Party on, Wayne. Events from January to June

How to get familiar with the language that Canadians really use day-to-day? In this series "Canadian English: Quirky, eh?", we take listeners on a romp across Canada making small talk, recognizing signature foods, and navigating head-scratching grammar rules and colloquial expressions. We’ll have you sounding like a Canadian in no time!

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Party on, Wayne.
Events from January to June

Hello! Bonjour! Oi! Welcome, and thanks for tuning in to a new episode of our series Canadian English: Quirky, eh? Let´s poke some fun – and hopefully a lit bit of learning along the way – about some of the quirkier aspects of the English language. In particular, Canadian English.

Canadians love to celebrate. Where there’s a reason, there’s a party. Today we’re going to raise a glass to the festive events that may be unique to Canada but open to the world.

Of course, we Canadians observe with great enthusiasm any national holiday that give us a paid day off work. We are not alone in anticipating the 11 glorious long weekends each year: most cultures celebrate the same or similar religious or traditional events. 

We get equally revved up about the cultural entertainment events like the Oscars, Tonys and Golden Globes, just like the rest of the world.

We are ardent fans of major sporting events from FIFO to WWE, from NASCAR to the Olympics, from the World Series to the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup and the NBA. We the North!

You may recall in a previous episode that I downplayed the Canadian stereotypes parodied in Saturday Night Live comedy skits. Hilarious, yes, but not typical of most Canadians. So I had to laugh at the TV commercials in this year’s Super Bowl broadcast – none other than Mike Myers and Dana Carvey reviving their teenaged characters from Wayne’s World. This is a 2-part episode that pays homage to their comedic genius. Party on, Wayne. 

In today’s installment, we’ll start at the logical beginning of the calendar year. It’s a time when 99% of our population is emerging from the collective food coma of the December holidays, stuffed with sugar plums, gingerbread, turkey and cookies, and still tripping over tinsel and gift wrap. Yet we’re ready to jump right in to new cycle.

January

The segue from those traditional December feasts to the champagne excess of New Year’s is barely noticeable. And then, without missing a beat, we step right into celebrating the Lunar New Year. There’s a significant number of Chinese Canadians in each province, so Kung hei fat choi! 

February

Quebec Winter Carnival – Carnaval d’hiver – is the largest and oldest celebration of winter in the world. Where else can you see a giant dancing snowman everywhere you turn? Where else will you see lumberjacks with chainsaws transforming blocks of ice into filigreed angels? Where else will you see residents and visitors dancing in the streets and singing together in the brutally cold? Where else is it ok to carry a big red plastic cane filled with 40 ounces of a feisty alcoholic concoction known as caribou – it warms from the inside out. 

March

Our most notable tradition of March has to be the delightful practice of sugaring off. Everywhere that maple trees grow, their saps flow and that’s how maple syrup became one of Canada’s top exports. Nowhere is it a bigger industry than in Quebec. The ‘cabane a sucre’ or ‘sugar shack’ experience includes hayrides through the forest, watching the sap thickens as it boils in huge vats, and then ladling the hot syrup into the fresh snow for a crystallized sugar treat. The traditional feast then includes maple-glazed ham, baked beans, pancakes and habitant pea soup.

There’s a significant Irish population in Canada so “the wearing of the green” is respected on St. Patrick’s Day. Many communities host themed events and a proper parade. That’s what I assumed to be the case in Toronto until I finally attended it one year. What I discovered was a very large group of people taking over a main street, stopping at every licensed establishment along the way to partake in green beer. Very popular with the university crowd. Isn’t everybody just a wee bit Irish on St Paddy’s Day?

April

Nothing happens in April. It’s tax month

May

Ahhh… the first long weekend of the season. Although the 24th of May is officially Victoria Day – in honour of Queen Victoria – we tend to call it the May 2/4 weekend. It’s the weekend we grab a few cases of beer and head “Up North” to open up our cottages for the summer season. The docks go in, the critters who have been hibernating inside are sent back outdoors, the bbq’s get fired up. No matter how far north you travel, there’s still more “up north” to get away from it all.

And so starts the weekly Friday afternoon traffic jams as city folk embark on the 2-3 hour trek to cottage country. Places like the Kawarthas, the Muskokas or Haliburton, Whistler and the Sunshine Coast, Banff, Lake Louise, Les Laurentides… The names alone sound idyllic – and they are. 

June

For flamboyant fun with lots of color, laughter, and amazing spectacles, Pride Toronto is the place to be during the last week of June. For the past 40 years, Toronto has opened their welcoming arms to the international LGBT community with one of biggest gay pride festivals in the world. The city takes on a colorful hue as its diverse community celebrates solidarity through music, conferences, and three incredible parades: Trans Pride, Dyke March, and the massive Pride Parade with floats, fancy costumes, feathery boas, all wrapped up in rainbows. Gay couples from around the world take advantage of this event to get married, ever since Canada became one of the first countries to legally recognize same-sex unions.

Summer in Canada is when the festivals kick into high gear. Join us next time when we’ll take a peek at the Calgary Stampede, the CNE, TIFF and many more.

We hope you enjoyed  today´s  episode. Please take a moment to give us your feedback and like us with the big fans up. Fill free to play it again and share it with friends and family.

You have been listening to Canadian English, Quirky, eh? The podcast series produced by Brazilian Wave Canada. This project was made possible through the generous support of the Canadian Periodical Fund. If you want to subscribe to the series and have access to the exclusive episodes, please sign in at waveplus.ca.

Until then,

Catch you later!                                                                                 

Adieu!

Tchau!

Stay healthy!

Glossary

Feathery boa: A fashion accessory that is usually worn wrapped around the neck like a scarf. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feather_boa)

Filigree: Filigree (also less commonly spelled filagree, and formerly written filigrann or filigrene) is a form of intricate metalwork used in jewellery and other small forms of metalwork. “Filigree” has been used metaphorically as a term for intricate ornamental designs in a number of other contexts. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filigree)

Hibernate: An inactive state resembling deep sleep in which certain animals living in cold climates pass the winter. (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/hibernation)

Hilarious: Extremely funny and causing a lot of laughter. (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/hilarious)

Idyllic: An idyllic place or experience is extremely pleasant, beautiful, or peaceful. (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/idyllic?q=Idyllic)

Lumberjack: A person whose job is to cut down trees that will be used for building, etc. or to transport trees that have been cut down. (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/lumberjack?q=Lumberjacks)

Stereotype: A set idea that people have about what someone or something is like, especially an idea that is wrong. (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/stereotype?q=Stereotypes)

Vat: A large container used for mixing or storing liquid substances, especially in a factory. (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/vat?q=Vats)

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Podcast – Canadian English: Quirky, eh?

Produced by BRZ Group Inc., Canada, 2021

  • Director: Christian Pedersen
  • Production Coordinator: Ana Carolina Botelho
  • Scriptwriter: Lauri Richardson
  • Voices: Eric Major and Lauri Richardson
  • Vignettes: Robson DJ Estudio 
  • Website Production & Marketing: Creative Team
  • Project Management: Teresa Botelho