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These Phrases Confused The Hell Out Of People In BC When I Moved From The East Coast Of Canada

Living on the East Coast, you get used to some pretty strange sayings. It's a really specific way of speaking, and when I hear classic East Coast phrases I feel at home. It's familiar, and they're usually pretty funny.

Moving to the West Coast is like entering into a whole new way of life. Despite moving from one coastal city to another, the vibe is totally different — which includes the language.

West Coast people have that chill surfer look. They're the super cool vegan, van-lifer, who lives on zero-waste and only shops at Whole Foods.

East Coasters are basically the opposite — old school in most ways. They have a more "down home" attitude and love a rugged lifestyle. They get straight to the point.

Since moving, I've found that our different terms and phrases reflect these opposite vibes. Where one is kinda old-timey and dorky, the other is cool and on-trend.

Can you guess which is which?

East Coast Phrases

I'm gonna be honest, I do not talk this way all of the time. But I will find myself dropping the occasional "Holy Mackerel!" when it's needed.

These are phrases that I hear all of the time on the East Coast though, especially from my family in Nova Scotia. No one quite speaks like a Nova Scotian.

Then there's my Newfoundland-based family, which has a whole other layer of dialect. I truly will never be able to understand what they're saying most of the time.

Here are the classic Maritime phrases, that West Coasters will def look at you funny for using.

"Holy Mackerel!" — This is something you say when you're surprised, like "wow," but better.

"Fill your boots" — Meaning to help yourself to something. Usually, it's said at a meal.

"Blowin' a gale" — Basically means it's windy out, but it's a cute way to say it.

The one I actually find myself using the most is referring to something as "right" when I mean "really."

So I'll say things like "I was right lost when I went to the store!" and literally no one will know what the hell I'm talking about.

Speaking of shopping, I'll always say I'm headed to Sobeys for groceries, and again get strange looks. I love everything about living in B.C., but I do miss my Sobeys and donair sauce, which are both much harder to find around here.

West Coast Phrases

As I've said, West Coasters are chill, trendy, and sustainable in a way that it's a part of their identity.

Truthfully, I have never seen so many people carrying tote bags around as purses.

In line with the outdoorsy type of people here, they even have their own name for a cottage.

"Cabin." — To me, a cabin is a run-down shack in the woods. To West Coasters, it's an insanely beautiful mansion in Whistler.

"Raincouver." — I've found that a lot of the slang here is just nicknames. This one is an accurate description.

"Buddy" — This is pretty straightforward but actually interesting. On the East Coast, we tend to say "Bud" and I've noticed here everyone always says "Buddy."

"PoCo" — This means simply Port Coquitlam. It might be just because I moved, but I find most of the phrases are shortened versions of places. Every city and neighbourhood basically has a nickname here, which is kinda cool.

    Morgan Leet
    Western Canada Editor
    Morgan Leet is the Western Canada Editor for Narcity Canada's Western Desk focused on interprovincial travel, and is based in Vancouver.
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