Canada, like most countries and regions throughout the world, has been around long enough to take on its own unique flavor, norms, and customs that are different than what you’ll find elsewhere. One of the areas where this distinctive flavor is most notable is in the way native Canadians speak, including the language they use. Whether you’re booking a stay in Niagara Falls for the first time or the 20th, here’s a fun, little primer on some words and phrases that will help you speak with all the charm and expertise of a local.
Canadian money is, in many ways, like the money from other places — some of it is printed on paper and some of it is minted into coins. For the newcomer to Canadian soil, however, the money talk can be a little confusing, especially surrounding the $1 and $2 coins. Known as a “toonie,” the $2 coin was put into circulation in 1996 and is not to be confused with a newcomer to Boston. The $1 coin is known as a “loonie” because of the loon who image graces it.
Ordering coffee in Canada isn’t likely to get you into trouble, but understanding how most Canadians order it will be helpful nonetheless. Many Canadians, when ordering coffee, simply ask for a “Double Double,” which means a regular coffee with two creams and two sugars. So, if you don’t want your coffee sweet and creamy, be sure to specify that when ordering.
Chances are good that you’ve been what Canadians call “gut-foundered” before and you didn’t even know it. Any time you’re hungry to the point of lacking any and all discernment or care about what you eat, you’re gut-foundered.
Eating cold, leftover pizza you found under your roommate’s bed? That’s a classic example of being gut-foundered. Another slang term that can accompany both pizza and being gut-foundered is the “two-four,” which is what beer-loving Canadians call a case due to the fact that it has 24 beers in it.
There are a number of clothing items that, while they may look identical to items worn in other parts of the world, have distinctly Canadian names. Some examples include:
- Gitch. This refers to a pair of men’s or boy’s underwear.
- Gotch. This is the female version of the gitch.
- Toque. The toque is most common winter hat worn by Canadians.
Other common Canadian terms that you’ll hear when you’re out and about (pronounced aboot) Niagara Falls and the surrounding area include:
- Deke. This word is a reference to faking out a hockey opponent, but it’s commonly used as a synonym for any time someone takes a detour.
- Mountie. This word refers to any member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
- Matrimonial cake. Sold at bakeries, a matrimonial cake has nothing to do with weddings. It’s simply a date square or tart.
Regardless of whether you try them on yourself, keep your ear attuned to these words and phrases the next time you’re north of the border for an experience of Canada that’s distinctly Canadian.