The Friday File – Have you got two toonies and a loonie for a Fiver?

Canadian Slang

[photo courtesy of] Thanks to my very good friend Michelle for providing today’s post material! What a great list, Michelle; thank you!

Several weeks ago as I sauntered on State Street, that great street (ah, an old quote from the song, “Chicago”,  best known by Frank Sinatra’s version in 1957), it lightly started to rain.  Umbrella(less) as I found myself to be at that moment, I remarked to a woman passerby, “Oh, no, it’s spitting out.”  She seemed to increase her already hurried pace and flew right past me.  I summarized it must be because, well, it was spitting out.  I posed the following question to an American friend:

“Don’t you say, “It’s spitting out” when it begins to lightly rain?”   “No”, was the response.  “What do you call it, then?” I questioned, at this point feeling I had spent utterly too much time and energy on spitting (I mean, light rain).  Here is the classic, unabridged dialogue from my fellow American: “Down here, we call it rain.”

Rain Cloud

[photo courtesy of]

Please have a gander *grin* at the list above.  If you are a Canadian, chances are a lot of these are included in your daily repertoire of words.  I must confess, at one time or another I have used almost every single word on the list!

I noticed that even the order of using numbers is different in Canada than it is here in the US.  For example, I might say, “I was in grade six when I wrote my first poem.”  In the US you would say, “I was in sixth grade when I wrote my first poem.”  Little subtleties, true, but different! Ah, yes, I almost forgot the one I constantly write incorrectly; I mean, correctly North of the 49th parallel, but incorrectly South of the 49th, and…………….. Okay, here it is:  To numerically write, “July 11, 2014, in Canada it is written, “11/07/14”.  In the US it is written, “07/11/14”.  Now, far be it from me to split hairs about the proper or lack of improperly using numbers in various ways.  Nonetheless, it gets pretty darned confusing when one is trying to decide whether the milk in the fridge needs to be thrown out immediately, or if all is well in dairy land.

Month Day Year[photo courtesy of]

I need to stick this diagram on my fridge so I may happily make chicken without fear of salmonella poisoning!

My confusion spills into my checkbook (cheque in Canadian-speak) when I am setting myself up for a ‘friendly’ phone call from the bank asking me if I really ‘meant’ to write the check for February 11th when clearly we are meandering through the month of November!

Note my beloved Tim Hortons made the list 3 times! No surprise to me!

Let’s see if you can incorporate a few of the Canadian words and phrases into a conversation with someone (Canadians need not apply; you’ve already been, “Giv’n’r” eh).

Happy Friday! Feel free to stay in your housecoat while sitting on the Chesterfield all weekend, but make sure to go easy on using a lot of hydro for your air conditioning, or it’ll cut into your Mickey money!

  50 comments for “The Friday File – Have you got two toonies and a loonie for a Fiver?

  1. July 11, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    I worried about timmies not mentioned but whew! safe! lol


    • July 11, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      *LOL* Oh yeah, no worries, Andy! 😉


      • July 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm

        Eh!!! 😉


      • July 11, 2014 at 1:23 pm

        *LOL* Andy!!! Okay, so now I want a Timmies, and ice cream. Thank YOU! ;-P Cher xo


      • July 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm

        Oh hey you’re welcome! I’m gonna have timbits with ice cream then 😛


      • July 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm



      • July 11, 2014 at 1:27 pm

        I’ll do it on your behalf, how’s that 🙂


      • July 11, 2014 at 1:32 pm

        Well now, that’s a totally different story! Carry on with your timbits and carefully stored ice-cream bars!! ;-P


      • July 11, 2014 at 2:25 pm

        hehe!! 😉


      • July 11, 2014 at 2:49 pm

        Hey did I tell you what I thought about those Good Humor Birthday Cake Ice Cream Bars I bought the other day?


      • July 11, 2014 at 3:22 pm

        Not yet 🙂 how was it?


      • July 11, 2014 at 3:24 pm

        CRAPPY! *LOL*


  2. July 11, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Some of these are used in our house – we have House Shoes, House Coats, and I prefer to say Zed. And Postal Code. The term Zip Code makes me cringe. I use the Aye expression, having lived in Ontario, it came home with me. Great post aye!


    • July 11, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      Awh, that’s awesome, John! I sounds like a nice ‘aye’ to come home with, isn’t it? Love it!! Thank you, John!! xo


  3. July 11, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Hey Cher ~

    I love this! Such a fun read and I’m drinking a double-double and didn’t even know it!! Haha 🙂

    Cheers to you and enjoy this fabulous weekend, dear friend.

    Big hugs!!

    Allison xxx


    • July 11, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Awh, bless you my dear! Well you are drinking a double-double; that means you are an honorary Canadian! Welcome! hehehe Please check your email in a little bit! Cher xo


      • July 11, 2014 at 3:20 pm

        Yay! I am honored to be an honorary Canadian!!
        Pleasure is mine, indeed 🙂

        I always enjoy learning the lingo other folks use.

        The date thing makes me smile too because my European colleagues do the same thing and it kind of takes me a minute to adjust.

        Woop! I will 🙂



      • July 11, 2014 at 3:35 pm

        Yeay!! We are glad to have you aboard! I was very serious when I said I should put a copy of the chart on my fridge! *LOL* I get mixed up all the time, having learned the Canadian (and I see you mentioned, European) way! 😉


  4. July 11, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Love this and some I even knew already, eh? TIMMIES!!!!!!


    • July 11, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      You rock, sister! *LOL* No doubt, eh!! 🙂


  5. July 11, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    I like the pyramid resection. It demonstrates nicely how illogical putting the month before the day is.


    • July 11, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      Ronnie, you literally made me laugh out loud! 😉 Cher xo


  6. July 11, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    i didn’t but i do now 🙂 speak Canadian
    kettles on 😉


    • July 11, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      Excellent, Niki; on all accounts!!! 🙂 Cher xo


  7. July 11, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Great post, but I am wondering if my parents were secret Canadians living in the U.S, because we all said “it’s spitting out” for rain.


    • July 11, 2014 at 4:47 pm

      Hi Ann! Well I think your parents may very well have been secret Canucks! I lead a reading group for blind and low-vision folks. One day I asked them the whole, “spitting” thing; no one knew what I was talking about (although it is quite possible they thought I was being rude!) *grin* Cher xo


  8. Chel
    July 11, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Love this article. I have never really put pen to paper to write some of these. Believe it or not, you forgot one that I was nailed on in Texas. I asked for a “napkin” an the waiter got a female waitress to help me. She gave me something I would never wipe my mouth with…..LMAO. They did not realize it was a serviette I was looking for. We call serviette’s in Canada a napkin. Really………


    • July 11, 2014 at 6:53 pm

      Hey! Hahaha Well what do they call them, then? Oh too funny!! My parents call them, “serviettes”! 😉 Cher xo


  9. July 11, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Great great post Cher! And I had so much fun reading the comments too! Much love to you…have a great weekend! ❤


    • July 11, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Awh, thank you so much, dear Lorrie! That is extremely kind of you to say! Much love to you, too! Have a great weekend as well!! Cher xo


  10. July 11, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Cher. the list is a keeper. 😛 Have a grand weekend.


  11. Mammarazzi
    July 12, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Well, not sure if this is a result of being on a research study for 4 out of the required 6 weeks, but one of my cravings didn’t make your list. I dare you to find a Coffee Crisp in your windy city (Chicago), before I get to eat one in mine (the Peg) on the 24th. Om nom nom ……
    Signed, The one you say is not on your blog anymore. 😉


    • July 12, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      Ah, merci Maman Williams! *grin* You know you’ve always been one of my fav people on the planet! You will win that bet! I’ve never seen a Coffee Crisp here! For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is a fantastic chocolate bar only in Canada, eh! nom nom indeed!!! Big hugs, Cher xo


  12. Mammarazzi
    July 12, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    p.s. Today is the 12th, my favourite (favorite for the south side) number, so a great day all around. ❤


    • July 12, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      When you say, “south side” I immediately think of the south side of Chicago! But you are talking that invisible line in which you find yourself north of with your Coffee Crisps, and I am on the south side, with NO Tim Hortons at all! xo


      • July 12, 2014 at 5:10 pm

        Why is the 12th your favo(U)rite number? 😉


  13. Mammarazzi
    July 12, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    12 was Yvan Cournoyer’s number when he played for the Montreal Canadiens. Probably before your time.
    \When he retired, I stopped watching hockey because it was getting too violent. SO much so that it was more like boxing or wrestling than hockey. Ironically the first time I met YC was when he played baseball against the media for a fundraiser. Never got to see him play hockey in person, only on TV with my Dad and brothers. I could probably write my own blog just about my #12, but this is your blog, so I shall cease and desist. DW


    • July 13, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Ah Yvan Cournoyer! That is the coolest story! Did you meet him in Winnipeg? 🙂


  14. July 15, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    This cracked me up. I am sure it must be difficult. Go below the Mason- Dixon line and it is different again. Hugs, Barbara


    • July 16, 2014 at 7:19 am

      Awh, thanks, dear Barbara! Oh yes, I’ve been down there and you are right! i wasn’t quite sure where I was, as the language was literally foreign to me! *grin* Hugs, Cher xo


  15. July 15, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Reblogged this on idealisticrebel.


  16. July 16, 2014 at 1:13 am

    Great post (and love the poster, too!). I solved the date issue ages ago; I prefer to write in ascending order (Day, Month, Year), but it can confuse people from elsewhere, so my solution? 16 July 2014. Simple and clear. I’ve been hassled about it more than you’d think, though, logical or not . . .

    Given a choice I always use English spellings and words, although I do have some issues over the English and historical behaviours. I’ve used most of the words and phrases above and have heard them all.

    Second Cup is Canadian, too, and often forgotten. So was Woolworth’s, Woolco, Eaton’s and the Hudson Bay Company, along with Lewiscraft and Crafts Canada. All of them gone now and replaced by poor imitations. sigh . . .

    Sorry, I know you were speaking of words and language; it’s just that Timmies crept in there, which tweaked my own memories. Thanks for all this. It was a great read! ~ Linne


    • July 16, 2014 at 7:18 am

      Hi and thank you so much for stopping by The Chicago Files! I think your method of date delivery is perfect! No confusion which is a good thing! Your list of companies is also welcomed! I wrote a post about Tim Hortons’ 50th Anniversary a few months ago. Timmies always creeps into my post! *grin*

      I missed Eaton’s from the moment the door shut on the store I use to go to about 3 times a week. Woolco was another mainstay from my childhood as well.

      Ah memory lane! Thank you for your great words, and I hope you stop by again soon, Linne! Hugs, Cher xo


  17. July 16, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Funny that we Canadians use these words and think everyone else does too. What do you mean – you don’t know what a Chesterfield is? And we spell centre and theatre and sombre with an ‘re’ at the end, the English way.


    • July 16, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      Hahaha, oh yes, we sure do, don’t we, Cindy? The first time I said to someone in an elevator, “Gee, it is going to be 30 outside today”, I was met with the illustrious deer in the headlights. It was in July, so 30 degrees would not ‘sit’ well since it’s Fahrenheit here! 🙂 Whenever I say, “Litres”, my husband says, “Oh, Lee-trees”! *grin* Thank you for stopping by! Cher xo


  18. laura kilty
    July 31, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    I could have used that loonie-toonie teaching a few weeks ago! I was totally confused when the girl at a cashdesk told me I just had to give her ‘another loonie’. I had that same expression you say your husband had about it ‘spitting out’- which btw, we Irish also say. Actually, a lot of what you said in the post, we also use. Some on the list, not so much- eg tuque which was the subject of a rather confusing, hilarious conversation with my new Canadian friend when I was at the ashram! And let’s all agree, the Americans just do the dates wrong! 🙂


    • July 31, 2014 at 9:06 pm

      Oh isn’t that funny, Laura! Well since my background is Scottish, I am now starting to see that perhaps my expressions and those of a lot of my fellow Canadians have origins in the UK! I remember when Canada started using the loonie and then the toonie. It sounded like we were in Disneyland whenever someone would say, “Can I have two toonies and a loonie for a five?” It made people laugh and I sure did! *LOL* Ah, regarding the date thing: *grin* I’ll just leave it at my grin, shall I? Hahaha! Thank you for your wonderful comments, Laura!! It’s a pleasure to see you! cher xo


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