• OnTopic Canada

Canadian Colloquialism

Updated: Jul 11, 2021

In Celebration of Canada Day

Today, Canada spans 9,984,670 km 2 (3,855,100 sq mi) and hosts a population of nearly 40 million people. It started out as a colony and later divided into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, but before this occurred, Canada unified with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. This 1867 event of Confederation is celebrated on July 1st of each year and usually involves spectacular displays of fireworks and theme colors.

There are several names that Canada was almost given, including Tupona, which is an acrostic name formed by using the first letters of the title “The United Provinces of North America.”

Related Article: A complete list on what Canada was almost named.

Much like other countries, Canada is often misunderstood by outsiders and is sometimes unfairly stereotyped. To help “set the record straight” on various Canadian misconceptions, a popular beer company created a patriotic 60-second commercial called "I Am Canadian." The commercial went viral and helped to define many aspects of Canada's modern pop culture.

Canada's two official languages are English and French but it's worthy to note that even those mastering the languages might find the below list helpful when interpreting certain Canadian phrases.

1. Sorry

This is the most often-used word by Canadians. Not to be confused with the word "apology," which means to “seek pardon” such as in the trial defence of Socrates, the Canadian use of sorry is to express remorse or empathy.

2. Canuck

This is a nickname used in place of calling someone “Canadian.” Canuck was also adopted as the name of a hockey team from Vancouver, British Columbia.

3. Homo Milk

This type of milk is classified as high in fat content (3.25%) and is simply a shorter name for “homogenized milk.”

4. Mickey

Disney lovers may affectionately think of Mickey Mouse when hearing this name. However, in Canadian terms a mickey refers to a small bottle of liquor, such as whisky.

5. Runners

In the larger sense, this term refers to participants of a foot race but Canadians also use the word when talking about their running shoes, sneakers or tennis shoes.

6. Mounties

Mounties is a regional term used for the Royal Canadian Mounted Polices (RCMP). The name conveys the RCMP's history of carrying out their police duties while mounted on the backs of horses.


This term is based on the root word of Yacht, as in sailboat. Yahtzee! is the name a popular board game invented in Canada. The game was reputedly devised by a Canadian couple and used to entertain guests aboard their yacht. The board game was first called "Yacht Game" but was later updated when it's license fell under a corporate brand.

7. Two-four

Two, four, six, eight – who do we appreciate? For some Canadians, the answer is beer! More specifically, it is a case containing twenty-four cans of beer. Party-goers can't go wrong when bringing a two-four along to a get-together.

If you have an additional Canadian Colloquialism that you would like added to the above list, email OnTopic today and we will gladly include your suggestion in our next round of updates!

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