Stack of Canadian pennies

What to Do with Pennies in Canada

The Canadian pennies have a rich history. A peek into the past gives us a unique perspective on the pennies in your piggy bank and an understanding of what to do with them in Canada. These small copper coins have been part of our daily transactions for decades.

Our story begins at the Royal Canadian Mint, where all Canadian coins, including the Canadian penny, were born.

For years, these pennies were a crucial part of the Canadian economy. You could find them in your pockets, inside grocery store coin-counting machines, or under your couch cushions!

However, the winds of change began to blow in 2013. This was the year when the Canadian government decided to stop the production of pennies. It was a step many other countries had already taken due to the high cost of production and distribution.

But what does the halt in penny production mean for the pennies you still have? Well, the good news is that they remain legal tender. This means you can still deposit them into your bank account at financial institutions. Some coin machines might even give you store credit in exchange for them.

While most pennies might not be in active circulation, they are still a part of the Canadian fabric. In the following sections, we’ll explore how these pennies can be utilized, making the most of what’s left of this iconic coin.

Practical Ways to Use Pennies in Canada

If you’re wondering what to do with pennies in Canada, you’re not alone. Many Canadians have hoards of Canadian pennies gathering dust at home.

Since the Royal Canadian Mint stopped production, these pennies have seen a decline in their use for everyday transactions. But does that mean your old pennies are worthless? Not at all!

Charitable Donations

Penny jar with donate lettering on table

One excellent way to use these old coins is through charitable donations. Your pennies might have lost their purchasing power in retail stores or your local bank, but like donating mattresses, they can still make a significant difference in someone’s life.

Organizations Accepting Pennies in Canada

Many organizations in Canada would gladly accept your loose change. For instance, the Salvation Army is known to take Canadian pennies and other coins. All you need to do is roll your pennies into coin wrappers and drop them off at a nearby location.

Some Coinstar machines found in supermarkets also allow you to donate your change to charity. So, you can empty your piggy bank right into a Coinstar machine without the hassle of counting every single penny.

How Penny Donations Make a Difference

Although a penny might not seem like much, these pennies can have a considerable impact when pooled together. Charitable organizations use these donations to fund essential programs and services.

Imagine if many Canadians donated their old pennies – the sum could help feed the hungry, provide shelter to the homeless, or aid in medical research. Thus, your pennies could contribute significantly to improving our world.

To sum up, just because the Canadian penny isn’t a big player in cash or debit card transactions anymore or isn’t in high demand on online marketplaces, it doesn’t mean it’s useless. It’s all about finding creative and meaningful ways to repurpose these coins.

Recycle at Local Banks and Mints

Recycling is an excellent option if you’re wondering what to do with your home’s billions of minted pennies. After all, these pennies are made up of metal that can still be put to good use.

Let’s explore the process of recycling at local banks and mints.

Penny-Accepting Banks

Several banks nationwide are more than happy to collect your old pennies. They’ll redeem your change, offering you the equivalent in nickels, dimes, bills, or even direct deposits to your bank account. Some financial institutions also provide coin-counting machines, making exchanging pennies easier.

You can also use Coinstar machines, available in various supermarkets and stores. These machines automatically sort and count your coins. Remember, while Coinstar charges a fee for cash exchanges, they waive this cost if you donate your coins to charity.

Understanding the Penny Recycling Process

In February 2013, the Royal Canadian Mint launched a program to recycle pennies. The goal was to recover the metal from the pennies that were no longer in circulation. This effort is eco-friendly and an effective way to reduce the cost of producing new coins.

Once you drop off your pennies at a mint or a bank, they’re sent to a facility where they’re melted down. The recovered metal is then sold to various industries, where it’s reused to produce new products.

Educational Tools

Happy cute girls counting saving pennies

Canadian pennies might have been phased out from active circulation in grocery stores and other places, but they still hold great educational value. They can be utilized effectively in classrooms or at home for fun and learning.

Using Pennies for Education

Teaching children about money is essential, and what better way to start than with pennies? With these coins, you can introduce young learners to value, saving, and spending concepts.

They can teach basic math, including addition, subtraction, or even fractions. For instance, children can learn that it takes 100 pennies to make a dollar or five pennies to make a nickel.

These pennies can also be used to teach history. Children can explore the coin’s design, understand who the monarchs on the coin are, and why the maple leaf is significant. They could even learn about the metal properties of the penny, understanding that it’s made of copper.

Fun Activities with Pennies

Beyond formal education, pennies can be used for fun activities too. Kids can start a coin collection, adding different cents and coins over time. They could make a game of how many pennies make a roll of coins or even a jar of coins.

Another engaging activity can be a penny donation drive. Children can collect pennies from family members, neighbors, or friends and donate them to a charity that continues to accept pennies in Canada. This can be a great way to teach kids about philanthropy.

Lastly, they could use pennies to play pretend shopping games, pay for items with their coins, or even try their hand at art, creating beautiful patterns or pictures with pennies. These activities entertain and teach them how to handle cash and understand its value.


The Canadian penny may have retired from everyday transactions, but its potential uses are far from over.

Whether you’re teaching kids about money, donating to charity, recycling for their metal content, or simply collecting them, these pennies continue to have a place in Canadian society.

So, the next time you find a penny, remember that it’s more than just a piece of history—it’s an opportunity to learn, give, or save for the future. Every penny counts!

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