canadian two dollar bill

What the $2 bill looked like in Canada and how it was linked to an infamous red light district

Depending on your date of birth, you might remember that Canada once had a one dollar and two dollar bill that were eventually replaced with the loonie and toonie. 

The last iteration of the dollar bill, which was discontinued in 1989,  featured a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and an image of Parliament Hill from across the Ottawa River. This version was green and black. 

The two dollar bill, on the other hand, was put to an end in 1996. It was a reddish-brown colour that also featured the face of Queen Elizabeth II and a meadow scene with two robins. 

While both old school bills hold historical significance in Canada — not to mention that they're pretty difficult to find these days — it's the two dollar bill that has some reminiscing on an infamous Canadian red light district

"Remember them? I still have some. In Manitoba when I was a waitress 40 years ago, no one wanted a $2 bill because that was the currency of the Winnipeg red light district way back when. I guess you got a screw for a two," wrote one Facebook user.

Winnipeg's red light district traces all the way back to 1873. Although it was moved around a lot, unsurprisingly due to concerns from residents, Winnipeg police and city officials approved of it until the murder of Gissele Roberts in the early 1900s. This was when it was closed down, "officially." Of course, sex trade work continued anyway. 

Canadians outside of Winnipeg remembered a similar connotation carried on by the $2 bill. 

"When I lived in Edson, Alberta in the early 80s no one used $2 notes Apparently back in the day that's how much a lady of the evening cost & it was an insult to give anyone that note even in change for a larger bill," another person added

If you come across an old $2 Canadian bill, make sure to hold on to it because they sure hold a lot more history than many people know.

Lead photo by

Old Toronto


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What the $2 bill looked like in Canada and how it was linked to an infamous red light district