• Travel English: Canada

    Preparing for a trip to Canada? Here’s the travel English you’ll need to prepare yourself.

    Canada is geographically adjacent to America and is also a bilingual country (with French as its second language) and as result its English is a mixture of these various influences.

    Canada has a preference for the British spelling of ise and isation but its pronunciation is closer to American English.

    If you are going on a trip to Canada here is a vocabulary guide to help you out:

    Food and Drink

    If you are looking for a whiskey in Canada, you might want to call it rye.

    Poutine is a dish made with homemade fries topped with melted cheese and gravy.

    Pickerel is a type of fish.

    If you are looking for a napkin with your meal, you might have to call it a serviette.

    To order a soft drink, ask for pop.

    A two-four refers to a 24 pack of beer.

    Small size bottles (375ml) of beer are called mickies.

    If you want a complete pizza, it’s said to be all-dressed.

    When you want to pay for a meal in a restaurant, ask for the bill.

    If you want the bathroom, ask for the washroom.

    If you go to the fair you will hear cotton candy called candy floss.

    A donut might be called a jambuster or a Bismarck or a Burlington bun depending on which part of the country you visit.

    A double double is a coffee with two creams and two sugars.

    A regular is a coffee with one sugar and one milk.


    If you hear the word tuque, this actually means a woolen hat.

    Housecoat refers to a robe.

    Knapsack is a backpack.

    A bunnyhug is a sweater with a hood.

    Runners refer to sports shoes.


    Don’t be surprised if you hear every sentence end with the expression eh? It doesn’t have any particular meaning.

    Chesterfield refers to a couch.

    A Loonie is a one-dollar coin which carries the image of a loon (a bird).

    A Toonie is a two-dollar coin.

    A Canadian will refer to university while an American will call it college.

    A post office is called a po.

    A special price for travel is called a seat sale.

    A chinook is a warm dry wind experienced along the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains.

    A garburator is a garbage disposal unit underneath the kitchen sink.

    A joe job is a low class, low paying job.

    As we learn vocabulary for travel to Canada, let’s listen to one of the country’s well-known musical exports, Avril Lavigne, sing one of her biggest hits, Complicated (which English is not, of course).

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