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How to Speak Canadian

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How to Speak Canadian

This fall colour photo was taken at Hiawatha Highlands. • Credit: Algoma Country

Use these words and phrases during your next trip to the Great White North

Top 20 List -- I tried to stop at 10 -- Canadian Words



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Do your part by following public health advice. It is important to wear a face mask or covering, practice physical distancing, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Did you ever think when visiting Canada that your friends to the North might have a few different words that perhaps our friends in the U.S. might not understand? Well, we do. It’s not a whole language, but it certainly makes life interesting when one of our visitors looks at us like they don’t understand what we're saying.

For all of our new, old and soon to be American friends, here is a list of must words to know when traveling in Ontario's Algoma Country.

1. Toque pronounced “toohk” - a winter hat or knit cap. 

2. “Out for a rip” - going out for a drive, a snowmobile ride, and pretty much any other kind of excursion.

3. Double-double and Timbits - a coffee made with two creams and two sugars that’s ordered at Canada’s most popular coffee and donut shop: Tim Hortons. Timbits are bite-sized donuts, like doughnut holes.

4. Hoser - a very unsophisticated person.

5. Klick - unlike the rest of the world, we use the metric system in Canada. “Klick” is slang for kilometre. What is a klick? About two thirds of a mile.

6. Toboggan - is a Micmac word “tobakum.” It means sled. It’s a sled.

7. Peameal/back bacon - slices of brined pork loin, coated in cornmeal. And it’s delicious! 

8. Loonies and Toonies - a loonie is slang for the Canadian One Dollar Coin because of the image of a loon on it. The toonie is slang for the Canadian Two Dollar Coin. 

9. Two-four - a case of 24 beer; hence 2-4.

10. Soaker - what happens to your foot after stepping a deep puddle, lake or river. If your foot is completely submerged, you’ve got yourself a soaker.

11. Give’r - often used in extreme sports, “give’r” means to exert as much effort as possible.

12. Pop - another word for “soda.”

13. Mickey - more often than not, the word Mickey makes most people think of that loveable mouse made famous by Walt Disney... in Canada a “mickey” is a 375-ml bottle of alcohol!  Don’t ask about a milileter... that’s a whole other math question! 

14. This list would not be complete without explaining the “Eh”! What does this mean to us Canucks? It’s usually used at the end of a sentence and generally means, “Don’t you agree?” That movie was great, eh?

15. Transport - what the heck is a transport you might ask, well it’s what our American friends refer to as a Semi!

16. Beaver tail - yes, Canada is famous for its furry little big toothed, dam-building rodent. But a beaver tail has nothing whatsoever to do with this cute animal. It’s a deep fried dough treat somewhat comparable to a funnel cake!

17. Poutine - poutine is a wonderful dish of French fries, slathered in gravy with cheese curds on top. It’s a must do treat when heading up here.

18. Washroom - is our polite word for bathroom. The Canadian version of “restroom”.

19. Texas Mickey - a 3-liter (101 oz) bottle of alcohol. I guess because we know Texas is SO big that we called these huge bottles this well-known name!

20. Gitch - men’s underpants also known elsewhere as “tighty–whities.”

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