All set for your immigration to Canada? Got your bags packed and are ready to embrace Canadian life? Hope you packed a toque as it is quite chilly now. Of course, there’s always a double-double to keep you warm. Have no idea what I am referring to? Well, you’ve got to learn these unique Canadian English terms used here.
Every country or region has a set of slang that reflects its culture. Canada is no different. While the most common language used here is English (except in Quebec where it’s French that dominates), it is different from the language used elsewhere. For writing purposes, the language is a mix of American and British English. Then, there are slang terms that are unique to Canada. Here is a list:
You must be already familiar with this sound as it is commonly used in movies to make fun of the Canadian accent. But I find it super cute. Pronounced “ay”, it is a commonly used slang which is an equivalent of “right?” or “huh”.
Eg: “This list of books to read is remarkable, eh!”
You’re probably going to use this term every day. Sometimes multiple times a day. Except if you are on a sugar detox. Double-Double is a regular coffee with two creams and two sugars at Tim Horton’s, the most popular Canadian coffee chain.
Tim Hortons is Timmies. The chain is named after co-founder, the late, great hockey player Tim Horton. If you do not like Timmies, you’re not a true Canadian.
Loonies and Toonies
A loonie is the Canadian one-dollar coin. There’s a picture of the Canadian bird, the loon, on one side of the coin. Hence the term. A toonie, the name for the two-dollar coin, gained a similar nickname to match the sound of the loonie.
Used only in Toronto referring to the city’s mass transit, run by the Toronto Transit Commission.
Eg: “I am going to take TTC to go to work today.”
A knit hat. Pronounced tuque.
A case of 24 beers.
In India, you pay utility bills or electric bills. In Canada, they pay hydro bills. When I heard the term for the first time, I assumed it meant water bill. But it means electricity. The word is short for “hydroelectric,” which is the primary source of energy in Canada.
Thought it refers to Mickey Mouse, eh? Nah. A “mickey” is a 375 ml bottle of liquor.
“I’m down for it”
Not slang but a Canadian phrase. Last week when my colleagues were making a plan to meet, some of them said “I’m down for it”. I thought they are not available to meet then. On the contrary, they meant “I’m up for it.”
Not athletes but runners are what Canadians refer to as the shoes we call sneakers.
Canadians used the term to refer to something that was done well. Or someone impressive.
Eg: “You bought a double-double for me. You’re a beauty.”
Anything that’s bad/unlikeable/distasteful.
Eg: “Oh that’s a garbage mall. Next time, go to Square One in Mississauga.”
A soda or aerated beverages.
Eg: “Please get a pop with fries and a burger for me.”
This is not slang but a food item found only in Canada. It is simply French fries covered with cheese (lots of it) and gravy. Try butter chicken poutine at New York Fries!
Team TS adds : Here’s a guide to Vancouver, Canada for anyone visiting for the first time. Thank us later!