Tuesday, November 8th we should find out if it ends with a bang or a whimper. That’s the day when the Americans decide who will occupy the White House.
Notwithstanding the many similarities between the children of a common mother (so says the inscription on the Peace Arch) we really do see and say things differently, so it seems like an opportune time to reintroduce our readers to the differences between us.
Chinook: to Americans, the first thought is likely to be a two rotor banana-shaped helicopter. To others it may mean a large fish. But to Canadians, it’s a blast of warm air that blows into southern Alberta, a wintertime gift to Calgary. However, the original chinook is in reference to wet, warm coastal winds in the Pacific Northwest.
Toque: A French-Canadian name for a knitted hat, adopted by all Canucks to keep the grey matter above freezing. The word is Breton for “hat,” known in English since 1505 and believed to come from the Spanish “toca” (a woman’s headdress) and from the Arabic “taqa” meaning opening. Americans call it a watch cap, beanie or knitted cap.
And since we’re contemplating winter, cold rain or snow, people on both sides of the 49th love their deep-fried food. In the US it’s deep-fried Mars Bar. Canadians love the beaver tail, a deep fried pastry topped with a choice of sweet condiments and confections, such as whipped cream, banana slices, crumbled oreos, cinnamon sugar, and chocolate hazelnut. BeaverTails Canada Inc. through franchising currently operates 33 stores and 43 BeaverTails and Queues de Castor stands worldwide. A whale of a tale.
Timmy’s: A truly Canadian institution renowned for coffee and donuts, named after its co-owner Toronto Maple Leaf hockey star, Tim Horton, opened in Hamilton Ontario in 1964. Ten years later he died in a car crash on the 401a few hours after his new team, the Buffalo Sabres lost to his old team, the Leafs. By 2016 the company, now part of Burger King, and owned by a Brazilian corporation is still headquartered in Oakville Ontario and operates 3,650 restaurants in Canada, 650 in the United States, 113 in the Middle East, Scotland and Ireland including an outlet in the Dublin Zoo. Tim Horton’s has had an enormous impact on Canadian English”
Tim’s: Nickname for T.H.
The Double-Double: coffee with double cream double sugar;
Timbits: An amazing marketing coup, selling ‘donut holes’ little balls of dough;
Roll Up The Rim: Win a car, win a coffee contest with the good news rolled into the rim of the cardboard coffee cup with the more frequent message, “Please Play Again.”
Chocolate Bar: In truly stoic Canadian terms we call it what it is. To the Americans, it’s a candy bar, maybe because they don’t always use real chocolate. But to be fair, chocolate is a “candy” confection with the name evolved from sugar candy, shortened from cane (as in sugar) crossed with dandy (as a way to your sweetie’s heart) and you get can-dy
Runners: Canucks call this rubber-soled footwear runners or running shoes as opposed to sneakers (US). Sneakers is believed to have originated in Britain when a British Bobby invented rubber or gum-soled shoes to be able to move around more quietly, thus the derogatory term “gumshoe” for a police detective.
Stag and Stagette: Celebration prior to a wedding. Americans call it a bachelor (bachelorette) party. Same thing except for the antlers.
The Letter Z: Americans pronounce it zee. Canadians and British pronounce it zed, much to the detriment of the Alphabet Song.’ Either is right. The zed pronunciation is older, and it more closely resembles the Greek letter zeta, from which the English letter is derived.
Canadians say Thongs (no, we’re not talking g-strings) Americans say Flip-Flops or Sandals. Thongs are the casual (foam rubber) style of footwear for beach or poolside.
Canadians say toboggan, (from the Micmac tobakun) Americans say sled. For those on a slippery slope we cherish the toboggan. Up here a sled has runners (rails) where a toboggan has a smooth flat bottom surface.
So slippery slope or a great ride, the result of the election on November 8, this is bound to be as interesting and impactful to Canadians as for our American cousins.
Please ensure that your seatbelts are tightened, seatbacks and table trays returned to the upright position. We’re all about to take off eh?