Things Canadian Say: Canadian Slang You Need to Know

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Samir Badawy

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09 April, 2024

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5 mins read

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Canada is full of culture. Its rich mix of cultures results in unique slang and many interesting proverbs. If you’d like to learn a bit about Canadian slang and what Canadians say, this guide will help you find some of the most common Canadian slang words. So, if you’re new to the country, here are some of the top Canadian slang words you need to know so that you’ll blend right in with the locals!


Origins of Canadian Slang Words

Before discussing Canadian slang words, let’s examine their origins. Canadian slang has developed over centuries due to its European settlers, most notably British and French, Native languages, and Canada’s American neighbours south of the country.

To this day, Canada has a rich mix of cultures, which continuously adds to its linguistic diversity. Many factors lead to Canada being an attractive destination for immigrants. First, Canada is an exciting country for students to study in. It enjoys some of the highest living standards, one of the best education systems, friendly people, and excellent healthcare.

In addition, the country is also full of post-graduation work opportunities, further attracting students and immigrants, who make up 20% of the Canadian population. This and its geographical diversity make it offer something for everyone. As a result of the mix of cultures and the constant influx of immigrants, Canadian slang is unique and always developing.


Canadian Slang Words

Food and Drink

Canada has an exciting food and drink scene with popular dishes thanks to its unique creations, many resulting from its excellent cultural blend. In this section, we’ll explore some Canadian slang and things Canadians say related to food and beverages.


Tim Hortons: Timmie’s, TWO TWO, and Timmie’s Run

Tim Hortons is a local and extremely trendy Canadian coffee chain, so much so that people have created many Tim Hortons-related slang terms. For starters, Canadians refer to Tim Hortons as "Timmies," so it has become the chain’s unofficial name.

When visiting your local Timmies, you'll find that a popular order there is the “Two Two," a drip coffee with two creams and two sugars, so make sure you have that memorised whenever you visit. Oh, and if you’re working and studying with a group of friends and collecting Timmie's orders for your friends or co-workers, then you’re going for a “Timmie’s Run," which refers to collecting your friends' or co-workers’ Timmie's orders.


When we say “pop,” we’re not referring to the music genre but rather the Canadian version of a soda drink. The word soda is used in the US, while the terms “fizzy drink” or “pop are” used in Canada, the UK, and Ireland.


KD is a local mac and cheese brand that stands for “Kraft Dinner.” It is so popular that sometimes mac and cheese is also referred to as “KD.”

Loonie and Toonie

These refer to one and two Canadian dollars. The name “Loonie” comes from the loon, a type of bird featured on the one-dollar coin. A “toonie” is simply two loonies.

Beaver Tail and Poutine

There is no slang involved in these terms, but they are iconic local terms. "Beaver Tails” are Canadian pastries dusted with cinnamon and sugar. “Poutine,” on the other hand, is fries topped with gravy and cheese curds.

Places and Things

Canadian slang for places and things also differs from that of their neighbours in the USA and many other English-speaking countries. This is why we have compiled some common names for places and things.



Canadians do not typically use the term bathroom but use the term washroom instead.

Parkade or Parking stall

"Parkade” is the Canadian word for multi-storey parking or a parking garage with various floors. Another lesser-used alternative in Canada is the “parking stall.”

The Six: Toronto

Toronto is nicknamed “The Six," and this is often associated with the six municipalities that later formed Toronto.

The Peg: Winnipeg

“The Peg” is another fun nickname for the city of Winnipeg, which is Mannitoba’s capital.


“Clicks” is a fun spin around kilometres and is often used as a slang term to refer to that.


“Boonies” are rural areas outside the city or town. In Canada, many may reside outside the city, so for instance, you may visit someone in the Boonies, which can refer to the woods or countryside or anywhere else outside the city centre.

“Boonies” may not always refer to isolated areas, as many of these areas have a large population but are just outside the city centre.


“Firehall” is the Canadian term for a fire station.

Clothing and Weather

We all know how cold the Canadian weather can get, which is why Canadians have developed many weather-related slang words and adopted their own winter garments. The famous "Toque” will be further discussed among the Canadian garments. Some Canadian slang has also been developed from funny incidents, as you will later see in the “Canadian Tuxedo” section.



A “toque” is a commonly used garment and is a wool hat with a pompom at the top. Toques may also be known as beanies elsewhere. The pompom on top is typically associated with the Canadian toque. The word toque is borrowed from the French word “tuque.”

Canadian Tuxedo

Wearing a “Canadian tuxedo” means wearing denim on the top and bottom. The term originated in 1951, after singer Bing Crosby was denied entry into a hotel in Vancouver after wearing a denim jacket and pants. After the incident, Levi Strauss & Co. capitalised on the event and created a custom denim tuxedo jacket for the singer.


“Runners” is the Canadian term for athletic shoes, while others refer to them as sneakers.


“Knapsack” is the term used for backpack in Canada; even though you may hear backpack, the term knapsack is the most commonly used term for backpack in Canada.

People and Expressions

Canadians are not just friendly and warm but also humorous, and they have adopted fun terms such as “Kerfuffle” and “Gong Show” to describe disastrous yet humorous situations. This portion will also include other expressions related to people, as well as nicknames for activities, among other Canadian slang words and things Canadians say.



Although “kerfuffle” sounds fun, it does not refer to amusing situations, as it most commonly refers to a mess, scandal, or fuss. A kerfuffle is typically annoying rather than something serious.

Gong Show

In Canada, a “gong show” often refers to a disastrous event, which is usually humorous.


A “mountie” is an officer of the Royal Canadian Mountain Police who mounts horses. You'll usually spot them at special events. They are known for their distinct uniform. They often have their iconic Red Serge uniform, which they wear on special occasions and ceremonies. For everyday work, they wear their operational uniform.


You must have heard how Canadian winters can get cold, which is why many people, most notably retirees, often go to warmer spots during the winter. People who enjoy going to warmer spots during the Canadian winter are commonly referred to as “snowbirds” by Canadians.


“Give'er” is a term of encouragement meaning “give it your best” or “give it your all.”


Short for "buddy.” This is an endearing term that is often used among friends.


The activity of sliding over snow and ice while sitting on a “toboggan.”

Pencil Crayons

“Pencil crayons” are the typical term for coloured pencils in Canada. In other English-speaking countries, the term “coloured pencils” is used.

So there you have it. These were some fun and useful Canadian slang words that will surely help you get right into the culture and help you blend in. You can also check out our helpful guides, including Australian Slang Words Students Must Know and British Slang Words Every Student Should Know.


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Frequently Asked Questions

How do Canadians say Z?

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Canadians say “Zed” to refer to the letter Z, which is referred to as “Zee” in the USA.

How do Canadians spell “Color”?

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In Canadian English, the word “Color” is spelled "colour," similar to the British spelling.

Do Canadians say “Eh”?

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This is often a point of debate; Canadians are often credited with using "Eh?" at the end of a sentence, which turns a sentence into a question form. Despite the fact that "eh" is used by many Canadians, it is not necessarily used by all Canadians.