It seems that depending on which part of this very big country Canadians live in, we have developed different names for the same thing.
For example in one part of the country the popular term for sports footwear might be “running shoes”, where in another part they’re called “sneakers.
A website called “The Ten and Three” has created a survey of sorts looking at what words are popular and whereabouts in the country.
Arik Motskin is co-editor and co-founder of the siteListen
You’re from one area of the country travel to another and want to buy say, cigarettes.
You ask a stranger where the corner store is, and they give you a quizzical look…you explain want you want to buy, and they say oh…a convenience store…
Canada has developed a number of regionalisms, different words to describe the same thing.
The 10 and 3 website, which is an online publication dedicated to a variety of interesting and sometimes quirky Canadian data recently did a fairly comprehensive study of these regional differences, aided by a linguistic expert from Montreal’s McGill University.
They polled more than 9,500 Canadians in an online survey in June about “regional” words, but made sure to only use responses from those who grew up in that region and were still living there.
Interestingly, Quebec is a mainly French speaking province, but with an almost equally long English presence. Quebec English is perhaps even more unique as they have completely adopted some French words.
The corner/convenience store is a depanneur or dep (Interestingly, a “depanneuse” in France is a tow-truck).
While there are quite a few differences for summer vacation property such as cottage or cabin, in Quebec French the word cottage is common, but it has nothing to do with a vacation house, which in both English and French in Quebec is known as a chalet.
The 10 and 3 survey covers a number of different expressions and shows in several maps where those expressions are most common across the country.
Canada sure is interesting, eh?