Camp Canada Canadianisms

Here’s a quick guide to some phrases and words you might hear the local Canadians using during your camp placement (or maybe you came across some of these this past summer if you’re a NYQUEST alumni)! Some are stereotypical Canadianisms, while others are specific to camp life in general. Think of it as a Camp Canada glossary. Let us know if there are any more we should add to the list!


Beavertail: a fried dough pastry that is topped with delicious ingredients (reference)

Buddy system: when campers are paired up in the swimming area to ensure their mutual safety

Canuck: nickname for a person from Canada

Cottaging: Actually going to spend some time at a friend/family member’s cottage (no other meaning!)

Colour wars: the most intense and competitive event at summer camp where campers are divided into teams, each assigned a colour, and compete in different challenges (reference)

Double-Double: a coffee with two creams and two sugars (reference)

Eavestrough: the “gutter” that runs along the eaves of a building to catch rain/leaves

Eh?: a Canadian’s way of saying, “don’t you agree?”, or “could you repeat that please?”

Flagpole: a camp-wide meeting that usually takes place around the flagpole in the morning where announcements are made

“For sure”: “Definitely”

Ga-ga: variation of dodgeball game played at camp (reference)

Gimp: a knotting camp craft that uses flat colourful plastic string to make bracelets

Giv’n r: doing something really well or enthusiastically

Housecoat: a bathrobe

Hydro: electricity

Keener: a person who is extremely eager

Kerfluffle: a big commotion

Klick: a short-form of “kilometre”

Knapsack: another word for backpack

Kraft Dinner/KD: macaroni and cheese made from a box (reference)

Loonie: one dollar coin (reference)

Mountie: Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer (reference)

Muskoka chair: large wooden deck chair (reference)

Pencil Crayon: coloured pencil

Polar bear dip: a camp activity where you jump in the lake in the early morning before breakfast

Pop: a soft drink or soda pop

Poutine: french fries covered with gravy (poutine sauce) and cheese curds (reference)

Runners: running shoes/sneakers

Soaker: what you call your foot after stepping in a deep puddle, lake, or river

Timbits: donut holes (reference)

Timmies: Tim Horton’s coffee

Toonie: two dollar coin (reference)

Toque: a knit winter hat

Tuck Shop: a small store at camp that sells small items for campers to buy while away from home

Washroom: a bathroom/restroom/the toilet/the loo

Zed: the letter “zee”