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Canadianisms
July 1, 2014 7:26 AM   Subscribe

55 Canadianisms You May Not Know or Are Using Differently
A (non-scientific) survey providing a thorough & fascinating look at words in Canadian English
"I surveyed 175 people, quizzing them on their knowledge of 82 “Canadianisms.” The results are in, including 42 words with which you are probably unfamiliar, unless you are Canadian. All of the words included on this survey were the result of at least one American being baffled over my Canadian English. Many times, I have felt as if we were two people separated by a common language...

Because of how many words and pages it takes for a complete breakdown of the results, I’ve decided to only include words where at least 50 percent of Americans said they were unfamiliar with the word, plus a couple of other bonuses. At the end of the post is a link to all of the results, which include the 42 unfamiliar words, 10 questionable results, and three honourable mentions, plus 16 “familiar but not used,” and 11 “familiar and used” words."
55 Canadianisms: The Fallout and the Aftermath - "National news headlines. Multiple radio interviews. A very honourable mention from the English department at the University of British Columbia. This was just some of the “fallout” of the Canadianisms survey... I suppose I was much more accurate with my findings than I gave myself credit for, and they’re not “idioms.” As a language nerd, having the English Department at one of the best universities in Canada say, “quite a good job,” caused me to squee, just a wee bit."

See also:
What's Different in Canada - A beginner's guide to the differences between the two most similar countries on Earth
"If you ask a European the difference between Americans and Canadians, they will probably tell you they couldn’t be more similar. Some people in the UK and Ireland even use the word “America” to refer to the US and Canada collectively. Ask an American, and they will reply they don’t spend much time thinking about Canada. Ask a Canadian, however, and expect to get an earful... I will focus mainly on the slight differences in customs, the words people use to describe common things, and occasionally spellings..."*
(view archive for a complete overview of entries)
posted by flex (245 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite

 
Everyone, including Canadians, can stop saying "Homo Milk" right now.
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:33 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


Is a "donair" different from a "doner"? Because I (American) know the latter as a kind of gyro-like object, but would never spell it "donair."
posted by escabeche at 7:34 AM on July 1


Garburator! What an awesome word.
posted by octothorpe at 7:39 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


(I tried opening the link but it crashed my phone's browsers).

Donairs are a specific and distinct thing from doners or gyros. The basics are the same - meat sliced off a rotating vertical spit, wrapped in pita. But donairs (Halifax-style aka the right way) are seasoned ground 'meat' (no idea what kind - lamb? beef?) with a sweet sauce (sweetened condensed milk and vinegar) topped with raw onions and raw tomatoes. And nothing else. No cheese. No lettuce. No pickled stuff. No garlic sauce. Then you eat it leaning out over your shoes in the donair position so you don't drop anything on yourself. Preferably on pizza corner after the bars have closed and you've had a few.
posted by hydrobatidae at 7:41 AM on July 1 [14 favorites]


This is fascinating. For both the words/phrases I've never heard and for the stats.
posted by Twain Device at 7:41 AM on July 1


Lookit me! I'm learning a foreign language!
posted by elmer benson at 7:42 AM on July 1 [5 favorites]


I spot those Canadians right away when they pronounce "pasta" to rhyme with "canasta."
posted by overeducated_alligator at 7:45 AM on July 1 [9 favorites]


67 of the 82 words are just variations on "eh?"
posted by briank at 7:45 AM on July 1


"Eavestroughs" is Canadian? It was a common word growing up in W. Massachusetts, although "gutters" is probably used a bit more now.
posted by hanoixan at 7:51 AM on July 1


A bunch of the 'Canadianisms' on that list are really 'non-Americanisms' and are in daily usage here in Ireland e.g.:

runners, icing sugar, turfed out, serviette, chocolate bar, rubber, brown bread, pissed

Also maybe 'chip truck' if you count it the same as 'chip van'. We have Mr Freezes too but we don't call them freezies.
posted by kersplunk at 7:55 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Many of these are either a bit before my time or regionalisms from areas other than my own. Particular words from my childhood:
"Tuque" (of course)
"Serviette" (confounded fast food employees when my family moved to the states)
"Chesterfield"
"Garburator" (which I only ever heard after we moved to the states, because that's when my family got one)

One not from the article: (Googling suggests it might be a Quebec thing): "Close the lights".
posted by matcha action at 7:55 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


'Pablum' is Canadian? It's not a common word, but I'm pretty surprised most folks here in the US are unfamiliar with it.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:01 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]


A fifth of a gallon, hoser, what'd ya think?
 
posted by Herodios at 8:03 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Who doesn't know about No-See-Ums?

What do you think is biting you?!
posted by leotrotsky at 8:03 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


One not from the article: (Googling suggests it might be a Quebec thing): "Close the lights".

Totally from anywhere with significant French-Canadian population--it's a direct translation of the French "fermer la lumière." Using "ouvrir" and "fermer" (open and close) instead of "allumer" and "éteindre" (to light/to put out) would be billed as outright wrong outside of Canada, but is only slightly informal in Canadian (as especially Quebecois) French.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 8:05 AM on July 1 [6 favorites]


Some people in the UK and Ireland even use the word “America” to refer to the US and Canada collectively

really? I mean they're both obviously parts of North America but I've not come across this casual use of American on its own before in the UK
posted by Bwithh at 8:05 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


They didn't really get any Quebec results in that quiz, which explains a lot.
posted by jeather at 8:09 AM on July 1


"Eavestroughs" is Canadian? It was a common word growing up in W. Massachusetts, although "gutters" is probably used a bit more now.

There may be some considerable New England/Canadian language spillover - a lot of the people who came to work in the New England mill towns in the late 1800's were from the Maritimes, particularly the Acadian portions, and Quebec Province. That was at most only a couple generations ago; my grandmother's family was among them (Grandma lived in New Brunswick until she was six, and in fact the family apparently moved back and forth across the border a few times while she was a kid).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:10 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


Disappointed to not see "out for a rip" in the list.

Also, all hoodies should be called bunny hugs, it would completely neutralise them as something threatening.
posted by arcticseal at 8:14 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


When I was learning French, our teacher said Canadian French is more like old French than modern French in France (does this make sense?) Is there something similar going on with English?
posted by mumimor at 8:14 AM on July 1


The basics are the same - meat sliced off a rotating vertical spit, wrapped in pita. But donairs (Halifax-style aka the right way) are seasoned ground 'meat' (no idea what kind - lamb? beef?) with a sweet sauce (sweetened condensed milk and vinegar) topped with raw onions and raw tomatoes.

You poor things.

I used to live in a house with people who hosted Canadian anarchists every year, and I noticed that they were always eating every kind of snack they could get. I assume this sort of thing is why. (And always visiting amusement parks - are you short of roller coasters as well?)
posted by Frowner at 8:19 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


matcha action: there's an AskMe about that sort of literal-translation-from-other-languages phrasing.

On the English side, I would expect it is a function of being somewhat British, and also having a different set of brand names from the US and other Commonwealth countries that became generics.

This was a pretty fun list. My parents are canadian, and I lived in Canada for a few years when I was young, so I internalized some of these, but not all of them. I also have some pseudo Canadianisms that aren't listed that have been a consistent source of humor in my friend group -- knapsack being the main word. For some reason everyone finds it hilarious that I call backpacks "knapsacks"
posted by grandsham at 8:24 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


> When I was learning French, our teacher said Canadian French is more like old French than modern French in France (does this make sense?) Is there something similar going on with English?

The common explanation I've heard is that the American accent froze in time, whereas British accents have evolved since the 18th century. Exactly when is hard to say - no audio recordings after all!

Some people in the UK and Ireland even use the word “America” to refer to the US and Canada collectively

Since moving across the pond, I'm often asked "what part of America are you from" when people hear my accent. I've often wondered how they knew I wasn't Canadian, but maybe they're just using America to refer to both.
posted by penguinicity at 8:24 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Oh Canadians, who frequently use the word fulsome, yet have no idea what it really means.
posted by scruss at 8:25 AM on July 1


"Eavestroughs" is Canadian? It was a common word growing up in W. Massachusetts, although "gutters" is probably used a bit more now.

Yes, I only know this one from the "Holmes on Homes" TV show which is very Canadian.
posted by smackfu at 8:28 AM on July 1


Growing up in Newfoundland, you'd get a new set of colouring pencils every fall. We'd call them "colouring pencils" sometimes but usually they were called "leads." Those were the two names available for those objects. "Pencil crayons" is an abominable Frankenstein phrase (crayons are wax! pencils are graphite!), one I never heard until I left the island, and I am dismayed that this completely non-scientific survey grants it near-dominance.

Also: we also called 375 ml bottles of liquor "flasks." Anyone?
posted by erlking at 8:29 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Dear Canada,

Please send us your All-Dressed chips because they are awesome. Thank you.

Kindest regards,

Your American Friends
posted by tommasz at 8:29 AM on July 1 [5 favorites]


Oh also it can be very difficult to explain to Americans the difference between College and University in Canada. Or at least I have found it a challenge.
posted by erlking at 8:30 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]


Totally from anywhere with significant French-Canadian population--it's a direct translation of the French

The other bit of franglish that can cause amusement is "taking a decision" rather than making a decision. It too is a direct translation from the french.

I'm not sure if it comes form the same place, but to "table" a notion can have opposite meanings in the US and Canada. It most US usage, it means to put a topic or any possible decision aside. In Canadian usage, particularly formal and governmental contexts, it means to introduce a new idea specifically for the purpose of voting or making a decision.
posted by bonehead at 8:30 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


When I was recently in NYC I had a hot dog on the street and when the guy asked me how I wanted it I said "all dressed" and then sort of zoned out and didn't notice that he looked very confused and was standing there holding the hot dog not putting any toppings on it.
posted by jeather at 8:31 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


the difference between College and University

This is made more difficult by the fact that junior colleges don't exist north of the border, mostly, and that cegep is its own thing again.
posted by bonehead at 8:32 AM on July 1


Is the site crashing anyone else's mobile browser?

So I can't tell if 'keener' is on the list. I accidentally flummoxed a colleague by joking about being a keener.
posted by Salamandrous at 8:35 AM on July 1


who calls it a bathroom versus a washroom? Washroom is better. It covers more options, and sometimes there isn't even a bath ... just a shower.
posted by philip-random at 8:37 AM on July 1


A knut of these entries are rather fulsome. E.g: 'fill your boots' (which is way more a British term anyway) doesn't mean anything like 'whatever floats your boat'; it means as it pretty much says, grab as much as you can while the getting's good.
'Homo' is both a slur and a type of milk and somehow we navigate the different contexts, but it's still a dumb term for 3.25% milk as, as they point out, all the milk is homogenized anyway.
Also, they missed the opportunity to point out that 'two-four' is probably pretty widespread in Canada to mean a case of beer, but 'flat' is used only in the western provinces.
posted by Flashman at 8:40 AM on July 1 [5 favorites]


I was speaking with a colleague in Vancouver and she used the word "keener" and while it seems perfectly obvious in context, I asked her to elaborate, because it's a pretty neat word.

As for pablum, from my tour of Toronto, I know it was invented at the Children's Hospital, but from watching old movies, I know it as a warm cereal fed to infants, as well as bland, crap that is foisted upon the public, like dumb TV shows, or whitened up soul songs, or a fluffy news story.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:42 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Happy Canada Day!

One thing that Ontarians at least have a little trouble with, sometimes, is that while there are fer shure real differences across the border, they're mostly just more examples of regional differences in the US+Canada.

I mean, to me Ontario is mostly just more Yankeeland, and the cultural differences between Ontario and western NY are small potatoes next to the yawning cultural chasm between WNY and North Carolina or, God help you, Texas.

The same thing makes anglophone Canadians complaining about French stuff kind of amusing, in that French stuff on signs, different money, and a distinct lack of Latinos are the big things that separate Ohio and Ontario or Chicago and Toronto .
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:43 AM on July 1


Faith Erin Hicks made a lovely Canada Day comic that it seems appropriate to post here!.

Most of these phrases are both utterly foreign and delightful to me. GASBAR. It's like your car is going out for a drink!
posted by emjaybee at 8:46 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Dear Canada, Please send us your All-Dressed chips because they are awesome. Thank you.

Oh, that was a good point - the article noted that "America has chicken and waffle potato chips", so they found our unfamiliarity with all-dressed chips to be odd. However, the existance of chicken and waffle potato chips was a temporary thing, meant to help people vote on a "new chip flavor" contest.

It didn't win. Unfortunately.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:47 AM on July 1


A large bottle of alcohol is called a "handle."
posted by likeatoaster at 8:50 AM on July 1


Gasbar and parkade? Wicket? Jiffy Marker? Those are not words that I hear in life. I would have assumed that those were the American or Commonwealth options. And I use keener to mean someone who is full of energy and enthusiasm for a particular task. Raring to go. A real keener! So yeah, Canada's big! Happy Canada Day!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:58 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


I think this guy is trying to be a bit of a shit-stirrer, eh?



67 of the 82 words are just variations on "eh?"


Take off, eh!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:58 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Canadian here - I had no idea "pencil crayon" was a Canadian thing until today.
posted by davebush at 8:58 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


A large bottle of alcohol is called a "handle."

To me (midwest US) a "handle" refers specifically to a 1.75L bottle, and not merely anything larger than a fifth.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:03 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


A bunch of the 'Canadianisms' on that list are really 'non-Americanisms' and are in daily usage here in Ireland e.g.:

They cover that, though, by including a "Commonwealth" category which registers when those words are, in fact, familiar to English speakers outside of North America; all in all this was better designed than most of these sorts of things.

The common explanation I've heard is that the American accent froze in time, whereas British accents have evolved since the 18th century.


Yeah, it's not really that; it's just that they started diverging from the C17th/18th onwards, so American English has retained some bits of "old fashioned" pronunciation which most English accents lost and vice versa. So there are some aspects of American English that are windows in a common past--but there are just as many aspects of modern English accents that are, too. They're just windows onto different bits.
posted by yoink at 9:05 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos, Canada actually had it's own version of that Lays competition with 4 flavors, the winning flavor was called "Maple Moose," which is probably close-ish to the Chicken and Waffles flavor. I do find it funny that the winning Canadian flavors are somewhat similar to their US counterparts -- they probably explicitly picked finalists they could craft with the flavor powders they already had on hand.

While there are a bunch of Canada-only flavors I can name off the top of my head, I am having trouble coming up with US-only chip flavors. Maybe Limon-flavored Lays? or some of those "Jacked" Doritos flavors?

As evidenced by the large box I drove across the border to mail to myself + every bit I could cram into my suitcase when I visited earlier this year, Canada is a wonderland of unique tasty chip flavors, chocolate bars, snack cakes and significantly better Kraft macaroni and cheese. All Dressed and Ketchup chips, and also

Also protip: It is basically impossible to mail yourself stuff across the US-Canadian border. But it is very easy to drive across the border and mail yourself stuff from there. As far as I can tell the main industry of Watertown, NY is providing mail drop services to Canadians.
posted by grandsham at 9:07 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Interesting to see this take on "biffy." When I was growing up in the upper midwest, a "bif" or "biffy" was an outhouse, and a branch lashed between two trees to give yourself something to lean against while you peed was a "bif stick" (generally used at longer-term campsites).
posted by dorque at 9:11 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


All dressed chips are right good, eh. Take off.

Also Pizza Corner lost King of Donair, it's a disturbing trend.
posted by angerbot at 9:12 AM on July 1


From the article:

This is not to be confused with Canadian “whole milk,” which is milk that separates when left sitting....

The common American alternative given was “homogenized milk,” which is a little odd, as all of Canada’s milk is homogenized.


Wait, which is it? Unless "homogenized" also has a different meaning in Canada than it does in the US, milk that separates is not homogenized.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:12 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Wait, Lays' did two separate contests for Canada and the US? Weird.

the winning flavor was called "Maple Moose," which is probably close-ish to the Chicken and Waffles flavor. I do find it funny that the winning Canadian flavors are somewhat similar to their US counterparts -- they probably explicitly picked finalists they could craft with the flavor powders they already had on hand.

I didn't get to taste the chicken and waffles, but I suspect the maple element wasn't as pronounced as the chicken element. Personally, I was more shocked that the sriracha hadn't won because surely it would have had the Hipster Trendy voter bloc cornered.

While there are a bunch of Canada-only flavors I can name off the top of my head, I am having trouble coming up with US-only chip flavors. Maybe Limon-flavored Lays? or some of those "Jacked" Doritos flavors?

I think our Wacky Flavor research is too busy coming up with Taco Bell tie-ins.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:13 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Skookum is another wonderful word which I try to use as much as possible in everyday conversation.
posted by arcticseal at 9:17 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Everyone, including Canadians, can stop saying "Homo Milk" right now.

It's understood to be short for Homogenized without then having the fat content reduced, I believe. There are various levels of homogenization, from where we get 2%, 1%, and Skim milk.

So this:

The common American alternative given was “homogenized milk,” which is a little odd, as all of Canada’s milk is homogenized.

Doesn't strike me as odd at all.

That said, this:

A couple of Americans commented that they were offended by this term because in the U.S., it is a derogatory reference to a homosexual person. In Canada, it is difficult for that word to be a slur when it is plastered all over stores and on milk containers in reference to a specific type of milk. Canada has different derogatory terms. Calling someone a “homo” is laughable to most of us because that would be calling someone “milk.”


Doesn't ring true for my experience in Toronto and all over southern Ontario. Calling someone a homo is nothing at all like calling someone milk, and is indeed a derogatory slur.

Other observations:

Canadians are starting to move towards the American “ATM.”

I've lived in Ontario my entire life and have always referred to them as ATMs. First time I recall ever hearing them referred to as ABMs is this article.

Never heard of a gas station being called a gasbar.

The firehall is another thing I've never heard of but he cites both the cities where I've spent most of my time, Toronto and Hamilton, as being unfamiliar with it.

I've never heard of a Jiffy Marker. We usually call them permanent or Sharpies.
posted by juiceCake at 9:20 AM on July 1


Born in Canada, raised in the States, returned to Canada in 2005. I've re-assimilated or adopted many of these words without even realizing, but the "bugger the dog" one has it all wrong, in Alberta at least. Here a lazy person (especially at work, and especially in the trades) is called a dogfucker, there's no mincing words.

A couple others missed (I think) are "go pound sand" (fuck off) and "fuck your hat" (go fuck yourself), which I've only heard here but I'm not sure where they originated.

Also "clicks" for kilometers. And here you "write an exam" instead of taking a test, and you get "marks" instead of grades. Pretty sure those last two are commonwealth ones.
posted by mireille at 9:20 AM on July 1


The site is crashing the browsers on my phone too and it's killing me because if they aren't called pencil crayons what the hell are they?
posted by Cuke at 9:22 AM on July 1


Wait, which is it? Unless "homogenized" also has a different meaning in Canada than it does in the US, milk that separates is not homogenized.

I think they're getting "homogenized" and "pasteurized" confused.
posted by yoink at 9:23 AM on July 1


The site is crashing the browsers on my phone too and it's killing me because if they aren't called pencil crayons what the hell are they?

Colouring pencils!
posted by erlking at 9:24 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Since moving across the pond, I'm often asked "what part of America are you from" when people hear my accent. I've often wondered how they knew I wasn't Canadian, but maybe they're just using America to refer to both.

No, I think they just forget that Canada exists and has a population that might travel from time to time. I got "What part of America are you from?" all the time when I was in the UK. And I tried really hard not to be snarky when I replied, "The part that's Canada!" I would invariably get a prompt apology from a red-faced stranger.
posted by Hildegarde at 9:26 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


We say colored pencils.
posted by maryr at 9:27 AM on July 1


A couple others missed (I think) are "go pound sand" (fuck off) and "fuck your hat" (go fuck yourself), which I've only heard here but I'm not sure where they originated.

Also "clicks" for kilometers.


Never heard "fuck your hat" (not even when I lived in Canada), but "pound sand" is fairly widespread (though perhaps increasingly archaic) US slang and "klick" is US military slang for a kilometer.
posted by yoink at 9:28 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


And we spell it without a "u".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:28 AM on July 1


We definitely call gnats no-see-ums in my bitten neck of the woods in VT, but I've never heard the term eavestroughs.

As for chip flavors - do you have cheddar and sour cream chips up there?
posted by maryr at 9:29 AM on July 1


And we spell it without a "u".

Nobody spells "it" with a "u." Although perhaps New Zealanders should.
posted by yoink at 9:30 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]


Growing up in Newfoundland, you'd get a new set of colouring pencils every fall. We'd call them "colouring pencils" sometimes but usually they were called "leads."


Thanks for confirming my memory on that. I also grew up in Newfoundland, and I remember getting a "pack of leads" for drawing and colouring. About a dozen of them, various colours, arrayed in a simple transparent soft plastic case -- with a snap closure.
posted by anothermug at 9:30 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


We say colored pencils.

Well, now, "pencils of color".
 
posted by Herodios at 9:31 AM on July 1 [17 favorites]


Whoa, I've lived in the States for almost three years and I had no idea they don't have icing sugar here! Although I want eating sugar for most if that time and now that I'm starting to reintroduce it, I'm saving all my sugar allowance for maple syrup, cause Canadian.
posted by carolr at 9:32 AM on July 1


Imagine my surprise when the article asserted that, yes, "tuque" is spelled correctly. I've been spelling it "toque" this whole time.
posted by chrominance at 9:33 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Everyone, including Canadians, can stop saying "Homo Milk" right now.

Some milk producers don't seem to know the double-entendre.
posted by anothermug at 9:33 AM on July 1


I still don't understand why only Canada is blessed with the presence of All Dressed chips. Every time we take a trip up across the border, we return with a few bags of them, simply because that's the only time I get them.

Surely they'd sell enough here in the US to justify them, right? It's not like there aren't plenty of worse flavors that stay on the shelves.
posted by evilangela at 9:38 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


I object to Kangaroo Jacket. Those were the windbreakers that folded up into their own pouch!

(it is possible that those just had a picture of a kangaroo on the pouch.)

I learned today that pencil crayons is Canadian.
posted by right_then at 9:41 AM on July 1


They're "colo(u)red pencils." Jesus Christ. Fuck. I've lived in Canada for seven years and just got tentative confirmation of permanent residency over the weekend, but "pencil crayons" inevitably sends me into a seething American-chauvinist rage (I teach freshman—excuse me—first-year drawing, so it comes up more than you might imagine). Yes, because of bilingual packaging, coloured pencils* are marked "pencils/crayons," but those words mean the same thing and you don't have to say them both. Have some self-respect.

ALSO DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW THEY SAY THE WORD "DECAL" HERE OH MY GOD I LOOKED UP THE ETYMOLOGY AND THEIR WAY TECHNICALLY MAKES MORE SENSE BUT IT IS REPELLENT NONETHELESS


*Something that more than one Canadian has told me "sounds racist."
posted by wreckingball at 9:43 AM on July 1


Please send us your All-Dressed chips because they are awesome. Thank you.

For the love of all that is good and pure in this world, please take them all. God those things are gross.

Canada has different derogatory terms. Calling someone a “homo” is laughable to most of us because that would be calling someone “milk.”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh fucking hell ass no. I've been called a homo many, many times and they were not referring to bags of milk. This bizarre conclusion calls into question much of this whole thing. I mean seriously, it is at complete odds with actual reality as it is on the ground; 'homo' is just as much a slur here as in the USA. Period.

Whoa, I've lived in the States for almost three years and I had no idea they don't have icing sugar here!

They do. I have personally bought icing sugar in the USA.

Those were the windbreakers that folded up into their own pouch!

OH MY GOD I had several of those as a kid. They were convenient but if you actually wore the belt you looked like a total dork and if you were running around they'd bounce weird.

and just got tentative confirmation of permanent residency over the weekend

Welcome to Canada / Bienvenu a Canada! Maybe in a year or two you can gain citizenship and actually swear your oath on Canada Day. (A really, really common thing for new citizens to do. I imagine swearing in as a new citizen on 4 July in the USA has a similar cachet.)

Also, Happy Birthday Canada! Bonne Fête Canada!
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:46 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


I think they just forget that Canada exists and has a population that might travel from time to time.

I wonder about that, though, since the multiple times I have travelled both by myself and with the mister in the UK and Western Europe, we are both invariably asked "are you Canadian?". That includes the Germans in the early-mid 1990s (I lived in Germany for a year, he went on a 2-month school trip), the Swiss a couple of years ago, and the British several times for both of us.

He is a New Mexico native and I was born in Maryland and grew up in Ohio. Neither of us have spent any time at all in Canada, short of layovers in the Toronto airport.

So for some strange reason we do not read as "Americans" when we travel abroad. I'm not sure why Canada would be the first pick though. It's weird. Although I suppose given the usual stereotypes of Americans abroad, that's probably not a bad thing.

And every single person I knew in my Midwestern home town called that kind of hat a "tuque" - we all picked that up from that silly 80s Canadian comedy show, which I cannot for the life of me recall the name of now. Hosers!
posted by lonefrontranger at 9:47 AM on July 1


oh and you can have ALL your shitty weird-flavored chips because here in Colorado and New Mexico we have HATCH GREEN CHILE CHIPS and no you can't have any because they are all mine.
posted by lonefrontranger at 9:51 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]


When I was growing up in the upper midwest, a "bif" or "biffy" was an outhouse,


Do Americans say "kybo"?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:54 AM on July 1


Ooh, I just thought of a chip flavor that may be only available in the U.S. - but that's because the brand itself may only be available in part of the U.S.

Utz brand Crab Chips, seasoned with Old Bay seasoning.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:55 AM on July 1 [5 favorites]


ALSO DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW THEY SAY THE WORD "DECAL" HERE OH MY GOD I LOOKED UP THE ETYMOLOGY AND THEIR WAY TECHNICALLY MAKES MORE SENSE BUT IT IS REPELLENT NONETHELESS

Wreckingball was offended by "decal";
It urgently called him to heckle.
"Pencil crayons"? Oh no!
And my milk's gone homo?
No wonder he's more Hyde than Jekyll.
posted by yoink at 9:58 AM on July 1 [6 favorites]


There are regional variations on "gonch" in Canada. There's also "ginch", and my father (born on Vancouver Island in 1941) refers to underwear as "gotchies."
posted by KokuRyu at 10:00 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Imagine my surprise when the article asserted that, yes, "tuque" is spelled correctly. I've been spelling it "toque" this whole time.

Yeah, well I'm not buyin' it! I agree with this comment from the CBC article linked in the OP's main article:

"It's spelled "toque" in Bob & Doug McKenzie's #GREATWHITENORTH album liner notes. Official, as far as I'm concerned."
posted by fairmettle at 10:01 AM on July 1 [10 favorites]


I am always surprised when I learn that Canada has achieved potato chip superiority. My absolute fave is Old Dutch Sour Cream and Cheddar Cheese, but I do love Sour Cream and Onion. And Dill Pickle.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:01 AM on July 1


Those were the windbreakers that folded up into their own pouch!


We just called those "K-Ways" after the brand name.



OH MY GOD I had several of those as a kid. They were convenient but if you actually wore the belt you looked like a total dork and if you were running around they'd bounce weird.


This explains so much about my childhood.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:01 AM on July 1 [8 favorites]


All dressed bagels from Fairmount Bagels in Montreal are the best bagels in the world. I miss them so! I had no idea there was an equivalent chip! Where can I find them?
posted by jasper411 at 10:03 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Disposal is a propriety name for a garbage disposal in the United States.
. . .
Many Americans commented that “Disposal” is a brand name.
I do not know what the term "propriety name" means. Is it a Canadianism?
Many Americans are wrong about disposal.


I spot those Canadians right away when they pronounce "pasta" to rhyme with "canasta."

You're spotting a lot of people who aren't Canadian, like my mom, who's a Vermonter.


No-see-ums are not gnats.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:05 AM on July 1


The population of Canada is less than five times the population of London. I feel disinclined to be overly concerned with the way they use the mother tongue. They're very nice people though, I'll give them that. Seem to have done quite well for themselves, considering.
posted by Decani at 10:05 AM on July 1


Re: all-dressed chips, any half-decent dépanneur or grocery store should have them.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:05 AM on July 1


What's wrong with "pencil crayon"? The core is made of wax like a crayon. The "pencil" here just refers to the wooden sheath.
posted by Thing at 10:08 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


There are regional variations on "gonch" in Canada. There's also "ginch", and my father (born on Vancouver Island in 1941) refers to underwear as "gotchies."

Fun fact: there is a brand of underwear very popular with gay boys called Ginch Gonch.

All dressed bagels from Fairmount Bagels in Montreal are the best bagels in the world. I miss them so! I had no idea there was an equivalent chip! Where can I find them?

In no way are they equivalent. All dressed bagels have like, onions and whatnot on them. All dressed chips have Satan's powdered ballsweat on them. The (possibly urban myth) genesis of their creation was allegedly just throwing together some leftover flavouring powders. Basically they taste like a combination between barbecue (blech) chips and salt and vinegar (double blech) chips.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:08 AM on July 1


It is very important for me to note that a "pony" is a half mickey, and that it is a delightful term that I want more people to use.
posted by pmv at 10:08 AM on July 1


Unfortunately jasper411, All dressed chips don't bear any resemblance, flavor-wise, to all dressed bagels. All-dressed chips end up being a sort of cross between salt & vinegar and sour-cream and onion chips. All-dressed bagels are like, poppy seed, seasme seed and garlic? both delicious, in their own way, but not very similar at all.

that said, most canadian treats, including all-dressed chips, can be bought on amazon and ebay. The markups on Amazon are usually hilariously high, but eBay (which is usually a "I bought too many giant bags of chips at Costco when I last went across the border" type thing) can be more reasonable.
posted by grandsham at 10:08 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


We really should set up a MeFi Cross Border Snack Swap thing.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:11 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]


to be clear, there's only one flavour of potato chip worth considering ... and that's regular (sometimes not called anything at all). If you require more flavour than just the (usually) copious amount of salt, then dip it in something, for Mulroney's sake. All that other stuff is just unnecessary, and thus by Jean-Paul Sartre's definition, evil.
posted by philip-random at 10:11 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


Seen on the sign at an East Tennessee convenience store (about five years ago, when milk was cheaper):
NOW HIRING
TWO HOMO GALS
$2.49
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 10:11 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]


I am a bad person because that made me giggle
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:13 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


I've definitely heard "fire hall" in the Pittsburgh area.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:18 AM on July 1


really? I mean they're both obviously parts of North America but I've not come across this casual use of American on its own before in the UK

They are taking the piss. Brits know about Canada because every single one of them has an aunt or uncle who lives there. They also know the best way to wind up a Canadian is to call them American.
posted by srboisvert at 10:23 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]


I still don't understand why only Canada is blessed with the presence of All Dressed chips.

See also the refusal to sell Kraft peanut butter, which makes darn good cookies, in the US.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:23 AM on July 1


I appreciate our subsidized health care but honestly it's the ketchup and all dressed chips that keep me here. They sell the flavoured powders on their own to season popcorn with and let me tell you popcorn's not the only use they see in my house.
posted by onwords at 10:23 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


It is very important for me to note that a "pony" is a half mickey

What? A pony is a mini keg.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:23 AM on July 1 [6 favorites]


the cultural differences between Ontario and western NY are small potatoes next to the yawning cultural chasm between WNY and North Carolina

Ok, but don't extend that to assume that e.g. Alberta is culturally similar to Montana, or less similar to Ontario than WNY. I've read that BS on here before, mostly from Americans who haven't really seen much of Canada, and vice versa.

who calls it a bathroom versus a washroom?

On certain Canadian HGTV shows, like Income Property, Love it or List it, or anything with Bryan Baeumler, I noticed that the hosts will try to avoid Canadianisms like "washroom" even if the homeowners can't help it.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:24 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Yes, because of bilingual packaging, coloured pencils* are marked "pencils/crayons," but those words mean the same thing and you don't have to say them both. Have some self-respect.

It has nothing at all to do with that, so maybe that will help. They are called Pencil Crayons in England too, because they are pencils with crayon filling (so to speak) rather than lead (ie 'normal' pencils) and to distinguish them from crayons (ie the things with the paper cover).

It has nothing to do with bilingual packaging.
posted by Brockles at 10:26 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


American here, I flatly refuse to believe "eavestrough" is a word. Does your roof also feature a "smoketower"? Do you put "assresters" at your bus stops?

"Toque" (with the o) I've been starting to see in American catalogs a bit, especially for baby clothes, which is useful as I don't really have a word for those. "Ski cap, but not with a pompom, you know?" or "Like a ski hat, but close to your head like a beanie?" "Like a skull cap, but warm for winter?" "Toque" is better.

"Keener" I know but only in the context of "super-keener" which means the same thing, a (school) brown-noser. It'd be weird to call someone just a "keener," you can only use it in compound with "super-".
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:26 AM on July 1


I spot those Canadians right away when they pronounce "pasta" to rhyme with "canasta."

Or, you know, Italians.
posted by Brockles at 10:27 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]


American here, I flatly refuse to believe "eavestrough" is a word.

It is the trough which runs along your eaves. Perfectly cromulent.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:28 AM on July 1 [9 favorites]


American here, I flatly refuse to believe "eavestrough" is a word.

Damn, they're onto us.
posted by jeather at 10:28 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


My favourite is when we pronounce "Obama" so that it rhymes with "Alabama."
posted by Hildegarde at 10:29 AM on July 1


Years ago I set up a snack swap domain, with all intentions of creating a place for people to meet and swap snack foods. It was spurred by my love of Dill Pickle potato chips, which I found in New Orleans when I was living in California. Then a friend scored ginger altoids, which I couldn't find in my home town. But I never did anything with it.

Canada, for me, in my 5 years of living here, has proven to be close enough to america that for the first few years I would go, "Well I'll make enchiladas this weekend, let me just run out for corn tortillas!" And then three grocery stores later I would come home and cry and make something else for dinner. This happened a lot with various ingredients, and with how much I love certain foods, it made for a tough adjustment.

Don't even get me started on how different the Canadian Oreos are, because that is my personal crusade and tragedy, and I will go on forever about how Canada's Kraft has ruined the fatty delight that Oreos should be (HOW DARE YOU KRAFT HOW DARE YOU).

My experience prior to moving here was what I had learned from my English then-boyfriend, who'd lived here for some years, and my Strange Brew viewings. There are some strange pronunciations and word choices (the pencil crayon thing drives me nuts), but for the most part I think I'm adapting. I've found small Mexican groceries who sell delicious corn tortillas, I've fallen in love with poutine, and I can drive an hour to cross the border and pick up Oreos. There are several things I cross the border for, and it always irritates me that I can buy it an hour away but NO WHERE on this side of the border. IBC root beer, Rosarita refried beans, Oreos, Flaming hot Cheetos, etc.

But many of the words in this, I've never heard, and some didn't make sense in that context (we called them thongs and track pants, in California when I was a kid). When I saw "All-dressed," I went OH! I thought that was a Ruffles-ism.
posted by routergirl at 10:29 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


routergirl, if you're in/near Toronto and looking for Mexican ingredients and products, Kensington Market is your friend.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:31 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


The core is made of wax like a crayon.

No, that's a grease pencil. Colored pencil cores have some wax in them, but are much harder than crayons.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:33 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


Another fun expression my Vancouver Islander father used to use when I was a kid was "Jesus Murphy!"
posted by KokuRyu at 10:35 AM on July 1 [5 favorites]


Kensington Market is where we used to go when we lived in the city (3 years ago). We have a much more local dedicated Mexican Grocery 10 minutes away now.

Also: A lot of the 'Canadianisms' ring true from other Colonial-linked cultures (Fill your boots is something I associate with Kiwi's/Aussies) and is UK with US adaptions (Bachelor flat versus Bachelor Apartment).

No, that's a grease pencil.

No, that's why we call them that - replace 'like a crayon rather than like a lead pencil' if it helps.
posted by Brockles at 10:36 AM on July 1


We're not going to take vocabulary lessons from people who think "legos" is a word, okay.
posted by Hildegarde at 10:37 AM on July 1 [6 favorites]



What? A pony is a mini keg.

In the last century, in some places, a 'pony keg' was the generic term for a kind of local convenience store* before chains like 7-11, King Kwik, and Stop & Go put 'em out of business.

--------------------------------
*Obviously named for the small quarter-barrel beer kegs, pony kegs were convenient mainly for people who wanted beer and smokes, but that didn't stop 'em from sponsoring little league baseball teams.
posted by Herodios at 10:38 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Feckless, I think we've met at meetups. Yep, I'm near Toronto. Like Brockles says, we've hit Kensington Market up a few times. I keep wanting to check out Hamilton, too, which is near us now, since I hear they have a big Mexican population.
posted by routergirl at 10:39 AM on July 1


Ok look a crayon is something that can melt in the sun. I have never seen a colored pencil (with colors on the inside where the traditional graphite would be and wood on the outside) melt in the sun.

i have no idea what these crayon-inside-a-pencil things are, stop pretending they are real
posted by elizardbits at 10:40 AM on July 1 [5 favorites]


Crayons are things that melt in the sun, YES, and if you do it on your wallpapered window sill when you're a kid, they also make your mom scream bloody murder.

How can coloured pencils be racist?
posted by routergirl at 10:41 AM on July 1


A pony is a mini keg.

I'm surprised that pb gets anything done.
posted by arcticseal at 10:42 AM on July 1


I can't believe nobody has mentioned Smarties.
posted by srboisvert at 10:44 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Pruitt-Igoe: "On certain Canadian HGTV shows, like Income Property, Love it or List it, or anything with Bryan Baeumler, I noticed that the hosts will try to avoid Canadianisms like "washroom" even if the homeowners can't help it."

Those shows always go hilariously out of their way not to mention where they are filming, even though it's usually pretty clearly Toronto.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:45 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


There's no need to mention Smarties because there is only one kind of Smarties and the USA is wrong.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:46 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


When I was learning French, our teacher said Canadian French is more like old French than modern French in France (does this make sense?)

Yes, it does. In the 1700s and 1800s the language moved with the people across the Atlantic, and then the French language as spoken by speakers in France diverged from that spoken by people in North America.

My mother-in-law grew up in northern Rhode Island speaking French. I learned some scraps of French at summer camp in Minnesota and by going to Actual France, and I can even hear the differences. My in-laws went on vacation to Paris some years ago, and I dearly wanted to be there to see the Parisians squint and cock their heads when she spoke in "their" language! :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 10:46 AM on July 1


Grease pencil? Those are China markers.
posted by angerbot at 10:48 AM on July 1


Smarties in Canada are like big fat M&M imposters.
posted by routergirl at 10:49 AM on July 1


all versions of smarties are grotesque abominations masquerading as tasty candy lbr
posted by elizardbits at 10:49 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


There's the converse, too. Things that have the same name on both sides of the border, but are actually different. The key example being "Cadbury", which south of the border is Hershey waxy shit in a different wrapper but north is practically the same as the good British stuff.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:50 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Smarties are slimmer, but bigger. The Godfather of the poor, M&M imposter, in fact.
posted by Brockles at 10:51 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Smarties in Canada are like big fat M&M imposters.

But if you put the tubes on cats' legs you can make them walk like a robot.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:51 AM on July 1 [16 favorites]


I'm pretty sure but too lazy to Google, but I think M&Ms are actually the Smarties imposters, not the other way around. Smarties were originally, if memory serves, a Rowntree product from the UK and predate M&Ms by quite some time.

I may be wrong.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:52 AM on July 1


Lindt, too - in the US it tastes like waxy nasty chocolate substitute, and in Canada it tastes like chocolate heaven.
posted by routergirl at 10:52 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Empress, here we were trying to decide what to do on Canada Day, and now you have given us the BEST PLAN EVER.
posted by routergirl at 10:53 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


I think M&Ms are actually the Smarties imposters

Word. by about 60 years, in fact.
posted by Brockles at 10:54 AM on July 1


Empress, here we were trying to decide what to do on Canada Day, and now you have given us the BEST PLAN EVER.

I'm pretty sure this comment has just obliged you to post cat pics.
posted by jeather at 10:54 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


I also wouldn't fret too much about how Continental Europeans (fail to) differentiate between different English speakers. I was working at a French company as part of a project where there were two outside companies, one staffed out of Dublin+Boston, the other out of Atlanta. A few times I was asked "Aren't you Irish?", just because I didn't sound like I was from Texas. (I'm basically Californian.)
posted by benito.strauss at 10:54 AM on July 1


Empress, here we were trying to decide what to do on Canada Day, and now you have given us the BEST PLAN EVER.

:-) I unfortunately can't take credit - that was Jimmy Carr.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:56 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


"In Canada" by the Brothers Hadfield is ok, if you like long songs about Canadians gently making fun of themselves.
posted by emjaybee at 10:57 AM on July 1




Re: M&M's - this thread just brought about the following exchange in our house:

Routergirl: "*mumble*.. stupid Smarties fakey things"

Me: "SIXTY YEARS, DAMMIT"

Routergirl: "I DON'T CARE!!"
posted by Brockles at 11:02 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


No-see-ums are not gnats.

Oh, I've no idea what kind of insect they are, technically and all that. They're the tiny swarms of things you accidentally walk through and that follow you once you have. They are the bane of late evening summer curb conversations with your neighbors. They swarm around the highest point in your body. If you put your hands together in a kind of large fist and hold it over your head, they will swarm around that instead. It may also be possible to ward them off by wearing an inverted fern on your head, but that's kinda a dad thing.

Also, I must say either pasta or canasta wrong, because I'm from Vermont and I definitely don't think they rhyme. Pasta like Rastafarian and canasta like nasty. Maybe it depends where in the state? I do have a fellow Vermonter friend who has a weird way of saying egg with an A sound in it...
posted by maryr at 11:05 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]






BTW, Americans will refer to it as "coffee whitener", but only as a mark of derision. "Why are you putting that in there? It's got no taste; all it does is make it look lighter."
posted by benito.strauss at 11:09 AM on July 1


OK, but how come USian kids go to, say, seventh grade and are called seventh graders, while Canadian kids go to grade seven and are called grade sevens? Or is this just something Degrassi managed to put over on me?
posted by Flannery Culp at 11:13 AM on July 1


But if you put the tubes on cats' legs you can make them walk like a robot.

Smarties come in a little rectangular box in Canada. You used to be able to make the empty box into a crappy kazoo.

I'm not going to pretend they taste better than M&Ms. The candy shell is too hard and paper-y tasting. But I preferred them as a kid because more colours.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:14 AM on July 1


I think I'd use either one. I would also accept "grade seveners."
posted by RobotHero at 11:15 AM on July 1


I will chime in that I'm very surprised that so many Americans don't know what pablum is. It's so widespread that it's even an expression for something bland, isn't it?

I only learned that icing sugar was a Canadianism when following recipes that called for "powdered sugar" and had no idea what they meant.
posted by RobotHero at 11:23 AM on July 1


I think berry sugar has a different name is the US, or at least goes by a different name.

Either way it's required from good shortbread.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:25 AM on July 1


Tonight is going to be a convince the gyros shop to make me a dry wrap and make my own donair sauce kind of night.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:28 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Oops, that second "different name" should be "is harder to find".
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:35 AM on July 1


Smarties come in a little rectangular box in Canada. You used to be able to make the empty box into a crappy kazoo.

I'm pretty sure that most right thinking Canadian youngsters knew that Glosette boxes made the best kazoos.
posted by fairmettle at 11:37 AM on July 1 [8 favorites]


I spot those Canadians right away when they pronounce "pasta" to rhyme with "canasta."

It's easier to detect them when they say sore-ey, proe-gress, or proe-cess.

Smarties in Canada are like big fat M&M imposters

(Canadian) Smarties are more better than M&Ms since they don't have American chocolate. However, American Smarties, which are basically Canadian Rockets, kick ass.

True story: biscotti's parents immigrated to Canada from England, and a couple of years ago some of her English relatives came by to visit. A cousin(-in-law?) was really REALLY eager to try an honest American Hershey bar... so she got one, took a bite, pronounced that "It tastes of sick" and put it down. Because it tastes of sick, and American mass chocolate truly does suck a dog's butt.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:37 AM on July 1


"One not from the article: (Googling suggests it might be a Quebec thing): "Close the lights".

Totally from anywhere with significant French-Canadian population--it's a direct translation of the French "fermer la lumière." Using "ouvrir" and "fermer" (open and close) instead of "allumer" and "éteindre" (to light/to put out) would be billed as outright wrong outside of Canada, but is only slightly informal in Canadian (as especially Quebecois) French."


Also annoys electric engineers, since to close the light you have to open the circuit ; )

I'm Quebecois and I actually learned a few things by reading that list.
posted by coust at 11:42 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


I'm having occasional bursts of "MY MOM USED TO SAY THAT" nostalgia. (Especially "Jesus Murphy." We were not a swearing family.)

I heard that "cutlery" is a Canadianism, but what do you call silverware that isn't silver, if you don't call it cutlery? I can't get used to "utensils" or "dinnerware" or whatever else you're supposed to say.
posted by Jeanne at 11:45 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


The sour milk taste of Hershey chocolate dates back to the original recipe. Not saying it's not repulsive, but Milton H. et al intended it as a feature rather than a bug.

Back on topic, thank you Canada for Aero bars, my favorite mass-market chocolate.
posted by Flannery Culp at 11:46 AM on July 1


Milk in a bag. Nightmare fuel, that. When we moved to Ontario in the early 80's, our mealtime routine dictated that I would pour the milk for all of us while my sisters set the table.

STUPID RED PITCHER THE BAG ALWAYS FELL OUT OF IT AND GAAH
posted by disclaimer at 11:52 AM on July 1


Wow. You have to work pretty hard to get a bag of milk o fall out of the pitcher. Well done.
posted by Hildegarde at 11:56 AM on July 1 [13 favorites]


The list also needs PFO, which sums up Toronto politeness in just three letters.
posted by scruss at 12:01 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


One not from the article: (Googling suggests it might be a Quebec thing): "Close the lights".
posted by matcha action at 10:55 AM on July 1 [2 favorites +] [!]


My Grandfather from Newfoundland said that. So perhaps not just a Francophone thing.
posted by Gungho at 12:02 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Happy Canada Day, eh?

Some of these words are as familiar as the chesterfield under my bum, or as stalwart as the tuque on my head (well not right now, just wait a couple of months), but it's surprising to hear that Americans don't have eavestroughs or icing sugar or even parkades. The propensity to use college when they mean university is well known, tho. It's not so surprising (but a little sad) to see how many specialized phrases we have for describing ways to get drunk.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:04 PM on July 1


I could have sworn I'd seen Smarties in tubes, but we ended up with four rectangular kazoo boxes, as described above. The cats have mysteriously vanished somewhere in the house, almost like they knew what we were planning. I remain determined, sitting here with my four empty boxes, the Smarties deserted in a bowl in the kitchen. Worst case scenario involves alternating between making cardboard box music and shoving chocolate in our mouths.
posted by routergirl at 12:16 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that most right thinking Canadian youngsters knew that Glosette boxes made the best kazoos.

Old timers know the chiclets boxes were the best due to the window vibration.
posted by srboisvert at 12:20 PM on July 1 [5 favorites]


They do come in tubes but not available everywhere. Or it may have been a marketing try that failed? Not sure. ISTR mini-Smarties being made for a while that came in tubes.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:21 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


I remember watching Mr. Dressup doing crafts or drawing with Jiffy markers on his show (we got CBC Windsor and TV Ontario growing up in Detroit) and thinking they looked way cooler than the markers I had.
posted by Tesseractive at 12:21 PM on July 1


heard that "cutlery" is a Canadianism

Nope. That's English through and through. Nearly as much as my Grandma calling salt and pepper "Cruet".
posted by Brockles at 12:26 PM on July 1


My Grandfather from Newfoundland said that. So perhaps not just a Francophone thing.

I got it from my Anglophone grandfather-- maybe it is just a grandfather thing?
posted by matcha action at 12:33 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many of these are former trademarks. For example, when we were kids and my mother would serve Kool-Aid or similar powdered beverage, my dad would call it "Freshie." I only learned from the Internet that it was once a brand of drink mix.

Oh, and where I live, Kraft peanut butter seems to have muscled all other brands off the shelf. My favourite, Jif, has basically disappeared, and only recently has Skippy (which we Canadians know is really Squirrel but without the peanut on top) returned.
posted by evilcolonel at 12:40 PM on July 1


Oh, I've no idea what kind of insect they are...

You're seeing them, and they're not biting you, so they aren't no-see-ums. They sound like gnats.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:48 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Another Freshie and Skookum user here...

My mom said Freshie, too, even though it was actually Kool-aid on the package by the time we were around.

My dad always the chinook jargon phrases salt chuck (ocean) and skookum (well done/cool).

Think I'll have a glass of freshie with my skookum all dressed chips while sittin' by the salt chuck out here on the Salish Sea, eh.
posted by chapps at 1:00 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


native michigander who is quite puzzled that no one ever heard of eavestroughs being called eavestroughs

"homo milk" common around here

when i was growing up "rubber" was a common word for eraser as well as "galoshes"

the entry for chesterfields made me wonder where all the davenports have gone
posted by pyramid termite at 1:05 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


(And always visiting amusement parks - are you short of roller coasters as well?)

Yup.


I only knew of pablum as a term for something bland. Interesting to see its origin. Merriam Webster online dictionary also has a third definition as "intellectual sustenance", which seems almost the opposite of the definition that I know of for pablum. In any event, it's a "fancy" word, not one I hear or read often.
posted by eviemath at 1:10 PM on July 1


One not from the article: (Googling suggests it might be a Quebec thing): "Close the lights".
posted by matcha action at 10:55 AM on July 1 [2 favorites +] [!]

My Grandfather from Newfoundland said that. So perhaps not just a Francophone thing.


I'm pretty sure I heard considered Quebec English on one of those CBC "Bilingual Canadian Dictionary Project" segments on C'est la Vie say "close the lights" is Quebec English -- and it is direct French translation to English and There was/is a francophone population in Newfoundland so perhaps that explains it?

When I Lived in Montreal anglophones who didn't even speak French often said "close the lights" or "close the tv" and I have never heard it in BC.
posted by chapps at 1:16 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


When I was born my Chicago native step uncle sent a silver porringer with a note saying "Pablum rots the brain".

LA native: I grew up calling the shoes thongs, but I saw them called flip flops or zoris too.

I called knit caps watch caps; to me a beanie is identical to a yarmulke or zucchetto but worn for nonreligious reasons.

I was able to try the Canadian entries in the Lay's contest last year, my favorite was the Maple Moose which tasted like maple barbecue. I was hoping to find them when I was in BC last winter, but they were gone.
posted by brujita at 1:36 PM on July 1


ahh yes, davenports. I think this is perhaps an Edwardian/Victorian obsolete term rather than highly regional? Because I've heard it in my lifetime although not recently at all. The Very Olds I was acquainted with in the mid to late 70s and early 80s all referred to couches as "davenports" and this was in the rural Midwestern US. But these were all folks who would have been alive in those eras, so 2-3 generations removed from GenX me.

And yes, if you have never tried European or UK or non-American chocolate bars and have only ever eaten the cheap mass-produced stuff from the grocery checkout aisles, then you have no clue how godawful American mass produced chocolate is. The worst crime is that these days even foreign brands such as Cadbury, Nestle and Lindt are formulated for U.S. customers with that wretched sour vomit flavor profile. "tastes of sick" is actually being polite. I'm a native of the U.S.; I love chocolate, but having tasted the difference, I literally would not touch a US mass-produced chocolate bar if it was the last food in the house.
posted by lonefrontranger at 1:49 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Everyone, including Canadians, can stop saying "Homo Milk" right now.

Agreed! But the problem we need to deal with first is to stop the milking of the Homo's! It's bad enough that the LGBT community has to put up with derogatory terms, but apparently I've learned today that they are penned up in industrial farms north of the boarder and then systematically "milked", an activity that robs them of dignity and the freedom that all peoples should have! Frankly, I'm surprised that our neighbors to the north have gotten away with it for as long as they have. Where's the investigative journalism? the CBC has once again shown they are just another shill for Big Agra. Where is the public outrage? How can anyone living in Canada allow this to stand one minute more?!?!?!?!? For shame, Canada, for Shame! I guess that your polite, mild, demeanor is just a cover for the seething, suppurating, cesspool of evil and inhumanity that lies below the surface.

Man, first I learn in this post that Canada isn't part of the US, and now this!!!
posted by prodigalsun at 1:51 PM on July 1


dammit EmpressCallipygos WHY did you have to go and remind me of the ONE AND ONLY thing I miss about Baltimore?!
posted by lonefrontranger at 1:53 PM on July 1


dammit EmpressCallipygos WHY did you have to go and remind me of the ONE AND ONLY thing I miss about Baltimore?!

Bergers Cookies?
posted by Confess, Fletch at 1:57 PM on July 1


ABM- In the United States, the alternative is “ATM.”
Actually, in the US, it's 'ATM machine'.
posted by MtDewd at 1:59 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]


My (English) wife and I are renovating our house in my adopted homeland in the south of England.

This explains why the builder looked at me blankly for a good two minutes when I asked him about the evestroughs.

Skookum is such a great word. I think I need to find excuses to use it.
posted by generichuman at 2:06 PM on July 1


ABM- In the United States, the alternative is “ATM.”
Actually, in the US, it's 'ATM machine'.


Well yeah -- Where else are you gonna go to punch in your PIN number?
 
posted by Herodios at 2:10 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


I've never heard anyone not talking in jargon say ABM, but I always heard bank machine growing up in PEI.

Some Prince Edward Islandisms for you: The roads are slippy. Or if the roads are exceptionally bad, then they're right slippy. A backpack is a kit-bag. Nintendo cartridges (and possibly CD-ROMS) are called tapes.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:12 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


My Grandfather from Newfoundland said that. So perhaps not just a Francophone thing.

Lots of Italians I know say "close" the light because just like French, that's what the translation is.

If you like chocolate and you're in Toronto, you should go to Soma.
posted by juiceCake at 2:18 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


But the problem we need to deal with first is to stop the milking of the Homo's!

you probably didn't (want to) know this but 'milking' is the name of a pretty specific fetish that some gay dudes are into
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:28 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


I live in BC and remember our Italian then-mayor saying "close the lights" back in the 80s. Besides skookum, there is also "buckshee" which means carelessly thrown together.
posted by CCBC at 2:39 PM on July 1


When I moved down to the states, I put all my cheep furniture together with Robertson screws because I had a bunch of them and they were better than the crappy Phillips screws that came with my 'just recently not a student' grade stuff. Fast forward a few years... well, I can't find my Robertson bits and no store sells them. My room mates jokingly referred to them as Canadian security screws. These days you can get them but they are called square drive.

Also, the usage of homo milk has never been an issue since, like, grade school. Seriously, asking for a 2L of homo milk is fine, calling someone a homo is not at all fine.

(and calling someone milk is just foolish).
posted by flyingfox at 2:57 PM on July 1


Huh. I'm American, and just spent two years living in a fairly rural part of England, and everyone was always very careful to ask "Where are you from?" rather than "Are you American?" specifically (they would then tell me) because they didn't want to offend the Canadians by assuming they were American.

Agree that no-see-ums is more widespread than just Canada (grew up in the American Midwest).
posted by olinerd at 4:05 PM on July 1


One Canadianism I always notice is the use of "North America" as a shorthand meaning "Canada and the United States." Whenever I come across someone using this definition of "North America," I assume they're Canadian.
posted by cinchona at 4:07 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


My favorites, predictably, are the booze-related ones: a two-four of beer, and 60-pounders, 40-pounders, and twenty-sixers of liquor (for the old 24 ounce, 40 ounce, and 60 ounce bottles of (preferably) rye, although of course they're all in metric now and have been for decades).

The one I'd never heard before was 'twixer' for twenty-sixer, so I wonder if that's new since I left Canada a couple of decades back, or just an eastern thing.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:25 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Happy Canada Day!

I remember visiting the US a few years ago and having it slowly dawn on me that I was the only person saying "washroom." Whenever I asked for directions to a public washroom, Americans understood what I was saying and pointed me in the right direction, but they all referred to it as the "restroom." I don't know why that strikes me as a hilarious euphemism, because "washroom" is pretty euphemistic too. Maybe we should all be more like the Europeans, call it "the toilet" and be done with it.

From this list I learned that parkades, eavestroughs, pencil crayons, and keeners are all Canadianisms too. Bizarre! I really always believed those were universally used English-language words.

Two that I did not see on there:

1) "holidays" vs. "vacation": I've noticed Americans tend to say "vacation" for time off from work and only use "holidays" to refer to actual statutory holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. Though I do hear people say "vacation" here as well, I think there are more than a few Canadians who say we're "on holidays," which can mean everything from "taking time off work to stay home and relax" or "travelling abroad for fun."

2) "garbage" vs. "trash": Americans tend to say "trash" to describe the stuff they put outside and take to the curb once a week for pickup, but most Canadians I know, myself included, say "garbage" instead. I also say "garbage can," not "trash can." [I will sometimes use the word metaphorically--I'll say a book/TV show/movie is "trashy," i.e. will little to no artistic merit, and thus an enjoyable guilty pleasure. Or I'll say something's just plain "trash," by which I mean it's utter contemptible crap, not even worth it as a guilty pleasure.]

cinchona: One Canadianism I always notice is the use of "North America" as a shorthand meaning "Canada and the United States." Whenever I come across someone using this definition of "North America," I assume they're Canadian.

Ha! Yes, I am guilty of this. Never really twigged before that this is a particularly Canadian thing to do.

PS For those of you asking about mobile browser crashes, yup, happened to me too. I had to use our desktop to see the site.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:34 PM on July 1


Herodios: "ABM- In the United States, the alternative is “ATM.”
Actually, in the US, it's 'ATM machine'.

Well yeah -- Where else are you gonna go to punch in your PIN number?
"

Uh, at the Tyme Machine, like a normal person.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:43 PM on July 1


...better than the crappy Phillips screws...

As an American who's turned thousands of screws, of all descriptions, let me say that the phrase "crappy Phillips screws" is redundant, especially in a discussion of the merits of Robertson screws. Phillips screws are vastly inferior. Allen-head and Torx screws are better, but still inferior. Henry Ford is long dead; all our automotive hardware is, I believe, metric; it's time to correct Ford's blunder and get with the program.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:12 PM on July 1


Speaking of Robertson screwdrivers (which I hadn't realized was a Canadianism), I worked way way back, one summer, as an electrician's assistant. I don't know if it was only her, or if it was some kind of special electrician thing, but all of her Robertson screwdrivers had red handles, and so she (and eventually I) always referred to 'the red robbie' when asking to be handed one.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:22 PM on July 1


Uh, at the Tyme Machine, like a normal person.

Ah, that takes me back. To GallliWisconsin.
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:39 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


most canadian treats, including all-dressed chips, can be bought on amazon and ebay. The markups on Amazon are usually hilariously high

Not unlike the purchasers.
posted by yoink at 6:15 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


I heard that "cutlery" is a Canadianism, but what do you call silverware that isn't silver, if you don't call it cutlery?

In the US it's "flatware."
posted by yoink at 6:16 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


I don't know if it was only her, or if it was some kind of special electrician thing, but all of her Robertson screwdrivers had red handles, and so she (and eventually I) always referred to 'the red robbie' when asking to be handed one.

It's neither, well not exactly. The standard (sadly becoming less prevalent) is that different sizes of Robertson screwdriver should have different coloured handles to differentiate them, so it's common to refer to them as red or green instead of #2 or #1, or big/small.
posted by rodlymight at 6:21 PM on July 1


(and calling someone milk is just foolish).

Harvey might disagree.
posted by juiceCake at 6:34 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


One Canadianism I always notice is the use of "North America" as a shorthand meaning "Canada and the United States." Whenever I come across someone using this definition of "North America," I assume they're Canadian.

Ha! Yes, I am guilty of this. Never really twigged before that this is a particularly Canadian thing to do.


It's because of our undeclared cold war on Mexico.
posted by srboisvert at 6:41 PM on July 1


It's neither, well not exactly. The standard (sadly becoming less prevalent) is that different sizes of Robertson screwdriver should have different coloured handles to differentiate them, so it's common to refer to them as red or green instead of #2 or #1, or big/small.

Ah ha! That was it -- it's so long ago now that I misremembered the details (which happens to me an awful lot and is a bit of a joke amongst my old friends). You're right, of course, it wasn't all the robertsons, just the particular one that we used the most on residential stuff, that was the 'red robbie'.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:02 PM on July 1


I spot those Canadians right away when they pronounce "pasta" to rhyme with "canasta."

For me, it's "process." Canadians say it like a Britisher: pro-cess (long o).
posted by zardoz at 7:04 PM on July 1


Although I work with a woman who grew up in Chicago, and she throws out pro-cess and pro-gress.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:15 PM on July 1


The one I'd never heard before was 'twixer' for twenty-sixer, so I wonder if that's new since I left Canada a couple of decades back, or just an eastern thing.

I grew up in Newfoundland in the 90s and spent years in Ontario, BC and NB after that and have never heard it. I go between a two-six and (rarely) a twenty-sixer.

So yeah I dunno about that one at all.

For me, it's "process." Canadians say it like a Britisher: pro-cess (long o).

It depends, right? If for example I need to grate a lot of food I use a food processor (short o). But we need to change the process (long o) of how we blankety-blank.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:01 PM on July 1


You're supposed to celebrate Canada Day by eating 'Zesty Mordant' or 'Dressed All Over' chips.
posted by mazola at 9:36 PM on July 1


Lime green #0, green #1, red #2, black #3 Robertson. Robertson was a dumb jerk who wouldn't license his patent to US toolmakers, a truly heinous crime.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:51 PM on July 1


"I heard that "cutlery" is a Canadianism, but what do you call silverware that isn't silver, if you don't call it cutlery?

In the US it's "flatware."


Huh. For me, "flatware" and "cutlery" are different, though overlapping. "Cutlery" is all forks, knives, spoons, etc. "Flatware" is everything that's not "hollowware," which is serving dishes and bowls (generally silver, if you're highfalutin' enough to use "hollowware"). But "silverware" also covers utensils that aren't silver, but are flatware.

I will say that as a Michiganian, this list is pretty specious. Missing "handle," not understanding why we don't have mickeys, not understanding that "pony" is an adjective that describes "shot" or "keg" (though those are sometimes omitted, so you have to tell from context). Also, touques are not beanies. (My fiance rightly pointed out that a touque has a roll-up, but both Canadians and Michiganians use it inclusive of the pom-pom topped hats.)
posted by klangklangston at 11:18 PM on July 1


Glad to see 'salt chuck' mentioned, it wasn't in the article, and seems to be (or was) pretty common on the coast in BC along with skookum chuck. In fact you can go surf on the Skookumchuck Rapids which is actually on the salt chuck even though it looks like a river.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:25 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Geist, edited by Stephen Osbourne out of Vancouver has some great Canadian linguistic maps.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:35 AM on July 2


FWIW, to me, cutlery can refer to just a bunch of knives (like a block or such) because they, y'know, cut things.
posted by maryr at 7:56 AM on July 2


I get the feeling the author is from BC/Alberta, and doesn't know/hasn't seen as much Atlantic and Quebecker slang.
posted by bonehead at 7:58 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


Milk in a bag

The trick, such as it is, to milk in a bag is to snip both corners of the top of the bag. That lets air in as you pour and prevents the bag from collapsing.

Those bags were a constant in my childhood. We used them as freezerbags for the garden vegetables. It was completely forbidden to throw one away. After use they had to be cut open (no tears!), carefully washed and hung upside-down to dry. The dry bags were carefully stacked in a box for use during harvest. As we went through at least a bag a meal, this was a routine chore, done by whomever had the dish rotation that week.

We had always had a vegetable garden ever since my parents had their own backyard. However, we rented community garden plots (50x100 ft) too. At their height, our family had three plots (nominally in my grandparents names as well). In July and August, their combined outputs turned our kitchen into a production line for blanched and frozen beans, carrots, even corn, every one stuffed into a recycled milk bag and sealed with a twist tie.

Bags were reused for the freezer several times, but when they started to get ratty, mom would use them for our sandwiches for school, from which they were not expected to return.

Thankfully, those days are over. We buy milk in cartons now, but the real, life-changing, event was the development of the heavy-duty freezer ziplock bag. I am free of the guilt of wasting bags forevermore.
posted by bonehead at 8:15 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]


Huh. For me, "flatware" and "cutlery" are different, though overlapping. "Cutlery" is all forks, knives, spoons, etc

I've usually received blank looks from Americans when I talk about "cutlery." I just checked the Macy's home store and they sell what I would call "cutlery" under the heading "flatware and silverware." The "silverware" one is interesting, because if you actually search for the sterling silver sets they label them as "sterling silver flatware." Under "cutlery" they sell kitchen knives.
posted by yoink at 8:22 AM on July 2


The trick, such as it is, to milk in a bag is to snip both corners of the top of the bag. That lets air in as you pour and prevents the bag from collapsing.

The milk-in-a-bag thing is great from the p.o.v. of reducing the waste stream. Cardboard milk cartons are incredibly wasteful.
posted by yoink at 8:24 AM on July 2


> ... cutlery can refer to just a bunch of knives ... because they, y'know, cut things.

Do you put them in the drawer along with the scooplery and the stablery?
posted by benito.strauss at 8:28 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]


bonehead: "Thankfully, those days are over. We buy milk in cartons now, but the real, life-changing, event was the development of the heavy-duty freezer ziplock bag. I am free of the guilt of wasting bags forevermore."

I hope you wash and re-use your freezer bags, though! You can get a ton of uses out of them.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:33 AM on July 2


I've usually received blank looks from Americans when I talk about "cutlery."

When I told a roommate I would bring the cutlery, she thought I meant I was bringing just knives.
posted by jeather at 9:01 AM on July 2


The milk-in-a-bag thing is great from the p.o.v. of reducing the waste stream. Cardboard milk cartons are incredibly wasteful.

Just thinking about this… Milk bags come in threes, packaged together in another plastic bag, which then in turn is often bagged in its very own separate supermarket plastic bag [NOT SAC] by the cashier (both because of the weight of the milk and because of the gross condensation-or-leaky-milk inevitably covering the outer milk bag). One word: plastics. Not more evil?
posted by Kabanos at 10:43 AM on July 2


The last bag is completely unnecessary - just don't buy leaky milk (it's not that hard to avoid). The main bag holds the weight fine and if you are grossed out by condensation I don't know how you get through life, frankly. It's just water....
posted by Brockles at 10:58 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


FWIW, to me, cutlery can refer to just a bunch of knives (like a block or such) because they, y'know, cut things.

You don't really want to go down the road of, my word makes more sense than yours, because reasons. Language doesn't work that way.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:48 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


I finally got to read this link (it killed my phone), and I think that unless you've lived in every province you're not going to have encountered every term.

FWIW here are the ones I didn't know: sixty-pounder, texas mickey, kangaroo jacket, skookum, fill your boots, “bugger the dog”*, rubber (as in eraser), no-see-ums

* Like mireille above, I know this as "fuck the dog". Yeah, classy one, I know.

Also my brother moved to Saskatchewan a few years ago and has started saying "fuck your hat". He has also been known to add Clamato to pilsner. I haven't heard him say "bunnyhug" unironically yet, thankfully.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:01 PM on July 2


I finally got to read this link (it killed my phone), and I think that unless you've lived in every province you're not going to have encountered every term.

I dunno. As bonehead wrote above, the content from east of Ontario is very thin on the ground.

Newfoundland has a huge wealth of odd or unique words and expressions, and none of them were included (skeet, firk, fousty, etc etc etc).

I remember I once had a room-mate from Cape Breton who called the last bit of beer left in a bottle the "toenail" - that was a new one for me.

I guess easternisms aren't common elsewhere in the country, but then again, many of the words and cultural phenomenon described in the article and in this thread are also regionalisms, it's just the regions they belong to are Ontario or Alberta or whatever. Canada, unlike its milk, isn't homogenous (I never encountered "homo milk" - and milk in bags for that matter - until I moved to Ontario . . .)
posted by erlking at 12:10 PM on July 2


Do you put them in the drawer along with the scooplery and the stablery?

No way am I putting stuff like that in my drawers.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:49 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


For me the cutlery/flatware/etc is just a big mess. My mom called it anything from utensils to cutlery to silverware (none of it actual silver, and all terms used to mean knives, forks, spoons). But some stores where I lived in the US would call it flatware, and serving spoons were serveware, and my god, can't a spoon just be a spoon? I guess Spoons/Knives/Forks was too long. Also - why flatware, when some of them are curved? They should be Eating Tools, and the serving sized ones could be Serving Tools, and we could be done with it all.
posted by routergirl at 12:50 PM on July 2


Silverware was what it was in our house, and remains so to this day.

I first heard the word "flatware" when cable TV happened and we got the Shopping Channel. I thought it was one of those weird ersatz corporate constructions like cheese food product (aka Kraft Velveeta).
posted by bonehead at 1:50 PM on July 2


food rakes
posted by elizardbits at 1:51 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


Metal dooey use to.... dig... food.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:11 PM on July 2


"flatware" has the same marketing sound as "facial tissue" and "adhesive bandage". They can't say "silverware" if it's stainless so they had to come up with a term to use in advertisements.
posted by octothorpe at 4:18 PM on July 2


Reading through the survey and comments, I feel like I'm in an episode of "Wheels Ontario". Luv it!
posted by oceanview at 4:20 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


routergirl: "I will go on forever about how Canada's Kraft has ruined the fatty delight that Oreos should be (HOW DARE YOU KRAFT HOW DARE YOU)."

Isn't this the "fault" of the government banning trans fats?
posted by Mitheral at 5:09 PM on July 2


It won't do you any good to rationalise it (believe me). Much as my wife is aware of the more healthy food here (and appreciates it in other things) she will remain resolutely pissed that Hot Dogs and Oreos in Canada are a very distant second to US versions.
posted by Brockles at 5:25 PM on July 2


"flatware" has the same marketing sound as "facial tissue" and "adhesive bandage". They can't say "silverware" if it's stainless so they had to come up with a term to use in advertisements.

It's in widespread use in the US by the early C20th. See, e.g., this 1916 issue of Popular Mechanics.
posted by yoink at 5:33 PM on July 2


They can't say "silverware" if it's stainless...

Maybe they can't, but we can, because what color is it? It may not have the element Silver in it, But it's not usually functionally inferior. Yes, I know we don't say "whiteware" for plastic utensils, but that stuff comes in all different colors anyway. If somebody at my house for dinner hears someone referring to "silverware" and then is disappointed that it's stainless, I probably didn't invite them anyway.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:37 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Yeah, exactly. I've never heard an actual human say "flatware", it just seems to exist in department store ads.
posted by octothorpe at 4:39 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


What I told Brockles last night, and he threatened to post here, was that I totally blame Kraft Canada for the Canadian Oreos. If I started producing something in another country (say, Ritz crackers) and they told me, "Because of the laws of our country, you must make them taste like turds." I would throw away my plans and shut down the company before sullying the good name of my tasty treats.
posted by routergirl at 6:50 AM on July 3


Flannery Culp - thank you Canada for Aero bars.

Unless you're talking about a different sort of Canadian Aero Bar, it's another product created by Rowntree Macintosh (in 1935). Sorry...
posted by guy72277 at 8:20 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


I don't fully grasp your point here. Ritz crackers do taste like turds.
posted by bonehead at 9:28 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


People do use the term "plasticware". It can mean anything made out off plastic, but it makes me think of forks, knives, and spoons primarily. And Google Imagesearch makes its first suggested specialization as "Plastic silverware", which tells you something.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:38 AM on July 3



People do use the term "plasticware". It can mean anything made out off plastic
So you want to be a rock and roll star?
Then listen now to what I say,
Just get an electric guitar
And take some time to learn how to play
. . .
Sell your soul to the company
Who are waiting there to sell plastic ware(s) . . .

-- The Byrds, 1967

Laa la la la la-la, La LA la la la, La la LA la la . . .
posted by Herodios at 10:18 AM on July 3


People do use the term "plasticware".

History will judge us all.
posted by bonehead at 10:34 AM on July 3


Do you put them in the drawer along with the scooplery and the stablery?

Scooplery is clearly a made up word. The stablery is where we keep the horses.
posted by maryr at 10:44 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Unless you're talking about a different sort of Canadian Aero Bar, it's another product created by Rowntree Macintosh (in 1935). Sorry...

I hope we can still claim Coffee Crisp as our own.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:46 AM on July 3 [2 favorites]


I take it back. I am certain that Scooplery is a frozen yogurt place somewhere.

Or will be soon.
posted by maryr at 10:57 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Coffee Crisp is the only candybar worth eating. For the life of me, I can not understand why it isn't sold everywhere 'round the world.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:47 PM on July 3


The one I really loved from over the border was the Crunchie Bar, which was fantastic and even better when frozen.
posted by klangklangston at 2:53 PM on July 3


Afraid that Crunchies are British too, but very yummy. Coffee Crisps are awesome.
posted by arcticseal at 3:36 PM on July 3


Coffee Crisp is the only candybar worth eating. For the life of me, I can not understand why it isn't sold everywhere 'round the world.

Most likely because it's horrible.
posted by juiceCake at 3:46 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Horribly good.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 4:58 PM on July 3 [4 favorites]




Molson is not the best beer, but I do love their advertising team's output. They don't claim to make you better looking or more a more tuneful singer, but they do bring everyone together.
posted by arcticseal at 2:15 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if it comes form the same place, but to "table" a notion can have opposite meanings in the US and Canada. It most US usage, it means to put a topic or any possible decision aside. In Canadian usage, particularly formal and governmental contexts, it means to introduce a new idea specifically for the purpose of voting or making a decision.

My boyfriend is American. I am Canadian. We both use this phrase a lot.

I no longer have any idea what this phrase means when used and can often not even remember which way is 'the Canadian way' anymore.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 10:58 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


I guess you lucked out, then.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:37 PM on July 6


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