Skip to main content
Home » Industry & Business » 60 Years of Love and Loyalty for Canada’s Second Currency

A Canadian Legacy

You’d be hard pressed to come across a Canadian who is not familiar with our nation’s unofficial second currency — Canadian Tire Money®. However, many don’t know its 60-year legacy originated in 1958 with the launch of Canadian Tire’s first gas station in Toronto.

A.J. and Muriel Billes, 1978

At a time when the industry was dominated by oil giants selling gas at high profit margins, Canadian Tire co-founder Alfred J. (A.J.) Billes realized the company needed an innovative approach to stand out from the competition without cutting prices. His solution was to charge the same as the big oil companies, but offer customers coupons if they paid in cash, redeemable only in Canadian Tire stores. The company could now undercut the oil giants, without advertising lower prices, while driving foot traffic to its stores.

The idea of a discount coupon wasn’t new to A.J. or his wife Muriel.  Muriel wasn’t impressed with what other retailers were doing, so she wanted Canadian Tire to come up with something better.

The first iteration of the coupon was on low-quality paper that didn’t hold up to general usage, but the next round was printed on real banknote paper by British American Bank Note Co., the official printers of the Royal Canadian Mint.

The notes were first handed out in the Toronto gas bar in November 1958, expanding to Canadian Tire stores in 1961, quickly becoming the iconic currency Canadians have grown to know and love.

60 Years: From Paper and Beyond

While Canadian Tire Money will always have a place in our hearts and wallets, the rise of credit and electronic payments meant the company had to evolve its iconic paper rewards program.

In 2000, electronic Canadian Tire Money was first introduced on the Canadian Tire Options® Mastercard®. It allowed cardholders to collect Canadian Tire Money electronically in Canadian Tire stores and gas stations, as well as everywhere else when they shopped with their Options Mastercard. Shoppers without the credit card continued to collect paper Canadian Tire Money when they paid with cash or debit.

However, that changed in 2014 with the launch of the My Canadian Tire Money® program. Customers could now earn electronic Canadian Tire Money when they paid with cash or debit in Canadian Tire stores and gas bars. The value of the program for Options Mastercard customers was further enhanced with cardholders collecting at 10 times the rate of cash or debit at Canadian Tire, Mark’s, and Sport Chek locations across Canada.

A Loyalty Program Like No Other

In April 2018, the company announced an exciting phase in the evolution of its iconic loyalty program with the change of My Canadian Tire Money to the Triangle Rewards™ program, designed to provide Canadians with even more options to earn and redeem rewards.

“We set out to create the easiest and most rewarding loyalty and credit card program in the country,” says Susan O’Brien, the company’s Senior Vice President of Marketing.

The Triangle Rewards program (named after the shape of Canadian Tire’s iconic logo) is now the easiest way for customers to earn Canadian Tire Money online and in-store at participating retailers. That means members can collect — and redeem — electronic Canadian Tire Money at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, and participating Mark’s and Atmosphere locations. “Our first step is giving Canadians more choices to earn and redeem their Canadian Tire Money,” says O’Brien.

As part of the Triangle Rewards loyalty program, the company also announced a new no annual fee Mastercard — the Triangle™ World Elite Mastercard®.

The loyalty program comes with a number of other exciting benefits. Triangle Rewards members enjoy the flexibility of paperless returns at Canadian Tire and its retail banners. Returns and exchanges are simply processed with a Triangle Rewards number or a Triangle Mastercard.

Other perks include special offers and exclusive shopping events for Triangle Rewards members and credit cardholders. Whether through the Triangle app or via email, members get notified of upcoming sales and events where they can collect even more Canadian Tire Money.

From humble beginnings in 1958 to present day, Canadian Tire Money remains unique in the Canadian market. With Triangle Rewards, the program has been expanded to include unique features and benefits designed for life in Canada.

Next article