English to English

English to English: Canada Day edition

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- Ruth Spencer:

Today, the second largest country in the world, also known as America’s Hat and the UK’s commonwealth cousin, turns 146 years old.

Canada shares so much with Brits (the Queen, universal healthcare, the spelling of “colour”) and Americans (the longest international border in the world, Howie Mandel) – that its own identity is often overlooked or misunderstood.

And so ladies and gentlemen, as the resident Canadian at the GuardianUS presiding over this Tumblr on Canada Day 2013, allow me to enlighten you…

Presenting: a glossary of Canadian terms

(and a few facts for good measure)

Loonie: Possibly the cutest name for currency in history, the loonie is the Canadian one dollar coin.

Toonie: Why have just one cute coin when you could have two? The toonie is our two dollar, gold and silver coin. #canadianlogic

Tuque: A tuque is a hat. A warm winter hat.

Mickey: A flask-sized bottle of hard liquor

Climax, Conception Bay, Snowflake, Moonbeam, Likely, Pooh Lake, Ripples, Paradise, Punkeydoodles Corners, Eyebrow, Elbow, Dildo, Happy Adventure, Love, Snafu Creek, Garden of Eden and Brilliant: Just a few of the (amazing) names of Canadian cities.

Canadian Tuxedo: Probably most famously worn by two Americans, a head-to-toe denim outfit is often called a “Canadian tuxedo”. 

FACT: Canada contains 9% of the world’s renewable water supply.

Alert: the nothernmost permanent settlement in the world (located in Nunavut).

Two-Four: Case of 24 bottles/cans of beer.

Washroom: Our decidedly inoffensive term for the bathroom, toilet or loo.

Sugaring off: Get your minds out of the gutter. Sugaring off is a wholesome, wintertime family activity that takes place in a sugar shack (or “cabane a sucre” if you’re in Quebec), where maple syrup is processed. The main event at the sugar shack is the pouring of maple syrup over snow and using a popsicle stick to twist it around into hard, sugary, maple candy.

It is cold: North America’s lowest recorded temperature was -81.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-63 C) at Snag, Yukon Territory, on February 3, 1947.