Beavertail: Deep-fried dessert pastry resembling a beaver’s tail, found extensively throughout Ontario.
Double-double: A popular Tim Horton’s drink. It is a way to order your tea or coffee and it comes added with two creams and two sugars.
Freezies: A cold summer snack that is made up of a sugary flavoured liquid frozen in a plastic tube.
Homo milk: Homo milk is short for homogenized milk or 3% milk. There is 3.25% milk fat in the milk, which makes it a thicker milk to use for things such as tea or coffee creamer.
Nanaimo bar: A dessert slice made up of a crust of chocolate and coconut, a buttercream center layer, and a chocolate top. Named after the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia.
Pop: Means soda. Some places in Canada refer to this drink as soda, and some places refer to it as pop. They both have the same meaning. For example: Coca Cola is a pop drink. Coca Cola is also a soda drink.
Poutine: Name for the popular Quebecois-Canadian food made up of french fries, gravy and cheese curds. The dish originates from the province of Quebec. It was originally viewed in a negative way, but since the 2000’s, it is a celebrated dish all over Canada.
Timbit: Small fried donut holes sold at Tim Horton’s. The word Timbit is a play on the word “tidbit” which means a small morsel of food. They come in a variety of flavours and make for a great bite sized snack to pair with coffee or tea, or to eat on their own.
Gitch/Gotch: Refers to men’s underwear.
Loonie: A loonie is the common name for the one-dollar coin used in Canada. The reason it is called a loonie is believed to be because it has the image of a loon bird on it, which is a common bird in Canada.
Mickey: A small bottle of liquor which contains about 375 ml per bottle. A mickey contains liquor such as vodka, rum or Canadian whiskey.
Mitts or mittens: A pair of gloves to keep your hands warm in cold weather. They are commonly in the form where your thumb is kept separate from the rest of your fingers. They have a higher thermal efficiency as they have smaller areas exposing your skin.
Pencil Crayon: A term which refers to a colouring pencil. Pencil crayons are commonly found in school classrooms around the world. Most retail supply stores such as Staples, Walmart and Superstore carry them.
Runners: Lace-up shoes. With history tracing back to the beginning of the 1900s, runners were made for athletes that run in marathons or competitions. In slang, the term runners simply means a pair of shoes that you have to lace up. It can be applied to most types of sports shoes that have laces.
Toonie: The common name for the two-dollar coin. The name originated by combining the number two (2) and the word “loonie”.
Toque: A knitted hat commonly worn in winter. It is sometimes called a beanie in Canada and in other parts of the world. The toque is claimed to be inspired from French and Metis culture.
Two-four: A box or case of twenty-four beer bottles, as in, “Hey, if you’re going to the liquor store, pick me up a two-four.”
Cowtown: Another name for Calgary, Alberta, often used by the people who live there. The term comes from Calgary’s history as a cattle and ranching city.
Parkade: A multi-level parking structure. The most common places to find parkades include airports, malls, apartment buildings and buildings in the city center.
Timmies: Slang word for the popular Canadian coffee shop, Tim Horton’s, which is located all over Canada. Tim Horton’s is Canada’s largest quick service restaurant chain. In 1964, Canadian hockey player Tim Horton founded the shop in Hamilton, Ontario.
The Six: A term used to describe Toronto, Ontario. It refers to how Toronto used to consist of six districts. And it may also refer to the city’s area codes – 416 and 647. Rapper Drake popularized the term with his music.
Winterpeg: A nickname for Winnipeg, Manitoba, referring to the city’s legendarily cold winters.
Canuck: Another term for the word Canadian. We use it affectionately as a descriptor for our nationality. History, media and sports have all used the term. The Vancouver Canucks are a hockey team in the National Hockey League.
Decked out: Describes someone dressed formally/nicely.
Keener: A person at work or school who is very eager to perform well.
Mark (a test or assignment): Another term for grading a school assignment or exam.
Mountie: A member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Stag: An all-male pre-wedding party for the groom. It is the male equivalent of a bachelor party. Entertainment includes the groom’s closest family and friends.
Stagette: An all-female pre-wedding party for the bride. Canadians often use the term stagette instead of bachelorette. The party includes entertainment and involves close friends and family of the bride.
Write (a test): Another term for taking an exam.
For more Canadian-isms, check out this video featuring Canadian-American actor Will Arnett:
CIES Guides are a volunteer-led project made possible through contributions from the community.
Thanks to Kiran Sandhu for help with this guide. If you want to suggest a correction to this guide, or want to submit one of your own, please contact us.
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TIES is located on the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region, which includes the Blackfoot Confederacy comprising the Siksika, Piikani and Kanai First Nations, the Tsuut’ina First Nation, and the Stoney Nakoda including the Chiniki, Bearspaw and Wesley First Nations. The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.