Canada Vacation Tips: 12 Must Know Terms to Make Your Life Easier While Traveling in Canada

Americans and 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 all over in Canada in both French and English. But, through my extensive travels I’ve learned that some Canadian words just don’t translate into American English, and vice versa.

So, here is a handy glossary of 12 Terms You Need To Know When You Visit Canada:

  1. Loonies and Toonies – These cutesy words are far weightier than they sound. They mean money. Loonies are gold colored $1 coins. Where does this term come from? Well the Loon is the national bird appearing on the front of the $1 coin. The lonesome call of the Loon is a familiar sound in the Canadian wilderness.
  2. Toonies -Yes, you guessed it. Toonies are the Loonies $2 cousin.
  3. Tuque – The quintessential winter accessory in Canada. We hear that these winter hats are called “ski hats” or “beanies” elsewhere. But Canadians will keep their tuques, thank you very much.
  4. Tim Hortons – Canada’s favorite coffee and donut shop. Located throughout the country and often referred to as “Timmies”, it’s a staple in the Canadian diet.
  5. Double-double – Often heard at Tim Horton’s, this is the way the “pros” order a coffee with two creams and two sugars
  6. Pop The common word for a soft drink, deriving from “soda pop”. Up here, soda is the fizzy water that’s good for getting pop stains out of clothes.
  7. Washroom – A synonym for bathroom, restroom or toilet. Don’t waste precious time looking for the bathroom when all signs point to the washroom.
  8. Poutine – With all the multi-cultural foods peppering Canada, be sure to try this homegrown favorite on your vacation. This dish of French fries, cheese curds and gravy originated in Quebec has won fans across the country. Trust me, it tastes better than it sounds!
  9. 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. Hockey Night in Canada is a must see TV event for hockey lovers…meaning most of Canada. Ask any Canadian on your vacation to hum the theme song – it’s a catchy one!
  10. Runners – These are casual sports shoes, otherwise called sneakers or tennis shoes. “Runners” can join “sneakers” on my unofficial list of oddly named items.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

School History Trips to Unlock the History of Athens

School history trips bring students into contact with the past, showing them what their texts refer to. In Athens, where ancient monuments still stand, the distant past can be better appreciated: students can know how it felt to stand on the Akropolis beside the imposing Parthenon, or leave the city to visit the nearby Oracle at Delphi. Any school student taking History or Classics classes will benefit from visits to the great city of Athens.

The Akropolis of Athens

The most famous site in Athens is undoubtedly its Akropolis, a citadel on a rocky outcrop rising approximately 150 metres above the centre of the city. It was in use by human habitants of the region for thousands of years before the city of Athens developed and thrived in the Archaic and Classical periods. What stands on the Akropolis today dates to those periods: the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion, the Theatre of Dionysos Eleuthereus, and more.

Visiting the Akropolis of Athens on school history trips, students will first be awed by the marble steps and monumental gateway — the Propylaia — that take them onto the top of the hill. The massive structure of the Parthenon, the temple to the city’s patron goddess Athena, dominates the hilltop and draws all visitors to it. It is a staggering work of ancient architecture and the centre of Athenian celebrations in Athena’s name. Other surviving structures, such as the Erechtheion on the top of the Akropolis — with its porch held up by Caryatids — and the Theatre of Dionysos on the hill’s side, where many of the famous tragedies and comedies of ancient Athens were performed, complete this sensory introduction into the scale and shape of Athenian public life.

The nearby Akropolis Museum is an excellent next stop for students on school history trips, as it provides a wealth of material culture associated with and found on the Akropolis – from spindle whorls to statues. Elsewhere in Athens, sites such as the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Andrian’s Arch are beautiful, well-preserved monuments.

The Oracle at Delphi

Young visitors can trace the steps of many famed people in the ancient world by leaving Athens to visit the Oracle at Delphi. The Athenian tragedian Aeschylus wrote that the significance of Delphi began in prehistory with worship of Gaea, and certainly the site has long been in use, with a wealth of Mycenaean remains found there. Most of the ruins visible on the mountainside today date to the 6th century CE, including the reconstructed Temple of Athens (dedicated at Delphi in honour of the Athenians’ victory at the battle of Marathon) and the remains of the Temple of Apollo, a theatre and a stadium for the Pythian games held at the site. The rock on which the Oracle sat and prophesied is still in situ. Young learners on school history trips can stand beside it and contemplate the role of prophecy in the ancient world.