When I travel a strange feeling comes over me. I think that feeling is patriotism. Odd for a Canadian to say that. I think there is a larger patriotic movement happening amongst Canadians since the Winter Olympics. I had it all along we just didn’t talk about it.
As a culture we tend to enjoy self-depreciating humor, apologize a lot,eat weird food and worship the cup that is Lord Stanley’s. My Grandfather, fondly remembered as GP, forced us as young children to sit and listen to long lectures and rants that made us appreciate the fact that we are Canadian. As a family, we celebrated Canada Day, GP called it Dominion Day as was his tradition. Back yard BBQs, Baseball,and Balloons were hung instead of bunting and in the colours of Red, White and …Blue? Blue? Seriously? We were not Americans. Well, GP’s Dad was an immigrant from the Untied States, came over in a covered wagon – or so the story goes. There have been plenty of stories and who knows what to believe at this point. Still…Blue Balloons? Because the Canadian Flag, Red and White Maple Leaf was not real flag according to GP. No that would be the Red Ensign. And when I say Ensign I don’t mean the random guy in red on Star Trek who dies in an away mission. I mean the Red Ensign Flag. Red White and Blue because of the British Union Jack.
However, when I travel, I always carry a maple leaf when me because that is how the world sees us. When I was in Kent years ago, we were camping next to a couple who came up to us and said they couldn’t place our accent. It wasn’t American, was it possibly Australian? Nope, Canadian! The woman screamed THE CANADIANS ARE HERE! Wow, talk about a nice welcome! they had us over to their tent for tea and biscuits and she kept saying to me “say something Canadian!!”. Hmm, Canadian…what makes our language distinctly unique? At the time I could give a very good answer. So I asked for another cookie please, and she just about fainted because she thought I was so adorable. Several years later I was in Lake Elsinore in California. I was at the grocery store when the check out girl exclaimed that she had never met a real live Canadian before and said “Say something Canadian!”. Wow, really? So I did my best Bob and Doug MacKenzie and said “How’s it going Eh?”. Then I cracked up and explained that no one says that ever! She said my accent was cute but she was disappointed that I didn’t sound British. That would be because I am Canadian! I am actually Western Canadian. A Proud Prairie Girl. That means I do not speak french nor do I have a french accent. Apparently this was also disappointing. For this trip I decided I need to be prepared! I am going to brush up on my uniquely Canadian language so if I get asked to say something Canadian I will be ready.
The Edmonton Tourist’s Top 11 Canadian Vernacular.
- Clothing – Toque, parka and mitts with idiot stings.
- Food -kubasa, poutine, muktuk, butter tart, bismark and nanaimo bars
- Beverages – Canada Dry, two-four, double-double, Newfie Screech
- Hockey – dipsy-doodle, road apple, shinny, spinarama
- Party – kitchen party, bush party, grad
- Cash – Canadian Tire Money, baby bonus, loonie, twonie
- Roads – trail, ice road, ice bridge, trunk road
- Weather – thunder Shower, wind chill, ice storm
- Games-blanket toss, crokinole, high kick
- Holidays – Family Day, Heritage Day, Remembrance Day
- Song and Dance – Chicken Dance, Butterfly, throat sing, chin music
If you need explanations on any of these terms I would be happy to explain in the most polite way! After all, this Edmonton Tourist needs practice taking risks and bragging about being Canadian.