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Canuck Canadian Identity True Blue Canadians Hosers Tim Hortons Toonies Snowbirds

Who are you calling a “Canuck”, eh?

According to Wikipedia, “Canuck is a slang term for Canadian.” DePaul University’s English professor and linguist, Craig Sirles, believes that the word “Canuck” is derived from an Iroquoian term meaning “from the village”. And that simply collapsed into “Canook” or “Canuck”.

So, what exactly is a Canuck?

Most true blue Canadians would define themselves as Canucks, regardless of where they originally came from. We have Canucks from Asia, Australia, South America and Africa, as well as other parts of North America. Many of them, fervid followers of “our “ national game: hockey, are equally rabid about their own; whether that is bocce, ping pong, rugger, cricket, tennis, futbol, fusbol or soccer. 

As anyone who watches TV can tell you, we Canucks, although no hosers, are known for our clothes: loud plaid shirt, jeans or work pants, heavy jacket and the inevitable toque. Our language, too, is equally distinctive: every statement ends with “eh”.  The voice rises at the end of even a simple statement like “Have a good day, eh”, turning every utterance into a question, real or implied. We carry “toonies”, not two dollar pieces in our pockets, talk about going to “Timmy’s” (Tim Horton’s) to grab a box of “Timbits and a double-double” –  miniature doughnuts and coffee with double cream and sugar. We also barbecue in -25º weather, enjoy sugaring off each spring and snack on beavertails or poutine.

True Canucks are most Canadian when we travel abroad. We wear a Canadian flag in our lapels, or have one sewn onto our knapsacks  Contrary to popular belief, we do this NOT because we hate Americans, but because we’re so proud to be “Canajun, eh!”

Very few of us live in igloos, or teepees. And those who do are, rightly, referred to as “first Canadians.”  It’s not possible to ski all year round, and it only snows in the winter. Which is why Canadians leaving God’s country for the sunny south during those months are referred to as “snowbirds”.

Can anyone become a Canuck? Sure. All you have to do is leave home for ever. Learn how to paddle a canoe. Speak or at least pretend to understand some French. Ditto Spanish, Italian, Cantonese, Urdu, Portuguese, Hindi, Swahili and approximately 100 other “Canadian” languages. Play or a least “talk” a good game of hockey. Swear eternal allegiance to a woman who is not Canadian and lives in another country. And salute a flag that looks like a beer bottle label. Pas de problem la!