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Jenn Burke | Canadianisms, Eh?


A few years back, when I started writing and sending my words out to beta readers, I ran into an obstacle I had never anticipated. I’d set this particular story in some generic city in the United States in order to appeal to the widest audience, and one of my American readers pointed out something. Apparently Americans don’t refer to their country as “the States”.


See, in Canada, we say that all the time. We never refer to the U.S. as “America”, maybe because Canada is technically (North) America too, I’m not sure. At any rate, my reader’s comment got me thinking about other words and phrases we commonly use north of the 49th Parallel that our neighbours to the south might not.

Eh – This ubiquitous Canada word needs to be mentioned, of course. Not every sentence ends with “eh”, but we do use it frequently. (I once surprised an American friend by using it; she’d thought it was a myth!) It’s intended as an invitation for your dialogue partner to comment and usually means something like “don’t you think” or “wouldn’t you agree”. Example: “It’s cold today, eh?” “Sure is!”

Two-four – This is a case of 24 cans or bottles of beer. An important saying, particularly for the summer months and BBQ season.

Ghost car – An unmarked police car. They like to hide and catch speeders.

Toque – A knitted cap typically worn in the winter. A beanie is something else entirely.

Pencil crayon – A coloured pencil. Why we don’t just call it a coloured pencil, I don’t know.

Runners – This is what we call running shoes. Because that’s what you are in them, a runner!

Chocolate bar – You know, like a Mars bar or Caramilk, or Coffee Crisp. Oh, you don’t have those? You’re missing out!

Loonie or Toonie – A $1 or $2 coin, respectively. No, there is no relation to Looney Tunes. The $1 coin has a loon stamped on one side, hence the name “loonie”. When the $2 coin came out with the polar bear, the idea of calling it the “bearie” was tossed around but ultimately flopped.

For more fun comparisons of Canadianisms, check out 55 Canadianisms You May Not Know or Are Using Differently on Geekmom.com. I had a lot of fun looking through this list!

Readers, enjoy more Canadianisms in Burke's Ottowa-set paranormal romance, HER SEXY SENTINEL.


The most dangerous thing they could do is fall in love…

Callie Noble fled to Ottawa to escape danger. But she is far from safe. Overwhelmed by a strange new power she can't control, Callie is terrified and painfully incapacitated. Her only hope is to seek the help of the one man who broke her heart...

Derrick Llewellyn is one of the Sentinels charged with the protection of the city's mysterious secret. Seeing Callie again is a shock enough, but the electricity between them is stronger than ever. Still, loving another marked individual is forbidden, and Callie needs his help—not romantic complications.

But there are forces at work in the city, and Callie finds herself inexorably drawn into a world filled with danger and untold magics. A world where loving Derrick isn't just forbidden...it's the surest way to drive them both mad.

About Jenn Burke

Jenn’s always been drawn to weird and wonderful stories, particularly those juxtaposed with our normal, boring world. Her love of the written word prompted her to get a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Ottawa, and she’s spent the years since working in corporate and web communications—and dreaming up weird and wonderful stories of her own. A self-confessed geek, Jenn loves spending time in the worlds of video games, surfing her favorite websites, reading all the romance novels she can get her hands on, and accumulating an impressive collection of nerdy T-shirts. She currently lives outside of Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband, two kids, and her writing helper, Alenko the husky.




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