Canadian Slang Words You Need to Know

Before visiting the Great White North, such as Montreal, brush up on your Canadian slang
Before visiting the Great White North, such as Montreal, brush up on your Canadian slang | © Cagkan Sayin / Alamy Stock Photo
Culture Trip

You’re likely to hear languages from all over the world in Canada, including the official English and French. There are also more than 70 indigenous tongues. But to really understand what’s going on, you’ll need to know some Canadian slang. Whether you’re short by a loonie or looking for the nearest Timmies, memorize these Canadian words, and you’ll fit in just fine.

Eh?

Pronounced “ay.” This word is used in everyday Canadian vernacular to indicate that you don’t understand something, can’t believe something is true or want the person you’re speaking with to respond. It’s similar to the phrases “huh,” “right?” and “what?” commonly used in the USA.

“We’re gonna go tobogganing today, eh?”

“The Beer Store and the LCBO [Liquor Control Board of Ontario] were closed today.”

“Eh?!”

1. Victoria and Butchart Gardens

Natural Feature

Embark on a captivating journey from Vancouver to Victoria, exploring British Columbia’s stunning coastline by both land and sea. Begin with a scenic ferry ride through the picturesque Gulf Islands, where you can spot whales, sea lions, and eagles from the deck. Arrive at Victoria and visit the renowned Butchart Gardens, featuring themed flowerbeds, tranquil fountains, and impressive sunken gardens. Enjoy leisure time to explore vibrant Victoria, including its historic Chinatown and bustling Inner Harbour, soaking in the city’s metropolitan charm. This tour includes admission to Butchart Gardens and convenient hotel or port pickup and drop-off in downtown Vancouver, ensuring a seamless and memorable experience of Victoria, British Columbia’s capital city.

Loonie (and toonie)

A loonie, the Canadian one-dollar coin, gets its name from the picture of the Canadian bird, the loon, that appears on one side of the coin. A toonie, the name for the two-dollar coin, gained a similar nickname to match the sound of the loonie – not to be confused with the American cartoon Looney Tunes.

“All I’ve got is a loonie. Should we Uber instead?”

“Yo, I’m short a toonie for the TTC.”

TTC is what Torontonians call the city’s mass transit, run by the Toronto Transit Commission.

Timmies

Timmies refers to the fast-food coffee chain, Tim Hortons, named after co-founder, the late, great hockey player Tim Horton. If you don’t know and love Timmies, you’re not a true Canadian. And don’t forget the Timbits or donut holes – the perfect match for the popular double-double (see below for definition).

“I’m gonna go to Timmies real quick and grab me a box of Timbits.”

Fancy a ‘Timmies’?

Double-double

This bad boy is a Tim Hortons favorite: regular coffee with two creams and two sugars. Up until 2020, you could roll up the rim of the cup for the chance to win a prize in an annual competition, but it’s now gone online.

“Mmm… I can’t start my day without my morning double-double and jelly-filled dutchie [square doughnut].”

2. Niagara Falls

Natural Feature

Experience the ultimate Niagara Falls adventure with our deluxe tour that spans both the American and Canadian sides of this natural wonder. This comprehensive tour includes all the must-see attractions, ensuring you don’t miss a single highlight. Feel the rush of the iconic Maid of the Mist boat cruise (or “Journey Behind the Falls” tour depending on the season), get up close with the powerful Bridal Veil Falls on the Cave of the Winds walk (available seasonally), and ascend the Skylon Tower for breathtaking aerial views of the falls and beyond. Marvel at the majestic Horseshoe Falls and American Falls from multiple perspectives throughout the tour. All attraction and admission fees, as well as hotel transfers and road tolls, are included for a hassle-free experience. Please note, food and beverages are at your own expense. Discover the best of Niagara Falls with this unforgettable sightseeing adventure that combines the excitement of both sides of the border in one seamless journey.

The 6ix

The 6ix refers to the six former cities that now make up Toronto. The nickname was made famous by Toronto-born musician Drake, who uses it on his mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (see below). He credits rapper Jimmy Prime with inventing the catchy term. Hogtown, Big Smoke and T-Dot are also used for the city.

“Yeah, this is a crazy life. But you and the 6ix raised me right.”

Two-four

This term is commonly used to refer to a case of 24 beers. Don’t be surprised when a friend asks you to pick one up on the way over.

“I’m on my way to the Beer Store to pick up a two-four.”

Toque

Pronounced “too-uk” or “tuke” in a Canadian accent. Derived from Arabic, it found its way into medieval French in the 15th century. This word refers to a cap with a small brim or no brim (a beanie). It’s usually worn when it’s cold – so pretty much year-round.

“Grab your toque. You never know when an ice storm might hit – this is Canada.”

Mickey

A mickey is a hip-flask-size bottle of liquor. You can only find these at the LCBO. It fits perfectly in your purse, pocket or hand.

“Just grab a mickey. We’re keeping it low-key tonight.”

Pop

Refers to soda, the delicious carbonated beverage that mom rarely lets you have.

“Let’s have a couple pops on the chesterfield [couch].”

Canuck

A slang term for Canadians. You may have heard this in the world of sports, as we cheer our national team while dressed in a stereotypical Canadian costume (think Mountie or moose) or as part of team names such as the Vancouver Canucks – although Torontonians only know the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Look at those Canucks!”

Canada is one of the biggest countries in the world, and unsurprisingly has a number of slang terms only Canucks will know.

Zed

The Canadian pronunciation for the letter Z. “Zee” is acceptable as well, but if you want to sound like a Canadian, go for zed. You’ll fit right in.

“Her name starts with zed.”

A North American city escape with a French flavour? Toronto isn’t the only answer to this particular set of parameters – as you’ll find on our four-day Mini Trip to New Orleans. Filled with food, jazz and southern hospitality, it’s a guaranteed good time.

Klick

This term refers to kilometers, the unit of length in the metric system equal to 1,000m. (Psst, America: one kilometer is approximately 0.6mi!)

“There’s a moose on the loose! It’s about three klicks away.”

Keener

This word refers to someone who tries hard to please others or is overly enthusiastic. Similar to “nerd,” “brown-noser” and “geek.”

“Don’t be such a keener!”

Give’er

This slang term means to give it all you’ve got when all else fails. It’s used when referring to work, drinking, sports and any other activity that requires you to buckle down and get it done.

“I’m feeling under the weather today.”

“Just give’er.”

*shotguns beer*

Kerfuffle

This word describes a commotion or fuss, usually caused by a disagreement or difference in opinion (most commonly found during or after sports games).

“There was a kerfuffle when Montreal beat the Leafs.”

Stag/Stagette

The Canadian version of the pre-wedding bachelor and bachelorette parties. It’s a night (or weekend) of fun with your pals of the same gender before your upcoming nuptials.

“We got Dan’s stag this weekend. Be sure to pick up a two-four on your way over.”

Runners

This word describes running shoes. It can also refer to street shoes. Handy for when your friend says “pitter patter” (let’s go).

“Bring your runners. We’re not going to take TTC today.”

Beauty

An expression used to refer to something that was done well or an exceptionally great person.

“Your mom left a box of Timbits for me. She’s a beauty.”

Pencil crayons

Colored pencils, like those that mom wanted you to use instead of sitting on the chesterfield drinking pop.

“I’ve got a stack of pencil crayons that will be perfect for that Drake coloring book.”

Snowbirds

This word describes Canadians who head south during winter to escape the cold. Destinations always include sandy beaches and tropical waters.

“My parents always get into a kerfuffle over my dad leaving for Florida every winter.”

“He’s a snowbird, eh?”

What you sayin’?

One of those Canadian sayings that can be misleading. It’s used when asking what someone is doing – similar to the phrase “What are you up to?”

“What you sayin’ tonight?”

“Nothin’ much, just gonna chill on the chesterfield and drink a mickey.”

That’s jokes

Use this phrase when you want to say something is hilarious or funny.

“I saw a Newfie [someone from Newfoundland] riding a moose the other day.”

“That’s jokes!”

True

Another term that can be confusing – used instead of OK. (Note: not used to express that something is valid or true.)

“Sorry, I’m going to be late. TTC was delayed.”

“True.”

Queue/lineup

Refers to a line of people waiting for something, whether at the movie theater, the bathroom or a Leafs game. Queue and lineup are used interchangeably.

“The queue at Canada’s Wonderland is massive, eh?”

Whale’s tail

Another word for beaver tails, the famous Canadian treat made from fried pastry dough (which is sometimes smothered in toppings such as Nutella) – also called elephant ears.

“I’m going to get in this queue for a whale’s tail. I hear they are a beauty.”

Chesterfield

A couch or sofa. A term usually used by the older crowd (hey, grandma).

“Go ahead and eat your elephant ears on the chesterfield. I’ll come sit with you as soon as I take these runners off.”

3. Grouse Mountain

Natural Feature

Experience the best of Vancouver’s natural wonders with our comprehensive tour featuring two iconic attractions. Begin by immersing yourself in the lush forest surroundings at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, where you’ll traverse the famous suspension bridge amidst towering trees. Next, ascend to the top of Grouse Mountain aboard the impressive Grouse Mountain Skyride, North America’s largest aerial tramway, for spectacular panoramic views. Along the way, visit the Capilano River hatchery to learn about local wildlife conservation efforts. Enjoy round-trip transportation from most area hotels for convenience, and rest assured that all park entrance fees and taxes are included in one upfront payment. Be prepared with comfortable walking shoes and a rain jacket, as this tour is ideal for those who appreciate heights and can navigate moderate walking paths with ease. Discover Vancouver’s breathtaking landscapes and thrilling heights with this unforgettable excursion.

Serviette

A term for a napkin – another nod to French lingo.

“Can you grab me a serviette? I spilt all of my Molson during that kerfuffle.”

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