Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On Toques and Toboganning (Or Hats and Sledding, If You Speak American)

Yesterday, I had a "Robin moment".

Robin, for those of you who do not watch How I Met Your Mother, is the quintessential Canadian in the show. On many occasions, she makes comments which are foreign to her American counterparts. Usually, on the show, these refer to inaccurate Canadian stereotypes, or are just flat out made up. (Sorry to burst your bubble if you are using the show as an encyclopedia for life in Canada.) I mean, seriously, when's the last time I heard a Canadian refer to someone as a hoser?

Yesterday we were discussing North Face jackets and the conversation drifted along to ski pants, or snow pants, and whether snow pants was an apt name for the garment. In the process of the discussion, I said, "well, I would call them snow pants because you wear them for other snow-related activities such as snowball fights, tackle football or toboganning."

"Toboganning?" was the curious response from my classmates.

"Yeah, you know, when you ride down a hill in a tobogan," I replied.

"We call that sledding."

"Right, and I suppose you don't wear toques either."

Anyway, in order to gain confidence that I was not making up either toques or toboganning, I posted a poll in my Facebook status to see whether anyone else had fond memories of toques or toboganning. The 32 comments that followed seemed to indicate that I had not, in fact, started making up random Canada facts. And that Canadians are indeed passionate about toques and tobogans.

So, my American (and international) friends, let this be a little educational moment for you. If you ever find yourself in Canada, you will need to wear a toque to keep your head warm. And should you wish for the exhilarating activity of flying down a hill at full speed on nothing more than a thin sheet of wood, it's called toboganning, not sledding.


Pink Lemonade said...

Well put Julie! It's snow pants, toques and toboggans!

According to Wikipedia and MW Dictionary the word "toque" comes from the French... so there you go.

But whatever Canadian-isms we have, we definitely don't say aboot! That's just plain strange.

Unknown said...

Im so glad to have been apart of all 32 responses on your (and my) facebook page;) and as you know... i suddenly like this term you canadians use called 'tobagganing'