11 Phrases Only Canadians Will Understand

Put On Your Toque, Grab A Double Double And Giv'er

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We have some pretty unique Canadian phrases and colloquialisms here in Canuck territory. Someone born and raised in Canada may find these words as commonplace as “apple” or “house”. But to non-Canadians, these phrases can be downright confusing. 

Here are some popular Canadian words and phrases that are clear as mud to foreigners. 

1. The Bush

Definition: An area of dense forest that’s largely undeveloped and uninhabited.

“We’re headed to the bush this weekend.”

Related Phrases: 

Bushed – someone who is uncivilized or eccentric from being isolated too long in the wilderness.
Bush Party – an outdoor party, usually in the forest.

2. Peameal Bacon

Definition: Brined pork loin coated in cornmeal and sliced thickly. 

Peameal shouldn’t be confused with Canadian-style bacon, Canadian bacon and back bacon. These terms refer to bacon that uses the same cut of meat as peameal but they’re smoked, not wet-cured in brine. Canadian bacon also looks more like ham than peameal bacon. 

Peameal is usually enjoyed on eggs Benedict or on a kaiser roll, which is the signature dish of St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. 

“Do you think the dining cart sells peameal on a bun?”


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3. Pop

Definition: A flavoured carbonated beverage, known as soda in other parts of the world. 

To make things a bit more confusing, in Montreal they say “soft drink”, not “pop”. 

“Someone buy me a pop, I’m so thirsty.”

4. KD

Definition: Otherwise known as Kraft Dinner, KD is the Canadian name for American Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. 

Canadians eat 55% more Kraft Macaroni & Cheese/KD than Americans. 

“My mom’s making KD for dinner!”


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5. Pencil Crayons

Definition: Colouring pencils often used by children and artists. 

They’re just called “coloured pencils” everywhere else – seriously!

“We should have brought pencil crayons and a colouring book to keep us busy.”

6. Double Double

Definition: A coffee with two creams and two sugars. Abbreviation: DD

Canadians usually get their double doubles from Timmies (slang for Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons). 

“Grab me a double double, will ya?”

Related Phrases: 

Double Double with Milk – A coffee with two milks and two sugars. Abbreviation: DDM
Triple Triple – A coffee with three milks and three sugars. Abbreviation: TT

7. Mickey

Definition: No, not the mouse. In Canada, a mickey is a 375 ml bottle of booze. A Texas mickey is another phrase you may hear in the great white north but it refers to a 3 L bottle.

“I picked up a mickey of vodka for the party tonight.”

8. Caesar

Definition: Canada’s National Cocktail!

It’s kind of like a Bloody Mary, but better. Caesars are made from Clamato Juice (a tomato and clam juice beverage), vodka, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and have a celery salt rim. They are usually garnished with celery but there are tons of creative ways to dress them up. 

Rumor has it that Caesars are also a great hangover cure. 

“Ugh, I had a few too many last night. I could really go for a Ceasar. Hair of the dog, you know?”


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RELATED: Try one of these tasty Caesar garnishes …

9. Two-Four

Definition: A case that contains 24 bottles or cans of beer

“Are we able to bring a two-four onboard?”

Related Phrases: 

May Two-Four – A holiday weekend that honors Queen Victoria’s birthday on May 24. May Two-Four is a double entendre that refers to the date and the fact that cases of beer are especially popular on this weekend. 

10. Loonies/Toonies

Definition: One & two dollar coins. The one dollar coin is gold with a loon on it (hence, loonie). A toonie (sometimes spelled twonie or twoonie) is a two dollar coin.

“I need change for the carwash. Do you have any loonies or toonies?”

11. Toque

Definition: A knitted cap that Americans would call a beanie. Also spelled tuque.

“You’re going to Jasper? Did you pack a toque and mitts?”

BONUS: Giv’er/Given’er

Definition: To give something all that you’ve got or go really really fast. These Canadian phrases became especially popular after the movie Fubar was released. 

“Look at that car. He’s really given’er.”