Want to travel to Canada? These are some things you should know about us before you go. Only in Canada details our obsessions with things like hockey, doughnuts snow and more. Canadian things include the Canadian stuff we love to eat and drink and that we can’t get when we are travelling. These are all the things you should know about Canada and Canadian “things” before you go.
I think every Canadian has made the pilgrimage to Banff and Lake Louise to hang out in the Rockies so don’t forget to plan your trip to Banff and spend some time hiking in the mountains.
We love our farmer’s markets from London Ontario’s Farmer’s and Artisans Market to Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market so food and drink are usually at the top of our to-do lists. We appreciate the snow when we are inside but it does get a bit unbearable when you hit May and it’s still snowing.
So get your twofer or double/double and settle in for a quick read on our Canadian quirks and trivia.
Oh and if you want to read some really cool facts about Canada that even I didn’t know as a Canadian check out 10 Cool Facts about Canada by Christina of travel2next
Only in Canada or Canadian “stuff”
Food & Drink
- If you hear us say we are going to Timmies know that we go to Tim’s or Timmies for coffee and we order a double-double (it’s a two cream two sugar coffee). Canadian culture is all about donuts and they have to be TimHorton’s.
- A two-four is a 24 pack of beer
- A mickey is a small bottle of liquor, usually 13 ounces (375 millilitres).
- A twenty-Sixer or twixer is a bottle of alcohol-containing 750 millilitres (just over 25 ounces).
- A forty-Pounder is a bottle of alcohol-containing 40 ounces (1.14 litres). 60 per cent
- Freezies are frozen tubes of flavoured sugar or fruit juice blended with water.
- Ketchup flavoured chips are a real thing
- Lays Swiss Chalet Chips – Swiss Chalet’s secret-recipe sauce has been available since 1954 when the restaurant first opened its doors and has developed a “cult-like following” among Canadians.
- All-Dressed are a variety of potato chips with a combination of salt & vinegar, ketchup, barbecue, sour cream, onion and other mystery seasonings.
- Poutine is a Quebec dish of French fries covered with cheese curds and gravy, said cheese curds must be squeaky
- Smarties and Coffee Crisp are chocolate bars and chocolate candy only found in Canada not the USA
- Butter Tarts a small, pecan-pie-like tart that has become a national treasure, only in Canada
- Nanaimo bar are multilayer cookie bars with a crunchy biscuit base of coconut and almonds a second layer of custard cream and chocolate icing on top.
- Homo Milk, milk with 3.25% milkfat. This is not to be confused with Canadian “whole milk,” which is milk that separates when left sitting
- Whitener is a powder or liquid used to whiten tea or coffee, it is not a dairy product.
- Tourtiere is a French Canadian meat pie that includes pork, beef, game and is traditionally served in Quebec for Christmas réveillon and New Year’s Eve
- Milk comes in a bag in fact 3 bags in another bag in the grocery store
Canadianisms – our Canadian Culture
- A loonie is a $1 dollar coin
- A toonie is a $2 dollar coin
- Given’r as in “I was given’r down the 401” which means to put in an enormous amount of effort to drive down the highway. The 401 is the main highway through Ontario
- ‘for sure’ is our way of saying definitely
- Yes we say zed not zee
- Hydro is electricity
- We measure distance in time, not kilometres; for example, a trip to Toronto from my hometown London is about 2.5 hours not 168 kilometres.
- Clicks equal kilometres
- We spell like the English so theater is theatre, kilometers is kilometres
- Turfed out, is when someone is evicted from their home, thrown out of a bar, or when you throw something away.
- Pogey is Employment Insurance if you lose your job you collect pogey.
- Toque is a knitted cap/hat worn all year round if need be
- Midget is a level of amateur sports for players usually aged 16-17″
- Runners, also known as trainers sneakers or tennis shoes in other countries.
- Pencil Crayon these are actually coloured pencils used for colouring.
- Hooped, if something is hooped it means it is totally screwed up and cannot be fixed.
Only in Canada eh! Canadian culture inventions
- An early form of peanut butter was first patented by Marcellus Gilmore Edson in 1884 for people who had difficulty chewing and needed a high protein food supplement.
- Montreal’s Canadian Lady Corset Company first licensed the trademark “Wonder-bra” in 1939 and then renamed the company Wonderbra in 1961.
- Instant mashed potatoes were invented by Edward Asselbergs in 1962.
- Scott Abbott and Chris Haney invented Trivial Pursuit in 1979 when they couldn’t find all their Scrabble tiles.
- The Yukon Gold potato was developed by Gary .R. Johnston in 1966, in Canadian terms it is the best for fries and potato chips. See All Dressed and Ketchup chips above.
- The snowblower was invented by Arthur Sicard in 1927. A godsend to many Canadians but it really wasn’t available for home use until the 1980s.
- Lacrosse was developed and rules created by William George Beers around 1860.
- Basketball was invented by James Naismith in 1891.
- Ice Hockey was invented in 19th Century Canada and today is known as the ‘Canadian Game’.
- The egg carton was invented by newspaper editor Joseph Coyle of Smithers, British Columbia in 1911 as a way to recycle old newspapers.
- The Walkie-Talkie was invented by Don Hings he called it the “packset” this was in 1937. When Canada joined in on WWII, he went to Ottawa to develop the device for military use.
- Toronto scientists Frederick Banting, Charles Best and James Collip discovered Insulin and learned how it could treat diabetes.
- The Electric Wheelchair engineer George Klein made the world more accessible with a motorized wheelchair that he developed in 1952.
- Harry Wasylyk of Manitoba and Larry Hansen of Ontario invented the first plastic garbage bag for commercial use in 1950.
You should know that us Canadians are obsessed with doughnuts, in particular, Tim Horton’s doughnuts they are our pride and joy and each Province has a favourite. We also celebrate International Donut Day in June on the first Friday. Have a read of this awesome piece by Janine of Fill My Passport as she details the joy of doughnuts and all our Provincial favourites it will make your trip to Canada so much sweeter.
If you are planning on visiting Toronto then you should also know it’ a great place to take the kids, there is so much to see and do, but take a leaf out of Alicia’s travel book and visit Toronto with a CityPASS this allows you access to places like Casa Loma, the ROM, the CN Tower and a whole lot more.
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