The staff in our office is international in nature, with one of our agents from the lovely Quebec City in Canada.
So, we thought it would be appropriate to write something special on our neighbors from the north.
Read on. You might learn something that will make your vacation north of the border a pleasurable experience especially when you interact with the locals.
Canadians speak the same language, right?
Well, not quite and if you want to make the most of your vacation in the beautiful and rugged north, you probably want to brush up on a few local terms to feel right at home. Of course, you will see labels and signs throughout Canada in both French and English.
Through extensive travel by those who do lots of it, it has been determined that some Canadian words just don't translate into American English, and vice versa.
Here is a handy glossary of 12 terms you need to know when you do get to visit Canada.
Loonies and Toonies: These cutesy words are weightier than they sound.
They mean money.
Loonies are gold colored $1 coins. The term comes from the loon, which is Canada's national bird and the image on the front of the coin.
Toonies: Toonies are the Loonies' $2 cousin.
Tuque: This is the quintessential winter accessory in Canada. We hear that these winter hats are called ski hats or beanies elsewhere. But Canadians will keep their toques, thank you very much.
Tim Hortons: Canada's favorite coffee and doughnut shop. These shops are located throughout the country. Their wares, often referred to as "Timmies," are a staple in the Canadian diet.
Double-double: Often heard at Tim Horton's, this is the way the pros order a coffee with two creams and two sugars.
Pop: The common word for a soft drink, derived from "soda pop." Up there, soda is the fizzy water that's good for getting pop stains out of clothes.
Washroom: A synonym for bathroom, restroom or toilet. Don't waste precious time looking for the bathroom when all signs point to the washroom.
Poutine: With all the multi-cultural foods peppering Canada, be sure to try this homegrown favorite. This dish of French fries, cheese curds and gravy originated in Quebec and has won fans across the country. Trust me, it tastes better than it sounds.
Canuck: This is a term of endearment for "Canadian" as in the NHL's Vancouver Canucks, who can be seen on "Hockey Night in Canada," a must see TV event for hockey lovers (meaning most of Canada).
Ask any Canadian to hum the theme song, it's a catchy one.
Runners: These are casual sports shoes, otherwise called sneakers or tennis shoes. Runners can join "sneakers" on my unofficial list of oddly named items.
Click/kilometer: Kilometer is such a cumbersome word for measuring distance. The slang "click" is a much faster way to share how many kilometers you've traveled on your Canadian vacation.
Bill: Although you may run into a few friendly Canucks named Bill, chances are you'll meet bill more often. In Canada, a bill is what you pay at a restaurant.
So, next time you're in Canada, counting your loonies and toonies while enjoying your double-double after walking 10 clicks in runners and thinking about asking for the bill, you'll feel right at home.
The Canadians will love you for it to see that you made an effort to learn bits and pieces of their culture before traveling and will welcome you open arms when you do get there.
It makes for such a more interactive vacation experience.
Geraldine Blanchard is vice president of Global Tours and Travel, at 559 W. Eau Gallie Blvd., Melbourne. She can be reached at (321) 676-6040 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information, visit www.globaltours.com.