Saturday, July 3, 2010

For the Canadians

My student will be moving to Canada eventually and I decided to look for Canadian slang.  What is it that Canadians say that makes them Canadians?

As it turns out, Canadians are not just Americans with socialized health care and better personalities.  They have unique expressions and things that are only found there. Imagine my American surprise to know our brother to the North has a sass all his own.

What can I say, between backbacon and beavertail, I just may have to move up there! That and I'd love to be able to call money a toonie.  I don't think I'd be able to control myself though. I'd be adding on the oonie to everything. Onnie, fivoonie (five), etc.

WE CALL (Canadians) IT, THEY (Americans) CALL IT

backbacon Canadian bacon
icing sugar powdered sugar
whitener powdered non-dairy creamer put in coffee or tea
processed cheese american cheese
chocolate bar candy bar.
brown bread whole wheat bread
homo milk whole milk
rye & ginger canadian whiskey and gingerale
write (a test) take a test
invigilate (an exam) to proctor an exam
tutorial recitation
marking (a test) grading a test
public school elementary school
supply teacher substitute teacher
college community college
zed (Z) zee (Z)
chesterfield couch
the bill what Canadians ask for in a restaurant (Americans ask for the check)
eavestrough rain gutter on the eaves (edge of the roof) of a house
elastic rubber band
girl guides girl scouts
housecoat robe or bathrobe
hydro electricity
serviette paper napkin
tap faucet or spigot
washroom bathroom
track pants sweat pants
runners tennis shoes
muskoka chair large, usually wooden deck chair
postal code zip code


beavertail deep-fried dessert pastry resembling a beaver's tail
poutine French fries covered with cheese curds and gravy
ketchup chips believe it or not
vinegar on fries especially fish & chips
butter tart a small, pecan-pie-like tart
nanaimo bar a multilayer brownie and icing
tortiere a french-canadian meat pie
milk in a bag comes in a group of 3 bags

5-pin bowling a smaller ball, and only 5 pins---great for kids and drunks
mountie member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (like the FBI)
toonie (or twoonie) Canadian two-dollar coin (since 1996)
toque (or tuque) woollen, usually pointed cap worn in the winter

Check out the full page at Canadianisms


  1. Yay alright, I get to comment on this one. First, isn't the money awesome? It's like a really funny joke. We call the $1 coin a loonie (because it has a picture of a loon on the back) and then the $2 coin a toonie because, well, that one's a bit stupid but still funny.

    Wow that whole list of Canadianisms just made me feel really homesick. They are all true and now they have been verified for you. Although, it should be noted that Canadians say many of the 'American' terms as well - I'm sure it goes both ways!
    Yummmm I want a butter tart right now!!!!!
    But ketchup chips are disgusting.

    Here, they have a type of backbacon but they call it lombo de canadense. It's not the real thing, so if you try it don't judge true backbacon by this imitation.

    Also, just so you know - Mountie's aren't like the FBI!! Mountie's are just regular police officers (but they mostly work in west coast and up north and they only wear their fancy costumes during official ceremononies. The rest of the days they are just Tim Horton's drinking, donut eating cops like the rest of 'em)

    Tim Horton's - that's the claim to faim. The national food of Canada should be a Tim's double double and a donut ;)

    do u want some homo milk w/ ur cocô, rach?

  3. Homo milk is awesome! LOL
    I have a Brazilian couple of friends who just moved to Canada less than a year ago. If your students needs some Brazilian insight on life there, I can give you her e-mail.

  4. Yeah, I actually laughed out loud in the middle of my class during that one. He said Homo milk and I laughed out loud. A total, hahaha he said Homo milk

  5. Nice Canada shout-out! Right after Canada Day, too. I didn't realize that butter tarts and nanaimo bars were solely Canadian cuisine. Everybody else is missing out! Although I generally dislike ketchup other than when I'm pregnant, ketchup chips are strangely addicting.

  6. Don't believe everything you read on the internet. That list of Canadianisms you quoted is almost all wrong. Some are regional words or ideas. For instance milk is sold in bags only in some provinces. Hydro is used in Ontario. I went to community college and elementary school, brown bread is not whole wheat. I would suggest that if you think that list is correct then you are about 21 yrs old or have lived in only one region of canada.

  7. Oh Lisa, it's just for fun! It's impossible to make a accurate list for an entire country, especially Canada! You guys seem to change a little bit with every mile you move from East to West.

  8. We saw large bags of milk at the grocery store in Toronto, didn't know what to do with them...
    Do you need to buy a separate container to pour the milk in?
    Not practical whatsoever, I'd be whiling to pay a little more for a better container of milk.