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67 Canadianisms and Factoids #Canada150

67 Canadianisms and Factoids #Canada150

  • 8th June 2017

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67 Canadianisms and Factoids #Canada150

It’s a big year here in Canada. We are celebrating 150 years! I set out to do a post of 150 cool Canadian things to show my love for this awesome place. It wasn’t until I got to about number 17 that I realized Canada would probably be 151 by the time I got through a list that long. But what was a good number? I had no idea. Until I finally made my way to number 67. I stopped and quickly did the math in my head – 150 years from 2017 – yes 1867! So here are 67, not 150, cool Canadianisms and factoids:

  1. Eh? – needs no explanation
  2. Toque (or tuque) – a warm knitted winter cap
  3.  Runners – sneakers or running shoes
  4. Ketchup chips – Yes, chips with ketchup flavouring.
  5. A two-four – a case of 24 beer, of course.
  6. Eavestrough – also known as a gutter or rain gutter
  7. Butter tart – the quintessential Canadian tart
  8. Loonies and Toonies – one and two dollar coins. The Loonie got it’s name because there is a loon on the coin. There is no logical explanation for the Toonie other than laziness.
  9. Nickelback – love them or hate them they are ours
  10. Pencil Crayons – also known as colored pencils
  11. Housecoat – commonly called a robe or bathrobe elsewhere
  12. Beavertail – a deep fried pastry sort of in the shape of an actual beaver’s tail but considerably less chewy
  13. Whitener – a powder or liquid used to whiten coffee (think Coffeemate). It seems disgusting but then I hate coffee..
  14. Robertson screwdriver –  simply known as a square head in the US and other places
  15. Ogopogo – Scotland has the Loch Ness monster and we have the Ogopogo.
  16. Winnie the Pooh – Although Winnie is now owned by Disney (what don’t they own?) this honey loving orange bear has some very Canadian roots.
  17. Keener – The polite Canadian way of calling someone an ass kisser
  18. Freezie –  a tube of flavoured ice. Known elsewhere as freeze pops, ice pops or even “Otter Pops” (a US brand name).
  19. Timbits – Donut holes from Tim Hortons
  20. Deke – I suppose non Canadian hockey fans might be familiar with deke although it’s definitely more of a Canadian term. It means “the act of faking an opponent out of position”.
  21. Mickey – no not the mouse. In Canada a mickey is a small flask shaped bottle of hard alcohol that contains 375 ml (almost 13 ounces).
  22. Caesar – No not the salad. The cocktail. It’s a vile concoction typically made with vodka, clamato juice and spices.
  23.  Mountie – Slang for an RCMP officer
  24. Pablum – You actually don’t hear this much anymore but I think most Canadians still know that Pablum is baby cereal. It was invented in the 1930s and was a staple for decades.
  25. Parkade – Sure other places have them, but they call them parking garages or parking decks. Parkade is very much a Canadian term.
  26. Give’r – You will hear this word a lot in reference to sports, or working or partying. It means to give whatever you are doing all of your effort.
  27. Justin Trudeau – Our current Prime Minister. I don’t get in to politics here so I’ll just say “What an ass” and you can take that whichever direction you like.
  28. Maple Syrup – It’s delicious and it’s ours (we do share). 80% of the maple syrup on the planet comes from Canada.
  29. Double-double – How a Canadian orders their Timmie’s coffee with two cream and two sugar
  30. Lentils – since we are talking about food. Did you know that Canada is the largest exporter of green lentils in the world? And 95% of those are grown right here in Saskatchewan.
  31. Stag and Stagette – More commonly called a bachelor or bachelorette party elsewhere. You know, that final hurrah before you tie the knot.
  32. Swedish Fish – Ok no we didn’t invent them. However, we do make them. About 13 million of them a day in Hamilton Ontario. If you eat a Swedish Fish anywhere in North America it was probably made in Canada.
  33. KD – Another one of those things other places have but use a different name. Kraft Dinner or Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is what other non Canadian’s call it. Up here, well ain’t nobody got time for that…
  34. Poutine – fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds. Thank you Quebec.
  35. Milk in a bag – Not every Canadian has experienced bags of milk, it’s definitely more of an Eastern Canada thing. But it is a thing.
  36. No pennies – That’s right we ditched the penny. Sure you will still see some around because they only stopped making them 4 years ago but one day it will be reminiscent of the $2 bill
  37. The Manitoba Social – this is, as far as I know, unique to Manitoba. I’ve never actually been to one but as far as I can tell the general concept is sort of like a cross between a fundraiser and an engagement party.
  38. MCain Deep ‘N Delicious Cake – Cake that doesn’t quite freeze (don’t ask why) so you can pull it right from the freezer and eat it. It comes in chocolate, vanilla, marble and carrot.
  39. Nanaimo Bars – Another sweet Canadian dessert named after a city in BC.  The Nanaimo Bar consists of three layers – a sort of cookie like base, a middle layer of a custard/icing like filing and all topped with a layer of chocolate.
  40. Snowbirds – Actually in Canada this terms has two meanings. First there is our air demonstration team that you might see at air shows. And then there are the Canadians, generally older retired Canucks, that spend a good portion of winter living in the southern US states (Arizona and Florida being favourites).
  41. Head’r – Remember Give’r above? Well we have another one. Head’r means to leave. “Thanks for dinner, now I’ve got to head’r.”
  42. Klick – No we don’t spell click wrong. But we do love the metric system. And klick is slang for kilometre
  43. Humidex – If it’s summer you will usually hear the humidex mentioned in weather forecasts. This is a uniquely Canadian term (others might be using it now but in was born here) to describe not just what the temperature is but how it actually feels. It’s a measurement based on the temperature and the humidity. As I’m writing this it is currently 24 degree and “feels like” (as you often see it used) 27.
  44. Gitch or Gotch – Another word for underwear. I have no idea where we came up with this one. I guess because saying panties makes people feel uncomfortable and we Canadians want everyone to be happy.
  45. Washroom – Generally known as a bathroom, water closet, or just the toilet. Again we are far to polite for those.
  46. Chinook – Any Calgarian can tell you what a Chinook is. We don’t get them here in Saskatchewan (you know because of the lack of Mountains) but they are common in southern and central Alberta. In a nutshell it is a warm, dry wind that blows down the east side of the Rocky Mountains in the winter (usually near the end of winter). It can cause dramatic temperature changes and melt snow quickly.
  47. Hydro – We don’t use this term in Saskatchewan but it is common in other parts of the country and it refers to electricity (because much of it comes from hydroelectric power). I would say I’m going to pay my power bill here in Saskatchewan but in many other provinces they would say “I’m going to pay my hydro bill”.
  48. Pop – Our term for soft drinks or soda pop
  49. Newfie – Someone from Newfoundland of course.
  50. Polar Bears – Somewhere between 50-60% of the world’s polar bear population call Canada home.
  51. Canadian Tire Money – We’ve all got some tucked away in the glove box or a drawer at home. Canadian Tire money is as Canadian as maple syrup. For anyone who doesn’t know – this is paper “currency” that you get whenever you shop at Canadian Tire. You collect it and can spend it like cash at the store.
  52. Anne of Green Gables – the fiery redheaded orphan loved around the world is a Canadian treasure.
  53. Space – Canada is the second largest country in the world, yet is the 8th least dense country in the world. That’s a lot of space.
  54. Winter Olympic Gold Medals – In 2010 Canada set the record for the most gold medals ever won at a winter Olympics by coming home  – no wait we won them at home – with 14 in Vancouver.
  55. The baggage tag – You can thank John Michael Lyons of New Brunswick for this invention. It’s been in use in the transportation system since 1882. And it often works.
  56. Snakes – Canada is home to the largest gathering of garter snakes in the world. You will find the “Snakes of Narcisse” about an hour and a half north of Winnipeg, Manitoba. We are talking about tens of thousands of snakes.
  57. Bathtub races – Yes that’s a thing we do. This sport originated in Nanaimo BC 50 years ago and has a pretty big following. Although the original boats used really were not much more than bathtubs with motors they are full on high tech bath speed boats now.
  58. Screech – I’ve never had Screech but from what I understand it is Jamaican rum bottled and drank in Newfoundland. Wrap your head around that.
  59. The Friendly Giant – oh man this brings me back, way back. The Friendly Giant is a Canadian treasure. This was a kid’s show that ran on the CBC for 27 years beginning in 1958. It was all about a friendly giant (obviously) who lived in a castle with his (puppet) friends Rusty the rooster and Jerome the giraffe.
  60. Mr. Dressup – I just can’t mention the Friendly Giant without talking about another beloved Canadian kids TV show. Mr. Dressup along with his tickle trunk (yes that’s right) and his pals Casey and Finnegan, ran on CBC from 1967 to 1996. It was a little bit like the Canadian version of Mr. Rogers. Quick Fact – Casey the child puppet was gender neutral.
  61. We can read our cereal boxes in two languages. Seriously who doesn’t know that flocons de mais isn’t Corn Flakes?
  62. The Ski-Doo – the original snow mobile was, of course, invented in Canada. Did you know it was suppose to be called the Ski-Dog but because of a typo it became the Ski-Doo?
  63. Coastline – Canada has the longest coastline of any country on the planet and is bordered by three oceans.
  64. The largest fresh water island in the word – Manitoulin Island, Ontario in lake Huron takes that spot at 2,7666 square kms in area.
  65. Big Rodents – yes the beaver is a rodent, and it is the second biggest rodent in the world (only the capybara in South America is larger).
  66. Diversity – Although we only have two official languages in Canada (French and English) over 200 languages are spoken by our various multicultural citizens.
  67. We do like big things. We have the biggest – nickel, apple,dinosaur, hockey stick, Canada Goose,  beaver, axe, moose and fiddle structures anywhere.

Bonus fact:  We DO NOT pronounce “about” as “a boot”. Never have. Never will.

Do you have any to add?



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This article has 4 comments

  1. I’m from SK, SO a hoodie here is a BUNNY HUG…no idea why

    I’m 52, and when I was 13 this is always what it was called (ps. I dont think SK has bagged milk, except for the stuff you use in the soft icecream machines lol)

    • Sask girl here too and we definitely use bunny hug! It’s funny, most people here I know have never seen bagged milk but I remember my grandmother having it. I know she had her milk delivered (small town) so maybe that’s why?

  2. Life Savers, strickly Canadian and also originally made in my hometown of Hamilton, ON.

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