By Caitlin Kelly
One of the pleasures/ challenges of changing countries a few times is learning a whole new vocabulary and set of cultural/political/economic/historical references.
This always strikes me when I visit Canada, where I lived ages 5 to 30, and feel comfortable sharing references there that my American friends would never get — the same issue applies when I cross the border and head back to New York.
Mounties (and stuffed teddy bears that look like them)
Public Lending Rights Program
The Canada Council
The Privy Council
portage (verb and noun)
how to pronounce Yonge Street
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
peace, order and good government
Order of Canada
Je me souviens
Queen Victoria’s birthday holiday
wearing a poppy pin on November 11
In Flanders Fields poem
Banting and Best
The people’s house
the BQE/LIE/ Route 66
a full ride scholarship
life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
a Hail Mary pass
calling an audible
the thrice-folded American flag presented at military funerals
OK, what did I forget?
8 thoughts on “The ole cultural code-switch”
I only knew 7 of the Canadian terms –
which ones? Would you like any of them explained?
a 24 is a pack of 24 beer(s)
Pouding chomeur is a Quebec style bread pudding (YUMMY)
Tourtiere is a meat pie
RRSP is an IRA
A GIC is a CD (investment vehicle)
a riding is a voting district
PLR is a sort of library royalties system for authors like me
The Canada Council is like the NEH…a grant making body for creatives
OSAP is Ontario Student loans
CPP is the = of Social Security and Old Age Security is an added benefit payment
NDP is a political party (leftist)
TRC is an effort to make reparations to indigenous Canadians
QC is Queen’s Counsel — an honorary designation for lawyers…
I gave up!
I understand – poutine, mounties, an MP, Tim Horton’s, CBC, deke, post-secondary education. the rest are a mystery to me ). maybe you could do a ‘translation’ key for myself and others –
I got a fair amount of the Canadian ones, since Lynette has made me an honorary Canadian. Poutine, Tim Horton’s (The Calgary Airport has two) Queen Victoria’s birthday (May 24, thank you RUSH!) You might have mentioned Rush, Gordon Lightfoot, Margaret Atwood and, of course, Red Green.
Down here in South Canada, where I live (It’s a small country, a little over half an acre, with a population of two.) We also wear the poppy on Veteran’s day. The triangle is the way the flag is always supposed to be folded. I was surprised not to see the PCH on your list. I’ll grow tired of typing before I grow tired of things to add, so I’ll just stop here and read on.
Good post, thank you.
Thanks! I never knew the reason for the three folds…very moving.