1870 was the first year that silver quarters were exclusively minted for Canada. This wasn’t long after the British colonies of Upper and Lower Canada united in the “Dominion of Canada” on the 1st of July 1867.
A “British Dominion” is a region within the British Commonwealth that has fully, or in part self-governing authority over the territory that’s within her assigned boundaries.
The first Canadian quarters were designed just like some of the common circulating silver quarters at the time : On the obverse the effigy was depicted of the ruling monarch, and on the reverse the denomination was shown together with two Maple boughs.
In this way the two Maple boughs on the reverse side almost looked the same like the wreath design that was used on Quarters from other countries. With the difference being that was chosen for Maple leaves instead symbolizing the usage as a nation symbol which went back as early as the 18th century.
From 1870 until 1910 the weight was set as 5,81 gram – 0.1868 ozt. Between 1910 and 1968 the weight would increase to 5,83 gram – 0.1874 ozt, all though being produced with different silver compositions.
1968 was the last year that silver Canadian silver quarters intended for circulation were minted. After that they would be produced in 99,9% nickel until 1999. From 2000 until the present day the Canadian quarters are produced in a mixed alloy of steel (94%), copper (3,8%) and nickel (2,2%).
The composition of the Canadian silver quarters minted between 1870 and 1919 is made up of 92,5% silver and 7,5% copper. From 1920 until 1967 the silver content was lowered to 80% with the other 20% making up copper.
In the last season of 1967 / 1968 that Canadian silver quarters were minted the silver percentage would be lowered to 50% and the other half being copper.