CanadaInfo Navigator Bar


"I am Canadian" yells the Molson Canadian commercial instructing Americans who and what we are. Look below for the text of this now famous rant and a list of many other truly Canadian expressions. Send me additions to this list!


I Am Canadian
Click the image for the text and photos of this famous beer commercial

A dollar. The Canadian $1 coin has a loon (the bird) on one side.

Two dollars. The Canadian $2 coin is gold-coloured in the middle, with a silver-coloured ring around the outside. It takes its name from the $1 coin, the loonie, and adds its value, two, to form "twonie" or, more easily read, "toonie". A polar bear is on one side of this coin.

Unemployment benefits. "I'm getting pogey" means, as the British would say, "I'm on the dole."

French for "napkin". This term is used by anglophones as well as francophones.


robe, bathrobe

A couch or sofa.

Québecois specialty. French fries covered in cheese curds and gravy.

A brand of breakfast cereal, vaguely resembling Chex in the United States.

Not the ones like in the United States. In Canada, Smarties are a candy resembling M&Ms. They do melt in your hand, and they're a lot sweeter.

Kraft Dinner, or KD
macaroni and cheese.

back bacon
Canadian bacon. Sometimes rolled in peameal.

brown bread
Whole wheat bread. If you are at a diner for breakfast and you ask for whole wheat toast, they'll understand you, but "brown toast" is a lot more Canadian.

homo milk
Homogenized milk. Known in the United States as whole milk.

powdery stuff to put into coffee or tea. Called "non-dairy creamer" in the United States.

whipping cream
heavy cream to the folks in the United States.

cilantro to the folks in the United States.

cooking onions
yellow onions to the folks in the United States.

butter tart
a delicious pie-like pastry cup with a butter, brown sugar, raisins, and nuts filling.

Nanaimo bars
a rich brownie like base with a custard cream layer topped with chocolate. Named for the city in British Columbia.

a line.... "There was a really long lineup for tickets to last night's hockey game."

icing sugar
powdered sugar

table (verb)
to bring up for discussion, as in a session of Parliament.

Robertson screws
Screws (for metal or wood) with a square hole in the top rather than a straight or X-shaped one. They'd be popular in the States except that Henry Ford wanted exclusive rights to them, and Robertson (the inventor, a Canadian) refused to sell.

May Two-Four
The nickname of Victoria Day, Queen Victoria's birthday, May 24th.

A kind of wintertime hat.

"The States"
The United States of America. Canadians hate referring to the United States as "America", because Canadians are just as much (North) Americans as citizens of the United States are.

"chip trucks"
These are like the van driven by the ice cream man, only they sell French fries. They are most ubiquitous on the roads to "cottage country."

metric measurements
No, the temperature does not drop fifty degrees when you cross the border from the United States! Centimetres, not inches; kilometres, not miles; metres, not yards, etc.

French and English
The Government of Canada is one of the rare federal governments in the world to be completely bilingual.

milk containers
Milk comes in plastic bags as well as in cartons and jugs

hockey gear
A guy can get onto a bus wearing goalie pads, a helmet - everything but the skates - and nobody gives him a second look.

Elected officials represent the people of their riding - also known as electoral districts.

Trans-Canada Highway
Canada's equivalent to the Interstate highways - is two lanes wide for most of its length. And there are huge, wide highways around the major cities. The 401 north of Toronto is twelve lanes wide in places and has recently overtaken some major highways in Los Angeles as the busiest road on the continent.

gas stations
  • Esso (instead of Exxon)
  • Petro Canada
  • Irving (only in eastern Canada)
  • Canadian Tire
  • Husky

department stores
  • The Bay (the Hudson's Bay Company, the oldest company in North America and possibly the world - it was incorporated on May 2, 1670)

  • Toronto Dominion
  • Bank of Montreal
  • RBC Royal Bank
  • The Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Molson and Labatt are the dominant brands and they are a lot stronger than U.S. beers.

  • Coles
  • Chapters
  • Indigo

doughnut shops
Tim Horton's - named after the hockey player who started the chain - are common everywhere.

Cuba vacations
Trips to Cuba are freely advertized and Cuban cigars are readily available.

health care
Nobody worries about losing a life's savings or a home because of illness - health care is universal.

weather conversations
Virutally any conversation will inevitably include a brief discussion of the weather - it is such a dominant force in Canadians' lives.

potato chips
They come in flavours such as salt and vinegar, ketchup, and "all dressed" (a collection of just about all possible seasonings - the person who suggested this one likened it to a "suicide slush" in the States).

the cottage (Central Ontario)
Every weekend during the summer, southern Ontarians go in droves from Toronto and its environs to their second homes (ranging from campers to great big houses with all the amenities) in the "cottage country" of Muskoka and the Haliburton Highlands.

the camp (Northern Ontario)
Northern Ontario's version of the cottage.

cottage country (winter style)
Every weekend during the winter, the cottage country people go back to cottage country to go snowmobiling. Gas stations are just as likely to be filling snowmobiles as cars or trucks.

the chalet (Quebec)
Every weekend during the summer, southern Quebeckers go in droves from Montreal and its environs to their cottage country (usually the Laurentians; the Eastern Townships; Burlington, Vermont; Lake Champlain, New York; or Plattsburgh, New York).

the cabin (British Columbia, Newfoundland & Labrador)
"The cabin" is where British Columbians head to on the weekends, not the cottage. Canadian author Charles Gordon wrote an entire book on this phenomenon - it's all the same place but called differently in different parts of the country. "The cottage", "the lake", etc. but in B.C., it's only "the cabin".

block heaters
Cars have electrical plugs sticking out from under the hoods to prevent engines from freezing when it's -40!

Goods and Services Tax
Just about everything is subject to the national 5% GST, except in some provinces where the provincial and GST taxes have been combined to form the HST - Harmonized Sales Tax.

British spelling
Canadians tend to write about "colour," "cheques," "theatres," and so forth. Most Canadians use the American "-ize" rather than the British "-ise" verb ending, however.

Most Canadians will tell you that this is how the last letter of the alphabet is pronounced, not zee.

Bloody Caesar
It's just like a Bloody Mary, except it's made with Clamato juice instead of plain tomato juice.

Canadians often end sentences with "eh" and many studies have looked into this phenomenon. It is generally agreed that Canadians do it because they are polite. The "eh" is an invitation for the listener to participate in the conversation opposed to the speaker simply stating fact after fact.

Newfoundlanders have many colloquialisms but this one, I'm told, is their version of "eh". Actually a contraction of "boy", it appears quite regularly in speech and is most commonly known from the sea shanty "I's the b'y that builds the boat, I's the b'y that sails her...."

Winnie the Pooh
In August, 1914, Lieutenant Harry Colebourn, a Veterinary Officer with the 34th Fort Garry Horse of Manitoba, was travelling by train from his home in Winnipeg to enroll in the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps in Valcartier, Quebec.

Travelling by Canadian Pacific Railway, he had to change trains at White River Bend in Ontario, where he noticed a man further along the station platform with an American black bear cub tied to the arm of the bench on which he was seated.

He struck up a conversation and, learning that the man was a trapper who had shot and killed the cub's mother, Colebourn offered him $20 for the young bear -- the trapper eagerly accepted the offer and the cub was taken to Quebec, where she became the mascot of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade.

In December 1914,the 2nd Brigade was preparing to move to France in great secrecy. Colebourn decided it was unsafe to take her into battle; so, while passing through London on the way to France on December 9th, 1914, he visited London Zoo and asked them to care for the cub until his return, which he optimistically anticipated would be no longer than two weeks.

Of course, 'that war to end all wars' was not to end so quickly. It was not until 1918 that Colebourn returned safely to London. Realising that the bear, now known affectionately by her keepers and visitors as Winnie, was happy and content in her new home, he decided to leave her there.

See also
Casselman's Canadian Words - a collection of books taking a look at all of the unique Canadianisms spoken everywhere.

Copyright Craig I.W. Marlatt