How to Spot a Canadian

Tracking down Canadians one toque at a time.

About this Site...

Canadians are a tricky people to distinguish. They are often able to blend into a society and appear to be American, British, French or any other number of nationalities. This site will provide you with some tips and tricks to help you recognize a Canadian no matter where you are.


This site is for entertainment purposes only. "How to Spot a Canadian" is filled with humour, satire, hyperbole, parody and sarcasm. All statements here should be taken with a grain of salt or a bottle of maple syrup, whatever the case may be.

Their Slang is More Cute and Quirky than Insulting or Cool

If someone told you that they were going to get off of their chesterfield, put on their toque and long johns, hop on their Ski-doo, go about ten clicks to Timmies for a double-double on their way to play some shinny before stopping for a two-four on the way home, you'd probably be very confused.

If you're not confused, you are probably a Canadian yourself (or have at least done some in-depth study on their people.)

Most of that sentence was filled with Canadian slang. We'll go over what the sentence means now.

Chesterfield: A couch or a sofa
Toque: A knitted wool hat worn on cold days (Which days are cold days? All of them!)
Long johns: Long underwear or thermal underwear
Ski-doo: A popular brand of snowmobile that has become the standard name for all snowmobiles in Canada
Ten clicks: Ten kilometres
Timmies: Tim Hortons, a coffee and doughnut chain started by a hockey player
Double-double: A coffee with two creams and two sugars
Shinny: An unstructured game of hockey played with few rules and less equipment
Two-Four: A case of beer (24 beers in a case.)

Canadian slang is based upon things that Canadians like (beer, hockey, and staying warm.) It isn't meant to be "cool" or to impress anyone or to insult anyone. While most American slang is used to make the person saying it look better in some way, Canadians are far too polite for that.

They just want a quicker way to say things. Canadians need to speak as little as possible because their mouths could freeze during the harsh Canadian winters. They can't risk saying "wool knitted hat" instead of "toque" because they may not have time to get the whole phrase out before the inevitable mouth freeze.

Anyone using this Canadian terminology correctly is likely a Canadian. If they pepper their speech with frequent usage of the word "Eh" at the ends of sentences, they are definitely Canadian. Treat them with all of the caution you would use towards any Canadian. Offer to watch hockey with them. That will usually calm the situation.

Canadians also have different words for many things that Americans find common. Canadians say "pop" instead of "soda," "chocolate bar" instead of "candy bar," "garbage" instead of "trash" and "universal health care" instead of "you're screwed, poor sick people!"

What an interesting culture!


  1. Anonymous said...

    wow, your site is funny, I am a Canadian,

    I will tell you how to spot an American in July! They are usually the ones with skis attached to the hoods of their vehicles looking for the snow, and very confused as to why its plus 30 degrees Celsius. Let me tell all of you americans somthing, we don't all live in igloos.

  2. Jacob said...

    Haha yeah, we almost never say "eh" all the time either. =)

  3. Anonymous said...

    Wait a minute, doesn't everybody say Ski-doo for snowmobile? Hasn't the brand become the item - see also kleenex, q-tip, jacuzzi and for the francophones, frigidaire?

  4. Anonymous said...

    That was a deadly breakdown of some of our slang. But I think you forgot to throw in that just because we are polite doesn't mean we won't hesitate to drop the gloves and jersey ya if you call us a Hoser eh.

  5. Inuyoukai-san said...
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  6. Inuyoukai-san said...

    This is hilarious~!!! XD This may not represent the country as a whole but I'm French and English Canadian, my mom is a qubecoise while my dad is an anglo-quebecer. I grew up with a lot of different slangs for some words that I use in English -resulting in the weirdest looks ever. I'm just grateful that 'toque' is slang in both languages! <3

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