Monthly Archives: July 2010

Random Canadian English

Hi folks,

I originally compiled this list of Canadian English for a workshop I did recently for an organization that helps new immigrants settle and learn job skills, but I also think this list is great for people that visit Canada for business or pleasure. I know there are words and phrases that I’ve missed, and there may be some regional disagreements with this list, but it should serve it’s purpose, and maybe even generate some fun discussion that leads to a deeper understanding of Canadian language and culture. Enjoy!

“Aboot” – Despite what American T.V. and films suggest, we do not mispronounce “about” like this. Maybe 2% of the population might, but as a general rule – nope.

Can – instead of washroom, bathroom, toilet, lavatory, WC, loo, etc.
Canuck – A slang term for a Canadian, but we don’t take offense!

Chocolate bar – instead of candy bar.
Double-double – a cup of coffee with two creams and two sugars. ‘Tim Hortons’ coffee shop  lingo. If you want just one cream and one sugar, you have to ask for “regular”.

Eh? Said often to get agreement, clarification or confirmation. Americans say “huh?”
Hoodie – A hooded sweatshirt.
Hogtown – old name for Toronto. The kids say T.O. or T-dot.
Homo milk – whole milk with a fat content greater than 2%, usually 3.25%.

Hoser – Nickname for a blue-collar Canadian popularized by Bob and Doug Mackenzie characters from SCTV and “Strange Brew”. Not generally spoken these days.
Hydro – synonym for electrical service, as in “Did you pay the hydro (bill) yet?”

Inuit – our Northern natives/aboriginals. We don’t call them “Eskimos”.
Joe Blow – Means any random person, like John Q. Public or any Tom, Dick or Harry.

Keener – an “eager beaver”, someone who is diligent and works (too) hard!
KD – Kraft Dinner – macaroni and cheese in a box. Americans call is “Mac N’ Cheese”.

Line-up – instead of saying “line” or “queue”. Used as a compound noun and verb.
Loonie – Canadian one dollar coin, that has a picture of a loon (bird) on it.

Mickey – no, not the mouse. This is the name for the small, pocket-sized bottle of booze.

Newfie – a person from Newfoundland, that tends to be the brunt of a lot of jokes. In today’s politically correct world, this is considered insulting and no longer acceptable to use.
Pissed – can mean angry or drunk.
Pogey – old name for (un)employment insurance given by the government.
Pop – Instead of “soda pop” or “soda”. Also slang for beer, made popular by Hockey Night in Canada personality Don Cherry on The Coach’s Corner.
Poutine – french fries topped with cheese curd and covered with hot gravy.

Puck-Bunny – a girl that likes hockey players, as in a “groupie”.
Runners – running shoes. We don’t often say “tennis shoes”, “trainers”, “sneakers” or “joggers”.

Shinny – means pond, river or street hockey. A.K.A. a game of pick-up.
Ski-Doo – used generically to refer to any snowmobile.
Snowbird – a Canadian who spends the winter in the south, like in Florida. This is also the name of our national team of airplanes that perform at air shows.
Timbits – donut holes sold at Tim Hortons or “Timmy’s”. By the way, Tim Horton was an ex-NHL hockey player who started the first Tim Hortons shop in 1964 in Hamilton.

Toboggan – What we call our sleds and sleighs that we ride down the snowhill.
Toonie – the Canadian two-dollar coin. Two loonies equal a toonie!
Toque – a knitted winter hat.
26er – 26 imperial fluid oz alcohol – the big bottle!
2-4 – “two four”- a box containing 24 beer.

Washroom – commonly used instead of saying bathroom, lavatory, WC, loo, etc.

Zed – the last letter of the alphabet is pronounced “zed” instead of “zee”.

Email Advice: 5 Quick Tips to Improve Communication

1 – Remember that people only have your words, phrases and punctuation to try to understand and ‘feel’ your meaning in text, so choose them carefully. Be concise and not too emotional. Stick to the point of the correspondence.

2 – Do not use CAPITALS as it looks like you are SHOUTING.

3 – Do not write emails that are too long, as email predominantly is used for quick communication, especially in North America.

4 – Use the Subject line wisely, so people can understand exactly what the email is regarding. In sales (and spam mail), asking an intriguing question in the subject line is a common technique to get people’s attention.

5 – When finished, review your email and ask yourself if the tone of your email sounds personal or professional, and does this match your intention, and the intended recipients’ expectations?

Happy Canada Day! – Here is a little history (article)

Canada on July 1, 1867 a lot like Canada today

Millions of people are gathering all over Canada to celebrate the country’s 143rd birthday, but the Canada of today in many ways is similar to the one of July 1, 1867.

People celebrated, world leaders worked toward a global economy, Canadians felt attached to British traditions and a new technology was changing how people communicated.

Queen Elizabeth II is even here with us to celebrate this year.

In 1867, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth’s great-great-grandmother wrote in her proclamation, “We do ordain, declare, and command, that on and after the first day of July one thousand, eight hundred and sixty-seven, the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick shall form and be one Dominion under the name Canada.”

With those words Canada became a nation.

(RIC’S NOTE: Way back then, Ontario was known as ‘Upper Canada’ and Quebec was known as ‘Lower Canada’, and that is what is meant by ‘the provinces of Canada’ in the above speech by the queen. Yes, Canada was formed with just 4 provinces!)

To read the rest of this article on Yahoo!, please visit this link now: