Canadians are known for their diplomacy. And it’s a good thing too, since it seems we can’t even agree on the simplest of things. Whether it’s over the correct terminology for their foot-wear or their underthings, Canucks from Salmon Arm to St. John’s can’t seem to stop arguing about linguistics, and the jury is still out on these uniquely Canadian quarrels…
A hoodie is a fine and concise word for a hooded sweatshirt anywhere else, but isn’t the Saskatchewan term, ‘Bunnyhug’, just adorable?
Judging by their terminology, Eastern Canadians are a little bit creepy. It would seem they use their sports shoes for ‘sneaking’ while Western Canadians prefer to run in their runners.
Knowing the correct term for the place from which to obtain an alcoholic beverage is a life skill in Canada. If one were to consider travelling in this great country, it would be paramount to know to look at the Beer Store/LCBO in Ontario, the Liquor Board Store in the Prairies, the Dépanneur in Quebec, and the LC in the Maritimes.
The term for the second and the third meal of the day is a point of contention for Canadians. The term ‘dinner’, it would seem, can apply to both. The disparity in usage doesn’t even seem to be regional, so when making plans to dine with another Canuck, it’s best to just agree on a time.
If Bandaid ever demanded royalties for every time a Canadian used their brand-name to refer to an adhesive bandage, they’d have enough to pay back the national debt with loonies and toonies to spare.
Ask anyone outside of Canada’s heartland where you can buy some ‘gotch’ and they’ll look at you like your toque is on sideways. Albertans, Saskatchewanians and Manitobans, however, insist that this rather crass-sounding term for one’s undergarments is essential for differentiating between tighty-whities and long underwear.
From satellite imaging, it is impossible to determine if there is actually any discernible difference between the secondary holiday dwellings of the central Canada, referred to as ‘cottages’ by locals, and the more-crudely termed ‘cabins’ of the rest of the country.
May Long/Victoria Day/May Two-Four
The reason for the holiday may well be the birthday of the illustrious British Monarch, but here in Canada it’s all about the long weekend! While some of Canada’s upper crust–and most of the East Coast–have respectfully maintained the term Victoria Day, people from out west have seen fit to cut straight to the chase with the term ‘May Long’ while their counterparts in Central Canada have coined it ‘May Two-Four.’
Before endeavouring to wear your thongs to a beach in the western provinces, it would be prudent to know that this term in this area refers to shoe wear and is synonymous with the more widely-used term ‘flip flops’.
Whole Wheat/Brown Bread
“White, brown, or rye?” These are the words you would be asked at any breakfast joint west of the Maritimes. It is common knowledge that ‘brown’ is simply a term for whole wheat bread. In the east, add a generous heap of molasses to that mix.
Gopher/Ground Squirrel/Prairie Dog
Those looking to ignite a heated political discussion at their next Canadian dinner party might want to casually ask to know the difference between gophers, ground squirrels, and prairie dogs. It is advisable to not bring the appearance of spots and stripes into the conversation lest you unleash an ugly and expensive national referendum on the topic.
Would Canada’s favourite summer bevvie, by any other name, taste just as sweet? A slurpee, a slushy? Yes, please!
Case of Beer
In the great, white north, mi-case of beer is not sous-case of beer. Maritimers hold fast to the notion that a case of beer consists of a dozen cold ones, while Ontarians take the stance that a case is twice that size. Those further west don’t give a damn, so long as someone brings a 2-4 on game night.
Close the Lights/Turn off the lights
Strictly speaking, Quebecers’ expression ‘close the lights’ is more mechanically accurate than the rest of Canada who prefers to ‘turn off the lights’ which begs the question, ‘Turn what?’
While Brits crassly demand to know the location of the toilet and Americans ask to use the restroom, here at home Canadians cannot decide whether to do their business in the washroom or the bathroom.
If you want to start an argument, ask a group of Canadians the proper term for that clever elongated cupped contraption that runs along the perimeter of one’s roofline—the one that saves Maritime basements from flooding during a Nor’easter or any inland home from the perils of flash-flooding in a thunderstorm.
What household item do Toronto Maple Leafs fans reach for every year around play-off time? Hush now, this is not the time to argue about whether it’s called a Kleenex or a tissue.
Ski Pants/Snow Pants
Prairie dwellers head-scratchingly refer to snow pants by the more activity-specific term of ‘ski pants.’ The rest of Canada can’t help but point to the obvious—that there are no ski hills within a 200 mile radius.
There’s nothing more Canadian than some polite banter, but whatever your position on semantics, keep it classy and never get your gitch in a twist.