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Canadianisms: Prairies

A Canadianism is a word or expression that is used only in Canada. When a Canadianism is used in a specific region of Canada, it is called a regionalism. Below is a small sample of Prairie regionalisms, that is, words or expressions that originate and are used only in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Prairie regionalisms

Word or expression Meaning and example

A bootful of snow or water

Example: My foot sank in the deep snow, and I ended up with a booter.


A hooded sweatshirt

Note: This term is most commonly heard in Saskatchewan. In other parts of Canada, this garment is known as a “hoodie.”

Example: Bunnyhugs make good gifts for teenagers and young adults.


Fancy baked treats (cookies, cakes, etc.) usually served at a social gathering

Note: This term is always used in the plural.

Example: After the house concert, dainties were served.

Halloween apples!

Interjection used by children on Halloween to collect candies, corresponding to the phrase “Trick or treat!” used in other parts of Canada

Example: When I answered the door, a little girl dressed as a goblin shouted, “Halloween apples!”


A jam-filled doughnut

Example: My favourite doughnut is a jambuster dusted with cinnamon.

late lunch

A traditional midnight spread of rye bread, cold cuts and mustard served at a social (See definition of “social” below.)

Example: At a social, the guests are traditionally served a late lunch.

matrimonial cake

A date square

Example: Martha passed around a platter of brownies and matrimonial cake.


A public social gathering held before a wedding to raise money for the couple that is to be married

Elsewhere in Canada, this type of event may be known as a “stag and doe” or a “Jack and Jill.”

Example: To help the young couple get started, their friends organized a social.

spongee, sponge hockey

A hockey-like sport that originated in Winnipeg

Spongee is played on ice with a sponge puck. Instead of skates, players wear thickly-padded sponge shoes.

Example: The girls are playing in a spongee tournament this weekend.

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