rusty_armour (rusty_armour) wrote,

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A Canadian Glossary -- Part One

For a long time, I'd been toying with the idea of putting together a glossary for all the Canadianisms I've tossed into In the Family Way. Some of you (the Canucks in particular) are probably wondering why a glossary is necessary. I wondered if it was absolutely necessary myself until a British friend asked me what a hydro field was. I mean, there are obviously hydro fields in the UK, but they're referred to by a different name, which is the case with a number of words in this glossary, like eavestrough. I'm also hoping this glossary will be useful to anyone who comes across an unfamiliar term, expression, place name or concept.

I've gone through all the current installments of my story and have looked for any words or phrases that might confuse someone who isn't from Canada. Of course, you're more than welcome to read the glossary on its own -- separately from the fic itself. The entries have been arranged alphabetically, so if you're looking for a specific word or phrase this should make your search a little easier.

I'll continue adding entries to the glossary as I update the story. If you come across any words or phrases that haven't been covered, or an entry that is incorrect, please let me know.

Andrew won’t be taking French until September As French is one of Canada's two official languages, most English language school boards include French classes as part of their curriculum. From what I could tell based on my quick Internet search, most English-speaking students still begin taking French in grade four. In many provinces, students are required to take French from at least grade four to grade eight. French is also offered at the high school level and beyond.

basement Not a Canadian concept, but a common feature in many Scarborough homes. The classic Scarborough basement usually has wood panelling or something equally tacky, like mirrored walls. As Wayne's World was at least partially based on Mike Myers' experiences growing up in Scarborough, I'm pretty sure the basement where Wayne and Garth broadcast their cable access show is actually based on a Scarborough basement.

beer Canadians take their beer very seriously, which isn't surprising considering that the brewing industry generates almost $14 billion to the Canadian economy and 12% of the GDP produced by the whole domestic food manufacturing industry. European settlers first introduced beer to Canada in the seventeenth century. As refrigeration had yet to be developed, they found that Canada had an ideal climate for manufacturing beer. Jean Talon founded the first commercial brewery in Quebec City in 1668. About a century later, a number of breweries had developed. John Molson founded his brewery in Montreal in 1786, and Alexander Keith began his company in Halifax in 1820. Both Thomas Carling and John Kinder Labatt founded their breweries in London, Ontario in 1840 and 1847 respectively. In 1891 Eugene O'Keefe started his brewing company in Toronto. Prohibition left few brewers in Canada, but there was a revival in the late twentieth century and microbreweries have gained in success and popularity.

(Sources: Wikipedia and the Brewers Association of Canada)

For more information on Canada and beer, I strongly recommend reading facetofcathy's excellent meta (and, in her own words, "not so humble opinion") Let's get John and Rodney drunk, which debunks the Rodney and his Molson's trope.

bonjour hello

cahier "Cahier" is the French word for notebook. In the case of the Ontario French curriculum (though this probably applies to most, if not all, of the other provinces as well), a cahier is a book filled with French language exercises.

Canada It seems really silly to be including Canada in this glossary, and, yet, it seems equally silly not to include it. I'll try to keep this fairly brief. Canada is the second largest country in the world, covering (with the exception of Alaska) the northern half of the North American continent. Canada is made up of ten provinces and three territories. The most recent territory is Nunavut, which makes up the eastern two-thirds of the Northwest Territories and officially became a territory on April 1, 1999. Canada has two official languages, English and French, and is a member of the Commonwealth. On March 29, 1867, the British government passed the British North America Act that allowed Canadian Confederation. On July 1, 1867, the colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec formed The Dominion of Canada. On the same day the Dominion of Canada is born, John A. MacDonald becomes Canada's first Prime Minister. Until the Constitution Act of 1982, Canada was not legally independent from the UK.

While historians believe that the first European visitors to Canada would have been the Vikings around AD 1000, it was in 1535 that Canada gained its name. In 1535, Jacques Cartier was given directions to "kanata" by two Indian youths. The two Indian Youths were referring to the village of Stadacona (the site of what is now Quebec City), the word "kanata" being the Huron-Iroquois word for "village" or "settlement". However, Cartier used the word "Canada" as a name for not only Stadacona but the whole area that was subject to Stadacona's chief, Donnacona. It wasn't long before the name "Canada" was applied to a much larger area. In maps from 1547, everything north of the St. Lawrence River is designated as "Canada". In fact, Cartier called the St. Lawrence River the "rivière de Canada" and the name stuck until the early 1600s. By 1616, the entire region was known as New France, but the area along the rivière de Canada and the Gulf of St. Lawrence kept the name Canada. In the early 1700s, Canada referred to all lands in what is now the American Midwest and went as far south as present day Louisiana. In 1791, "Canada" was finally used as an official name when the Province of Quebec divided into the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada. In 1841, Upper and Lower Canada joined to form the Province of Canada, and, then, "Canada" became the name of the new country that was formed after the Confederation in 1867.

(Sources: and The Oxford English Reference Dictionary)

Casa Loma Casa Loma (meaning "house on the hill") is the closest thing Toronto has to a castle. Casa Loma was the dreamchild of Sir Henry Pellett, a highly successful businessman and member of the Queen's Own Rifles. In 1911, Pellett drew up plans for his dream castle with Canadian architect E.J. Lennox. Casa Loma took three years to build and cost $3.5 million. As a tribute to the middle ages, Casa Loma included battlements and secret passageways.

Unfortunately, Sir Henry Pellatt fell into bankruptcy and in 1924 he and Lady Pellatt were forced to move to their farm in King township. In 1933, the city claimed the property for $27,303.45 in back taxes and various suggestions were made for possible uses for the building. These suggestions included converting Casa Loma into a high school, a museum, an art gallery, a convalescence home for war veterans and even a permanent residence for the Dionne quintuplets. As none of the proposed projects were feasible, the city considered demolishing the castle. Then, in 1936, The Kiwanis Club of West Toronto came up with the idea of running Casa Loma as a tourist attraction. With nothing else to lose, the city agreed to the proposition, and Casa Loma opened to the public in 1937.

(Source: Casa Loma website)

chesterfield Another word for couch or sofa.

Comment ça va? How are you?

Dominion I used the name "Dominion Motel" because a lot of Canadian businesses and institutions, such as the Toronto Dominion (TD) Bank and the Dominion grocery store chain, use the word "Dominion" in their name. This naming practice dates back to when Canada was still considered a "dominion". The "Dominion of Canada" is the formal title that was used for Canada for much of the late 19th and early 20th century. While the British North America act made Canada a self-governing confederation in 1867, Canada was still a British colony. At the time, most Canadians were happy to remain a British colony with links to the powerful British Empire. As Canada was a constitutional monarchy under the British, the Canadian founders wanted the confederation to be known as the "Kingdom of Canada," but this name was felt to be too provocative, especially in terms of the anti-monarchical United States. The term "dominion" is no longer used to describe Canada as Canada is now a completely independent country.

(Source: From

donut shops I don't really have a lot to say on the subject of donut shops except that Scarborough has a helluva lot of them. Many of these donut shops are located in strip malls.

East End Okay, this is my pot shot at the policy Councillor Norm Kelly (Ward 40 Scarborough-Agincourt) came up with to improve Scarborough’s reputation by having the Toronto media refer to Scarborough as the “East End” when reporting crimes committed in this area. The only problem is that crimes are now reported by major intersection, and anyone who’s at all familiar with Scarborough is going to know that the crime in question was committed in Scarborough based on this information alone. I suppose the policy is useful for people who don’t know Scarborough, but otherwise…

eavestrough The Canadian word for "gutter," the shallow trough found below the eaves of a building to collect runoff from the roof.

eh The word "eh" is something that has long been associated with Canada and has probably been made most famous by the McKenzie Brothers. While the expression "eh" is not exclusive to Canada, some of its usages are. Through Wikipedia, I learned that the Canadian Oxford Dictionary has defined the Canadian eh as a means of "ascertaining the comprehension, continued interest, agreement, etc., of the person or persons addressed" (e.g. "She doesn't have the third season of Atlantis, eh? That's why I lent it to her.). Another popular use of "eh" is to turn a declarative sentence into a question (e.g. "The last episode of Atlantis was really good, eh?")

In Eh is Canadian, Eh?: Usage, Functions and the Identity Crisis of Eh, Kailin Wright actually identifies ten different ways that the word "eh" is used in Canada: 1) statement of opinion (Nice day, eh?), 2) statement of fact (It goes over here, eh?), 3) command (Think about it, eh?), 4) exclamation (What a game, eh?), 5) question (What are they trying to do, eh?), 6) another form of "what" or "pardon" (Eh? What did you say?), 7) a fixed expression (I know, eh?), 8) insult (You're a real snob, eh?), 9) accusation (You took the last piece, eh?) and 10) telling a story (This guy is up on the 27th floor, eh? Then he gets out on the ledge, eh?)

For an excellent example of the use of "eh," I highly recommend this McKenzie Brothers sketch, eh?:

(Sources: Kailin Wright's Eh is Canadian, Eh?: Usage, Functions and the Identity Crisis of Eh and Wikipedia)

Hamilton This city was conceived by George Hamilton when he purchased farm holdings from James Durand, the local Member of the British Legislative Assembly, shortly after the War of 1812. Along with Nathaniel Hughson, a property owner to the north, George Hamilton prepared a proposal for a courthouse and jail on Hamilton’s property. Hamilton offered his land to the crown for the future site, and, through Hughson and Hamilton, Durand was able to sell property holdings that later became the site of the town. The Hamilton town site became a member of the new Gore District. It took time before Hamilton gained any prominence. A permanent jail wasn’t constructed until 1832 and it wasn’t until June 9, 1846 that Hamilton gained official city status. In the second half of the 19th century, a number of important buildings were constructed. These included the Grand Lodge of Canada (1855) and the West Flamboro Methodist Church (1879). Hamilton is also where the first commercial telephone service in Canada was established (between 1877-78), not to mention the first telephone exchange in the British Empire and the second telephone exchange in North America.

Hamilton saw a lot of growth in the 20th century. As industrial businesses expanded, the city’s population doubled between 1900 and 1914. In the early 20th century a number of manufacturing companies and plants opened, such as Stelco (1910), Dofasco (1912), Procter & Gamble (1914) and the Beech-Nut Packing Company (1922). Hamilton’s first high-rise building, the Pigott Building, was constructed in 1929, and McMaster University was moved from Toronto to Hamilton in 1930. On January 1, 2001, an amalgamation of the Regional Municipality of Hamilton, Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook, and Stoney Creek resulted in the new city of Hamilton.

(Source: Wikipedia)

The Hilarious House of Frightenstein The Hilarious House of Frightenstein is a children's show that was created by CHCH (a TV station in Hamilton, Ontario) in 1971. I suppose the best way to describe it is as a kind of send up of such horror legends as Frankenstein and Dracula -- only stranger. It's most famous star was Vincent Price, who could usually be seen telling bizarre tales or reciting verse. The show aired across Canada and parts of the States for about 25 years. It was often aired early in the morning, which is when I would have watched it as a kid.

(Source: The Hilarious House of Frightenstein website)

hockey Hockey is an extremely popular sport that is a passion for many Canadians. Rodney wasn't exaggerating in the third installment when he described hockey as being "practically a religion" in Canada. I mean, there has to be a reason why Hockey Night in Canada remains one of the highest-rated Canadian shows and the CBC pre-empts Doctor Who for hockey games.

The origin of hockey is hard to pinpoint. When hockey first began to emerge in Canada in the 1800s, it was known by such names as "hurley," "wicket," "ricket" and "break-shins". Some believe the word "hockey" is derived from the French word "hoquet," which means "shepherd's crook," but that theory doesn't hold weight with everyone. Controversy also surrounds the supposed birthplace of hockey. The usual contenders are Windsor, Nova Scotia, Kingston, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec -- depending on which story you believe. Many consider Windsor, Nova Scotia to be the birthplace of hockey and that the sport was named after a Colonel Hockey, who used this game to condition his troops in the garrison on Fort Edward. As a John Hockey is listed on the British Army list as serving in the mid-1800s (when the name "hockey" was adopted) this story has some credence. What is historical fact is that the first known rules for hockey were published by the Montreal Gazette in 1877. This set of rules (called the "Halifax Rules") was written by James Creighton. Born in Halifax in 1850, Creighton grew up playing hockey and introduced the game to Montreal when he moved there in 1873. In fact, Creighton and some of his friends played the first game of organized hockey inside an ice rink on March 3, 1875.

By 1890 the game of hockey had spread across Canada. In 1904 the first professional hockey league, known as the International Pro Hockey League, was created in the US and based in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The International Pro Hockey League would be followed by the National Hockey Association (NHA) in 1910 and the Pacific Coast League (PCL) shortly after that. A transcontinental championship series was arranged for teams from both the NHA and PCL, with the cup of Lord Stanley being the prize. The NHA suspended its operations when World War I broke out, but then formed a new organization called the National Hockey League (NHL) in 1917. The original five franchises were the Montreal Canadiens, the Montreal Wanderers, the Ottawa Senators, the Quebec Bulldogs, and the Toronto Arenas. The first NHL game was held on December 19, 1917.

(Sources: and Wikipedia)

hockey camp The main purpose of hockey camp is to improve a player's abilities. From what I've heard, the average hockey camp will often focus on a particular skill or set of skills, providing extra coaching and tips to help a player. Hockey camps designed for children or young adults are usually held over the summer and can range in itinerary, price and duration.

hydro field A hydro field is basically a stretch of land with hydroelectric towers that is used to conduct electricity. The role of hydroelectric towers can vary depending on where the power is going and what function it's serving. Towers are often used to support high-voltage lines that conduct anywhere from 44,000 to 735,000 volts of electricity from generating stations to populated areas.

(Source: Hydro-Québec website)

Je te déteste I hate you.

Kennedy Station Kennedy Station is part of the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) subway system. Located in Scarborough, Kennedy Station is a terminus for both the Bloor-Danforth and Scarborough RT lines. It has four levels: a basement level for subways, a lower-mid level for underground walkways, a ground level for buses, and a level above ground for the Scarborough RT. Kennedy Station first opened in 1980 with its Bloor-Danforth platform, the Scarborough RT platform opening in 1985. It now connects with GO Transit's Kennedy Station on the Stouffville line. Within the TTC, Kennedy Station is the fourth busiest station after Sheppard-Yonge, St. George and Bloor-Yonge.

(Source: Wikipedia)

ketchup chips I could be mistaken, but I think ketchup chips are a Canadian phenomenon. For those of you who aren't familiar with the product, ketchup chips are basically potato chips covered with ketchup powder. They are very red, very messy, and, surprisingly, smell like ketchup.

Kraft Dinner/KD Kraft Dinner is a cheap and fairly popular meal in Canada. A pasta dish of macaroni and cheese, Kraft Dinner was first introduced in the United States and Canada in 1937. It quickly became a success in World War II due to rationing on milk and dairy products and the shortage of meat. While the product retained the name Kraft Dinner in Canada, it became known in the States and other countries as Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Cheesey Pasta in the UK.

Because Kraft Dinner is so economical, it is often the staple of students or people living on a lower income. Kraft Dinner has become such a fixture in Canadian culture that the product has been immortalized in The Barenaked Ladies' song "If I Had A Million Dollars":

If I had a $1000000
We wouldn't have to walk to the store
If I had a $1000000
We'd take a limousine 'cause it costs more.
If I had a $1000000
We wouldn't have to eat Kraft Dinner
But we would eat Kraft Dinner
Of course we would, we'd just eat more
And buy really expensive ketchups with it
That's right, all the fanciest dijon ketchups

(Sources: Wikipedia and lyricsfly)

Labatt Labatt was founded in 1847. It is one of the most well known beer companies in Canada, though now that it's part of the Belgium-based Inbey S.A. it's no longer strictly Canadian. Labatt operates six breweries in Canada and brews more than 50 different brands of beer, which are marketed around the world. The most famous Labatt beer is probably Labatt Blue, though Labatt Genuine, John Labatt Classic and Labatt Ice® (the world's first ice brewed beer) are also popular brands.


Loblaws Loblaws is a Canadian supermarket chain that was founded in 1919 when Theodore Pringle Loblaw and J. Milton Cork opened the first Loblaw Groceterias in Toronto. Loblaws is probably most famous for its President's Choice and No Name products. Besides groceries, Loblaws offers photo developing, pharmacy service, cooking classes and even banking.

(Source: Loblaws Ontario website)

Men are allowed to have babies in Canada Andrew is a little confused, though essentially correct. While the law differs in every province and territory, same-sex couples can legally adopt a child in British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Stepchild adoption is allowed in Alberta, while adoption by same-sex couples is illegal in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. The adoption laws in the Yukon are ambiguous.

(Source: Wikipedia)

merci beaucoup Thank you very much.

merde shit

Metro Toronto Zoo The Metro Toronto Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the world. First opened in 1974, the zoo covers 287 hectares and has over 5,000 animals representing over 460 species. The zoo is located in the Rouge Valley in Scarborough and receives approximately 1.2 million visitors a year. On a personal note, I grew up quite close to the zoo and spent many happy hours there over the years. In fact, at one point I wanted to be a zookeeper.

(Source: Metro Toronto Zoo website)

Mike Myers/Wayne's World Both the Saturday Night Live and film versions of Wayne's World were at least partially based on Mike Myers' experiences growing up in Scarborough. In the sixth installment, Rodney's afraid of turning into Mike Myers because the basement where Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey) broadcast their cable access show (in both the SNL sketches and films) is an allusion to the Scarborough basement of Myers' youth. Not only that but in the famous head-bopping scene from the first Wayne's World movie, the characters are listening to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody". In the first film, another nod to Scarborough (and Canada in general) came with Wayne and Garth's favourite hangout, Stan Mikita's Donuts, which is named after a Chicago Blackhawks player. However, Stan Mikita's Donuts is probably a reference to Tim Hortons, a famous Canadian donut chain co-founded by and named after a Toronto Maple Leaf.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Most Americans don't even know where Canada is This is obviously an exaggeration. I believe only some Americans don't know where Canada is. The same goes for the joke about Americans crossing the border in summer with skis strapped to their cars, etc. While most Canadians have either witnessed this phenomenon or know someone who knows someone who has, I'm guessing this only happens with maybe half of the American tourists that come to Canada.

Newfie Jokes A Newfie joke is a Canadian ethnic joke about Newfoundlanders. In these jokes, "Newfies" are depicted as being stupid or lazy and, like other ethnic jokes, are meant to be a put down. According to Wikipedia, Newfie jokes date back to the bankruptcy of the Dominion of Newfoundland government and the Great Depression. I don't know if there's any truth in this, but I've heard that most Newfie jokes come out of Newfoundland itself, which is why I thought Carson's Newfoundland friends would have shared some with him…

The word "Newfie," as I'm sure you've guessed by now, is slang for someone from Newfoundland. The earliest known use of the term was in 1938 on a local radio program called The Barrelman. There is a great deal of debate over whether or not "Newfie" is a derogatory term. While many Newfoundlanders consider both "Newf" and "Newfie" to be derogatory, many Newfoundlanders also use these terms to refer to themselves or other Newfoundlanders. However, when the term is used by non-Newfoundlanders, it can be seen as being offensive. As "Newfies" are often depicted in Canadian popular culture as being similar to rednecks, I can't say that I blame Newfoundlanders for finding it offensive.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Newfoundland Before I say anything else, I'd like to point out that the crack about Newfoundland and drinking came about purely because of the stories I'd heard about pub crawls in St. John's. However, through my research for this glossary, I've learned that George Street in downtown St. John's is said to have the most bars per square foot in North America, so I think Claude's reaction might have been justified. *g* Anywaaaaay, getting back to the entry…

Newfound is an island off the east coast of North America and part of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador -- a name change that came about in 2001. Newfoundland was originally called Terra Nova by John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto), who sailed to the island on his expedition from Bristol, England in 1497. The first inhabitants of Newfoundland are believed to be the possible ancestors of the Beothuks, who would have inhabited the island when the Europeans made contact. The Beothuks, who are now, sadly, extinct, may have been a native group that originally came from Labrador. Some historians theorize that Newfoundland could be the island referred to as "Vinland" in Norse documents, but there is no substantial proof of this as Vinland's location has never been verified. However, Newfoundland is the only authenticated Norse settlement in North America, having been discovered at L'Anse aux Meadows in 1960 by Norweigian explorer Dr. Helge Ingstad and his wife, archaeologist Anne Stine Ingstad. The settlement dates more than 500 years before John Cabot's expedition and contains the earliest known European structures in North America.

Newfoundland and Labrador is Canada's youngest province. It was self-governing from 1855-1934 and held Dominion status from 1907-1949. On March 31, 1949, Newfoundland joined Canada after Newfoundland's population voted 52.3% to 47.7% in favour of joining the country. While a 2003 study revealed that 72% of Newfoundlanders identified themselves as being Newfoundlanders first and Canadians second, only 12% were in favour of separating from Canada.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Niagara Falls The most powerful waterfall in North America, Niagara Falls was formed at the end of the last ice age (the Wisconsin glaciation) when glaciers receded and water from the Great Lakes carved a path through the Niagara Escarpment as it travelled to the Atlantic Ocean. During high flow, more than six million cubic feet of water goes over the crest line, while almost four million cubic feet passes over it on average. Niagara Falls crosses the Canadian-American border as it spans both Ontario and New York. Niagara Falls consists of the Horseshoe Falls (the majority of which is found on the Canadian side of the border) and the American Falls. The Canadian Falls are 52 metres tall with an estimated crestline of 675 metres, while the American Falls are 56 metres tall with a crestline of 328 metres.

There are various theories as to how the Falls got its name. Scholar Bruce Trigger believes that the name “Niagara” is derived from a group of native people called the “Niagagarega,” who were described in a number of late seventeenth century French maps charting the area. There is also some debate as to who first provided an eyewitness account of Niagara Falls. Samuel de Champlain supposedly visited the area as early as 1604 during his exploration of Canada. There have also been accounts from Louis Hennepin, a Belgian Father who described the Falls in 1677, and Finnish-Swedish naturalist Peter Kalm, who explored the area in the early eighteenth century.

Tourism first became popular in the eighteenth century, eventually becoming the main industry of Niagara Falls. The Canadian side is full of tourist attractions, my personal favourites being the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum and Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks. Niagara Falls has also attracted numerous daredevils over the years – men and women who have attempted to go over the Falls using a number of contraptions, such as barrels. This list includes Annie Edson Taylor, a Michigan teacher who, in 1901, was the first person to go over the Falls in a barrel. She survived but many daredevils have lost their lives. Besides daredevils, the Falls have attracted tightrope walkers, the most famous of which is Blondin.

Possibly a lesser known fact about Niagara Falls is the enormous amount of hydroelectric power it generates. When the Niagara Falls hydroelectric project commenced in 1961, it was the largest hydropower facility in the Western world. Today, the Falls provide almost two million kilowatts of electricity on the Canadian side, while more than 2.4 million kilowatts of electricity are generated on the American side.

(Sources: Wikipedia and Travel Niagara)

NORAD The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) was formed by the United States and Canada on May 12, 1958 to provide aerospace warning and control for North America. NORAD's main technical facility has been Colorado's Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center since 1963. As most Stargate fans know, NORAD is sometimes referred to as "Cheyenne Mountain" for this reason. NORAD's headquarters facilities are administered by the U.S. Air Force under the command of the 721st Mission Support Group, which is part of the 21st Space Wing that is headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base. The Alaskan NORAD Region/Eleventh Air Force, Canadian NORAD Region, and Continental NORAD Region make up NORAD's forces.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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