Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Take Off You Hoser, Eh?

Since I'm going to be in Canada for four weeks on business, I thought I'd mention some things I've discovered about this great country to our North, since the last time I'd been to Canada was in 1991.

Many of the things I'm finding here remind me of when I live in England, but there still are some difference in our language that I find amusing.

General Canadian Observations:

People end sentences with "eh," eh?
eh? is used to confirm the attention or continued of the listener and to invite a supportive noise. It’s like saying, “ya think?” or “you know?”

Read the Label
Everything is labeled in English and French, is it not? N'est pas?

Hockey, Hockey and more Hockey
There's hockey stuff and talk everywhere. I bet if someone walked around wearing goalie pads, a helmet and just about everything but the skates, almost nobody would give them a second look.

The homeless guy who comes out around 4:00 PM every day near my customer’s office and stands in the same spot with the sign hanging around his neck is a whole different story. Side note: while I was here in Ontario, the "Sens" (Senators) were playing against the Ducks in Anaheim for the Stanley Cup.

“The States”
Canadians hate referring to the USA as "America," because Canadians are just as much North Americans as Americans are. This did make me say, “Duh?!?”, eh?

The restroom or bathroom. Makes more sense to call it washroom, eh?

On Food and Beverages:

Brown Bread
This means whole wheat bread. At breakfast, they asked me if I wanted brown bread instead whole wheat toast. I guess "brown toast" is a lot more Canadian, eh?

Donut holes from a place called Tim Horton’s. He was a famous Canadian Hockey player who founded the chain. They are pretty darn good, because you get a variety of flavours (Canadians spell the European way as well).

Double Double
Said when ordering a coffee, meaning two creams and two sugars. Most likely heard at a Timmie's, eh?

Beer Store
Where you buy beer in Ontario.

Bloody Caesar
Just like a Bloody Mary, except it's made with Clamato juice instead of plain tomato juice. I saw that at the Walmart, and my customers talked about it, eh?

On Money:

There are $1 and $2 coins.
The paper currency is in different colors, and it's pretty, too, not like our US money. Loonie The Canadian $1 coin has a loon (the bird) on the back. The don’t have the paper $1 anymore. Toonie The $2 coin. This replaced the paper version as well. Gold in the middle, with a silver ring around the outside. The Queen is on one side, and a polar bear is on the other. No comment, eh?

The Goods and Services Tax we all hear about. It’s the 7% tax that goes on top of just about every purchase (in addition to the provincial sales taxes). They also called it the "Grab and Steal Tax" or the "Gouge and Screw Tax”.

On Travel and Distance:

Everything is measured in metric.
No, Tim. The temperature does not drop fifty degrees when you cross the border, and the speed limit doesn't double. But geez did I struggle to find the speed limit sign and I finally found it: 100 KM. I'm getting my hair cut tonight after work, so I have to make sure I am clear about "a little off the top" since I don't have much to spare.

Kilometer, or kilometer per hour. Used in the sentence, "Better slow down there, Liam, the limit's 90 klicks here." People give distances in times, not miles. Central Canada Refers to southern Ontario, actually 1300 miles east of the “centre” of Canada. (But in their minds...)

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