13 Popular Canadian Slangs Newcomers Should Know Before Coming To Canada
You wouldn't want to be caught off guard, eh?
Whether you're moving to British Columbia or visiting Nova Scotia, you're bound to hear a Canadian slang term at some point.
After all, you don't want to be caught off guard, eh?
Canadians love their coffee and a double-double is probably one of the most essential Canadian slang words to get acquainted with.
To put it simply, a double-double is a regular coffee with two creams (or milk) and two sugars and it's delicious.
It's usually used in connotation with Tim Hortons, a popular spot in Canada, so if you ask for a double-double at other coffee shops, there is a chance you'll be met with a blank stare.
Loonies and toonies
These words may sound like the names of cartoon characters but loonies and toonies actually refer to Canadian coins.
That's right, a loonie refers to a Canadian one-dollar coin. Why? Because it actually features a loon — a North American bird — on it.
Similarly, toonie refers to a two-dollar coin. And yes, it basically combines the words "two" and "loonie." Cute, right?
Thinking about moving to Toronto? You better get familiar with the term "The 6ix" pretty quickly!
The term is slang for the city of Toronto and while I can't be completely confident about where the term originated, it's widely believed to be from either 416 — the area code for the city of Toronto — or a reference to the city's original six boroughs.
Given that this is a relatively new addition to Canadian slang, its use can be attributed to Drake popularizing the term.
While you're at it, don't forget to look up how locals in the city pronounce Toronto. Note: it's not Toh-ron-to!
Timmies and Tims
It may seem pretty obvious but since it's bound to come up, get used to these various iterations of Tim Hortons.
From Timmies to Tims, Canada's favourite coffee chain has quite the fan following, and nicknames are just part of that.
You might also hear Timbits quite a bit, and they're basically the coffee retailer's version of donut holes.
Just roll with it.
A Canadian saying that actually has two meanings: a case of 24 beers or a reference to the Victoria Day long weekend that falls around May 24.
While there is no evident connection between the meanings of the two terms, a flat of beer can often be found at a Victoria Day barbecue.
Although this Canadian slang term may be common enough in Canadian culture, there are certain parts of the country that may have no idea what you're talking about if you ask for a two-four — like French Canadian Quebec!
Speaking of alcohol, a "mickey" is a common Canadian word for a 375-ml bottle of liquor. More self-explanatory terms for bottle sizes include a "two-six" or "twenty-sixer" (750 ml) and a "forty" (1.14 L or roughly 40 1-oz shots).
However, out in eastern Canada, the slang term is a little different — a "mickey" actually refers to a smaller 200-ml size, while the 375-ml bottle is called a "pint" or a "flask."
Another one that's sure to come up at some point during your time in Canada.
Canuck is simply slang for Canadians. While I haven't actually heard it said out loud too often, it's pretty common in Canadian media.
Be wary though, it's a word best saved for Canadians referring to themselves!
If someone in Canada offers you a pop, they're not offering you a lollipop.
Actually, they're referring to a soda or soft drink like Coke or 7UP. That's right, pop is just another way to describe a fizzy drink in some areas here.
Considering how cold it gets in Canada, you might want to acquaint yourself with winter gear (and its various names) pretty fast.
For instance, long johns are basically a replacement for thermal underwear, and toque — a French word adapted to Canadian English — is a type of hat some non-Canadians would call a beanie.
This one is pretty easy to understand.
Canadians really are friendly people and hearing "bud" or "buddy" is totally normal.
In fact, you don't even have to be friends with someone for them to call you bud. In some parts of the Great White North, it's perfectly normal to hear it from a complete stranger at the end of a casual sentence.
No, this is not some wondrous bird that thrives in the harsh Canadian winter. Snowbird is a slang word for people — typically seniors and retirees — who leave Canada during the cold winter months and travel south to warm, sunny destinations for an extended period.
The United States is a popular destination, with many snowbirds flocking to Florida (where they'll have American slang to contend with).
Yeah, no and no, yeah
This one seems a bit confusing, but context, tone of voice and facial expressions are everything.
Saying "yeah, no" or "no, yeah" is super common in Canada, just don't mix those two up as they mean the exact opposite.
“Yeah, no” is an assured refusal to something or someone, whereas “no, yeah” is a certain yes.
Still confused? One Canadian TikToker explained exactly how it's done.
And, finally, while this isn't slang in a traditional sense, you might just hear it a lot when you move to Canada.
It's a simple way to emphasize something or to imply "You know what I mean?" or "Right?" in conversation.
The more ya know, eh?
Of course, these are just some of the most popular slang words in Canada.
If you're looking to do a deep dive into the topic, different provinces and territories also have their own slang that even people from Canada don't always recognize (I'm looking at you, East Coast).
This article has been updated since it was originally published on February 7, 2023.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.