada’s first paper money was issued by the Montreal Bank in 1817.
  • Canada has featured a woman on its currency since the 1930s. Queen Elizabeth II appears on the current $20, $50, and $100 bills, while other notable women, such as Viola Desmond and Agnes Macphail, feature on the $10 bill and $1 coin respectively.
  • In 2011, the Royal Canadian Mint created the world’s first glow-in-the-dark coin to celebrate Canada’s natural wonder, the Northern Lights.

The Canadian dollar is known to have a strong aroma that reminds many of maple syrup, but this is a common misconception. The smell is actually from a type of printing ink used on the currency. The Bank of Canada confirmed this in 2004.

Another interesting fact about the Canadian dollar is that it is regarded as a safe haven currency, particularly during financial crises. This is due to Canada’s stable economy, strong banking system, and the government’s conservative approach to fiscal responsibility.

Denomination Design
$5 The front features a portrait of Canada’s seventh prime minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, while the back depicts Canadarm2 and Dextre, two of Canada’s contributions to the International Space Station program.
$10 The front features a portrait of civil rights heroine, Viola Desmond, while the back depicts a Canadian landscape featuring the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
$20 The front features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, while the back features a Canadian landscape featuring the Vimy Ridge memorial in France.
$50 The front features a portrait of Sir William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s tenth prime minister, while the back depicts the Arctic research vessel, CCGS Amundsen.
$100 The front features a portrait of Sir Robert Borden, Canada’s eighth prime minister, while the back depicts the Canadian Coast Guard Ship, CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

In conclusion, the Canadian dollar is a unique and fascinating currency that reflects Canada’s rich history, natural beauty, and strong economy. Its eye-catching designs, interesting features, and distinctive aroma make it one of the most popular and beloved currencies in the world.

Canadian Currency Myths Debunked

Canada has its fair share of mysteries, myths and legends that captivate people’s imagination. When it comes to Canadian currency, there are a few myths that people still believe. However, as an expert blogger, I am excited to debunk some of these myths and present to you the truth.

  • Myth #1: Canadian money smells like maple.
  • This is perhaps the most popular myth surrounding Canadian currency. Some people believe that Canadian bills and coins have a distinct maple scent. The truth is that Canadian money does not smell like maple. The Bank of Canada, the institution that produces and manages Canadian currency, has confirmed that they do not add any scent to the money during the printing process.

  • Myth #2: The old $100 bill features a naked woman.
  • There is a persistent rumor that the old Canadian $100 bill has a hidden image of a naked woman. The myth stems from a design element in the bill that supposedly shows a woman’s body. However, upon closer inspection, it is clear that the design is made up of an arrangement of leaves, not a naked woman. Furthermore, the bill in question was replaced in 2011 with a new design that does not carry any such image.

  • Myth #3: All Canadian coins have a picture of the queen on them.
  • While it is true that Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait is on the obverse side of all Canadian coins, there are a few exceptions. For example, some commemorative coins produced by the Royal Canadian Mint carry other designs on them, instead of the queen’s likeness. Nevertheless, most Canadian coins do feature the queen’s image, making this myth partially true.

  • Myth #4: Canadian money is made from plastic.
  • Many people believe that Canadian currency is made of plastic, which is why it can withstand washing and other forms of wear and tear. While it is true that Canadian bills are more durable than paper money due to their polymer composition, they are not made entirely of plastic. In fact, the polymer material used to make Canadian bills is a unique blend of materials that is both flexible and strong, making it ideal for use in currency production.

  • Myth #5: Canadian coins are magnetic.
  • There is a common belief that Canadian coins are magnetic or contain some magnetic properties. This myth likely originated because some Canadian coins, such as the Toonie, have a two-tone design that resembles a magnetic field. However, Canadian coins are not magnetic, nor do they contain any magnetic material. They are made of various metals, including nickel, copper, and aluminum.


As we have seen, there are several myths around Canadian currency that are not entirely accurate. While some of these myths may seem plausible, a little bit of research and investigation can reveal the truth. As an expert blogger, I hope this article has helped debunk some of these myths and provided a clearer understanding of Canadian currency.

Myth Reality
Canadian money smells like maple. There is no maple scent added to Canadian currency.
The old $100 bill has a naked woman on it. The design element is made up of leaves, not a naked woman.
All Canadian coins have a picture of the queen on them. While most Canadian coins feature the queen’s image, commemorative coins may have different designs.
Canadian money is made from plastic. Canadian bills are made of a unique blend of materials including polymer, but they are not made entirely of plastic.
Canadian coins are magnetic. Canadian coins are not magnetic and do not contain any magnetic material.

Now that you know the truth behind these myths, you can impress your friends with your newfound knowledge!

The Significance of Maple Leaf in Canadian Currency

The maple leaf is an iconic symbol of Canada, representing the country’s natural beauty, abundance, and diversity. It is no surprise that it has also become an important part of Canadian currency, featuring prominently on both coinage and banknotes. Here, we will explore the significance of the maple leaf in Canadian currency.

  • History: The maple leaf has been associated with Canada since the 18th century, when Indigenous peoples used its sap for food and medicine. It was first used as a national symbol in the 19th century, and by the early 20th century, it had become widely recognized as a symbol of Canada.
  • Canadian Coat of Arms: The maple leaf is featured on the Canadian Coat of Arms, which is also used on Canadian currency. The Coat of Arms represents the authority of the Canadian government and is a symbol of the country’s heritage and identity. The maple leaf is a central element of the Coat of Arms, representing the natural beauty and resources of Canada.
  • Security Feature: Canadian banknotes have several security features to prevent counterfeiting. One of these features is a metallic maple leaf, which appears on the lower left corner of the front and back of each banknote. This feature is not only aesthetically pleasing but also helps to protect the integrity of Canadian currency.

Now, let’s take a look at the significance of the maple leaf on Canadian coins and banknotes:

Banknotes: The maple leaf appears on both the front and back of Canadian banknotes. On the front, it is located to the left of the portrait of the reigning monarch, while on the back, it is featured prominently in the design. The maple leaf represents Canada’s natural resources and the country’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

Banknote Denomination Maple Leaf Design
Frontier Series $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 Small metallic maple leafs on the bottom right
Journey Series $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 Large maple leaf with topographical map of Canada and Indigenous designs
Polymer Series $5, $10, $20, $50 Large maple leaf with security features

Coins: The maple leaf has appeared on Canadian coins since 1935 and is still featured on the country’s current circulation coins. The maple leaf is also the central design element of the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, one of the purest gold coins in the world.

In conclusion, the maple leaf is an important symbol of Canadian identity and heritage, and it is fitting that it is featured prominently on Canadian currency. Whether on coins or banknotes, the maple leaf represents Canada’s natural beauty, resources, and commitment to sustainability. As such, it is a symbol of pride for Canadians and a recognizable feature of Canadian currency to people all over the world.

The Role of Bank of Canada in Canadian Currency

The Bank of Canada is Canada’s central bank that is responsible for formulating monetary policy, issuing currency, and promoting the safety and efficiency of the financial system in Canada. The bank is accountable to the Canadian government and operates independently from it. One of the bank’s crucial roles is the creation and circulation of Canadian currency.

  • Currency Issuance: The Bank of Canada is responsible for issuing Canadian currency, which includes both coins and banknotes. The bank ensures that the cash supply in the Canadian economy is adequate to meet the public’s demand for cash. They also ensure that the notes and coins are of high quality, safe, and secure.
  • Design and Security: The Bank of Canada designs and produces Canada’s banknotes, which feature iconic Canadian symbols, such as landscapes, people, and events. They also use security features, such as holographic stripes, that make it hard to counterfeit Canadian money. The bank ensures that the banknotes are of high quality, durable, and difficult to fake.
  • Withdrawal and Replacement: The Bank of Canada is responsible for withdrawing and replacing worn-out banknotes from circulation. They routinely collect and destroy old, damaged, and counterfeit notes from financial institutions and replace them with new ones. This ensures that Canadian money remains safe and reliable to use.

The Bank of Canada also plays a vital role in ensuring that the value of Canadian currency is stable and predictable. They set monetary policies to maintain an optimal balance of growth, inflation, and employment to ensure a stable Canadian economy. The Bank of Canada constantly monitors and forecasts economic developments in Canada and globally to make informed monetary decisions.

Furthermore, the Bank of Canada collaborates with other international banks and organizations to promote and maintain the stability of the international financial system and Canadian currency. They work with the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements in research and data sharing to prevent and mitigate financial crises.

Bank of Canada’s Roles in Canadian Currency Summary
Currency Issuance Issuing coins and banknotes, ensuring adequate cash supply and quality
Design and Security Designing and producing secure and high-quality banknotes with Canadian symbols
Withdrawal and Replacement Withdrawing, collecting, and replacing old, damaged, and counterfeit notes to maintain safety and reliability
Monetary Policy Setting policies to maintain optimal economic balance and stability for Canadian currency and economy
International Collaboration Collaborating with international banks and organizations to maintain stability and prevent financial crises

In conclusion, the Bank of Canada plays an essential role in Canadian currency by ensuring safety, reliability, and predictability. They are responsible for creating and circulating Canadian money, designing and producing high-quality banknotes, and maintaining monetary policies to promote economic stability. The Bank of Canada’s collaboration with international banks and organizations ensures that Canadian currency and the global financial system remain stable and reliable.

Does Canadian Money Smell Like Maple? FAQs

1. Does all Canadian money smell like maple?

No, only the Canadian $100 bill has the distinct aroma of maple.

2. Is the maple smell intentional or just a coincidence?

The maple smell is intentional. In 2011, the Bank of Canada added a scratch-and-sniff feature to the $100 bill to deter counterfeiting and to pay homage to Canada’s maple industry.

3. Does the maple smell fade away over time?

Yes, the maple scent fades over time. After a while, the bill will lose its aroma, and it will no longer smell like maple.

4. Can you smell the maple scent from both sides of the bill?

Yes, you can smell the maple scent from both sides of the bill, but it’s slightly stronger on the back.

5. Do other countries have scented money?

To our knowledge, Canada is the only country that has scented money.

6. Is smelling money safe?

Generally, it’s safe to smell money, but it’s always a good idea to use caution. Bills and coins can carry germs, so make sure to clean your hands after handling money.

Closing: Thanks for Stopping By!

We hope these FAQs answered your question about whether Canadian money smells like maple. The Bank of Canada’s decision to use a maple fragrance on the $100 bill is a unique and innovative way to pay tribute to Canada’s heritage and culture. If you have more questions related to Canadian money or anything else, feel free to drop by our website again soon. Thanks for reading!

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