How to speak like a canadian

Making Small Talk in Canada

Our how-to speak like a Canadian guide begins with small talk. So, if you just want to talk about the weather, small chat, nothing big, then here are some of the words and phrases you can expect to hear. 

"How’s she bootin’er?"  

Wait, what? What could this mean? It is just the Canadian slang for, “How is it going?” This phrase is used a lot around Canada, so do not worry when someone asks this question, they just want to know how you are.

making small talk in Canada

If you ever ask your Canadian friends if they want to go out with you for lunch and they say “for sure”, it means definitely.

One word you will probably hear everywhere in Canada is “eh”. This word can be used for:

  • Huh?
  • You know; and
  • To ask for someone to repeat something

Yes “eh” means all that.

You will not be surprised to hear that “I’m sorry” makes this list. Yes Canadians are known for apologizing… a lot.

They will even apologize even if someone bumps into them. Since Canadians are known to be some of the most polite people around, make sure you are ready to accept that “I’m sorry” may become part of your vocabulary in Canada.

Asking for Directions

asking for directions

Next up on our how to speak like a Canadian guide, we move on directions. We all know how difficult it can be when you move to a new country and don’t know your way around yet. You will probably have to ask for directions.

For example, if you ask where the garage is because you need gas, a Canadian would say something like this to you,

“The gas bar is about 2 clicks, and 5 streets up by the Firehall”. 

Canadians talk about a garage as either a gas bar or a gas station. And clicks? Those are what we called kilometers. So 2 clicks are 2 kilometers and a Firehall is a fire station.   

If you ever need to park your car, then the parkade may be just the place. 

Talking About Drinks

So when you stay in Canada of course you are going to have to order out at some time.

How to Order Coffee in Canada

Barista making coffee

Canadians love their coffee, specifically one brand, in particular, Tim Horton, affectionately called Timmies by Canadians.

When you either order in the drive-through or go into the store you will be expected to know what you want when you get to the front of the lineup (queue). 

Do not cut the line, unless you want some really angry Canadians staring you down. There is nothing worse to a Canadian than bad manners and line jumping is definitely up there with yelling and public nudity. 

Our how-to speak like a Canadian guide will help you order coffee like a pro, here are some simple tips you can use.

Tea Spoons of Sugar Milk Sachets Coffee Order
1 1 Regular
2 2 Double double
3 3 Triple triple
4 4 Four by four

Just some other tips to look out for:

  • Say if you want milk or cream in your drink otherwise, you will get cream by default.
  • The bill is actually the check-in Canada.
  • If you are really messy as an eater, you can ask for a serviette (napkin).
  • Want to go to the bathroom/toilet before you leave? Then you can ask where the washroom is.
  • Whitener means creamer, which is used in both coffee and tea.
  • Homo milk – or homogenized milk is milk that has 3.8% fat.
  • If you do order anything with bread, know that brown bread actually means whole-wheat bread.
  • All dressed can mean two things. It is either a type of potato chip or it could be a hamburger or hotdog with all the topping (cheese, sauces, onion rings, gherkins).

Buying Beers

buying beers in Canada

When a Canadian says “come over to my house and let’s relax on the chesterfield (sofa/couch) with a couple of mickies (beers)”, do not be surprised. 

Canadians love their beer and you could be asked to go out and buy a two-four. When you buy a case of beer they come in packs of 24. So the name became two-four. Canadians can be very literal.

PS, never ask people for a mickey outside of Canada, because that can refer to roofies, and no one needs that.

Canadian Money

Canadian loony

Obviously, when you visit Canada you have to know about change. So, if someone walks up to you and asks “do you have change for a loony?” No, they are not saying they are mad. A loony is the CAD$1 coin used by Canadians. 

The Loony coin actually has a bird printed on it called a Loon, which is why the coin was called a Loony.

Not surprisingly a C$2 coin is called a Toony.

Typical Canadian Food

traditional Canadian dish poutine

So, you want to get a taste of Canada while you are there. Well, there is no better way than to sample the local food. But first, you have to know about them. Here is a list of some tasty foods you can order. 

  • Donair is a pita bread with awesome spiced meat and cream.
  • Beavertail, don’t worry it’s not a real one. This is a tasty fried pastry soaked in maple syrup. Plus, you can add other toppings to it too!
  • Poutine, no day is complete without chips, gravy, and cheese curd. It is way tastier than it sounds and most Canadians love it. There are even festivals during the year to find the tastiest poutine treats.
  • Ketchup chips. No, we are not joking. Canadians can be surprising too.
  • A butter tart is a bit like a pecan pie but with a Canadian twist.
  • Nanaimo bar is a brownie covered in icing sugar and it is super yummy.
  • Tourtière is a Canadian meat pie that was originally made in Quebec but can now be found around Canada.
  • KD is a macaroni and cheese, nicknamed after the popular brand Kraft Dinner. Did you know that Canada accounts for nearly 1.7 million KD meals a week?

Drawing Money

drawing money from ATM

To end our how to speak like a Canadian guide we talk about how to draw out cash.

So you want to draw some money out of the ATM? Well, some Canadians do use the word ATM the other half use ABM, as in Automatic Banking Machine. So depending on where you are in Canada, you can use both phrases just to make sure.

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