I’ve spent the last 10 months as the official travel blogger for the province of Saskatchewan here in Canada. Needless to say, I’ve become quite familiar with every corner of this geographically extensive province. Saskatchewan also happens to be where I was born and raised. Sometimes I forget how distinct Saskatchewan (and Western Canadian) dialects and mannerisms are from our neighboring provinces or countries.
Recently, I met Andrew who moved from Eastern Canada to a small town within the province. We spent the day together while I was touring the town of Indian Head. We had hilarious conversations about some of the awkward situations he’s found himself in while trying to understand what everyone else was talking about.
According to Andrew’s experiences, here are 10 things (of many) that are different from Eastern Canada.
1. Taking the Grids
We’ve a lot of land, and not too many people to fill it. That’s why you’ll find roads of varying construction around Saskatchewan. With 26,000 kilometres of paved road, but 134,000 kilometres of grid roads you often need to ‘take the grids’ to get to your destination. What we simply mean is that you need to drive on graveled, unpaved or unsealed roads designed in grids to get to where you’re going.
2. Bleeding Green
This isn’t so much a term as a way of life. In Saskatchewan we both wear and bleed green in the form of the Saskatchewan Roughriders gear and pride. If, for some odd reason you aren’t familiar, the Riders are our local CFL football team that we’re pretty passionate about. So passionate in fact, we like to carve out watermelons and wear them on our heads at games in support of the team.
Spelling slough is almost as tricky as figuring out what one is. In Saskatchewan, they’re the equivalent of a small wetland, swamp or pond. Considering the province has over 100,000 lakes and rivers, you’ll find quite a few sloughs, especially on farmland.
4. The R.M.
Saskatchewan is known for some strange town names: Moose Jaw, Elbow and Eyebrow to list a few. That’s why it wasn’t surprising when Andrew was uncertain where “the arm” was located in Saskatchewan. What he was really hearing were people talking about the RM – or rural municipality – our version of counties or townships.
5. Heading to the Cabin
Many families in Saskatchewan own a cabin on one of the thousands of lakes I mentioned earlier. In our short summer season, you’ll often hear people comment they’re heading to the cabin for the weekend. Out east, people refer to cabins as cottages. To them cabins are a basic shed, often without indoor plumbing. If you’ve seen the cabins-that-are-essentially-homes on our lake shores, you’ll understand why Andrew was a bit confused by this terminology.
6. Bush League
A bush league call by a ref in a hockey or football game will leave fans upset and fired-up. Since we’re pretty passionate about sports, it’s no surprise we have a variety of terms dedicated to voicing our opinions when we disagree with what’s happening on the field or on the ice.
7. “In the rhubarb”
Most people are familiar with rhubarb in the form of a plant used in crumbles, crisps, and pies. But in Saskatchewan, it also means hitting the ditch. Keeping it out of the rhubarb isn’t always easy in our icy winter driving conditions.
I couldn’t help but grin when he told me, but Andrew wasn’t quite sure what people meant when they were talking about gotch. Out east, men’s underwear are simply referred to as boxers or briefs and not ‘gotch’ or ‘gitch’.
9. Ordering a Pil
No, it’s not a shady drug deal going down in your local bar, it’s actually someone ordering one of Saskatchewan’s favourite beers: a pilsner. Molson is one of the most popular and also happens to be the beer brand of choice that sponsors the Saskatchewan Roughriders. We also love the Great Western Brewing Company pilsners brewed right here in Saskatoon and popular across western Canada.
10. Politeness of the Prairies: The Small Town Wave
Once you leave the city behind, you enter a different world of friendly people and country charm. When you pass another vehicle on the grids, you automatically give them a hand wave or a nod as you go by. We’re also guilty of smiling and saying ‘hi’ to strangers, something that might be deemed as peculiar in a big city.
These are just a few examples of the many things that make this province so unique. Know any other terms that are distinctly Saskatchewan? Share ’em below in the comments!
211 Replies to “Saskatchewan’s Distinct Dialect: 10 Phrases Unique To This Province”
Wow -the memories came back when reading the above Saskatchewan sayings and comments. I have lived in England for the last 35 years and still wave and speak to people in the street. Growing up on a farm in the north bush country you sort of don’t lose your uniqueness. You can take the boy off the farm but you can’t take the farm out of the boy. Thanks for the great posting.
Bush league is not strictly for sports. It’s hard to explain, but I’ve never used it for sports.
You forgot bunny hug. Saskatchewan and a small portion of Manitoba know what a bunny hug is. It’s a puller over zipperless sweater., It has a hood and a pouch like pocket where your hand can go through both ends.
Also forgot Saskabush, Originally, it was the nickname for Saskatoon. Outside of Saskatoon, it’s a generalized nickname for the province. Where it came from is not clear.
I’m from Luseland SK.
“Six miles north to the correction line, ..” The lines of longitude converge at the poles. They get closer and closer together. Doesn’t work perfectly for “the grid”. As you travel north, there has to be a “correction” to the straight line of the road. Sometimes the correction is a curve, sometimes a right angle. You drive north or south for a distance, the road will turn to the east or west for a short distance and then continue again in a straight line north or south. The same would be true everywhere except that there are different (older) methods of setting up land tenure. (the “long lot” running back from the river in Quebec and along the Red River in Manitoba (Metis communities), I think called a seigneurial system. The prairie provinces were surveyed as they entered Canada starting in 1871. The survey laid out road allowances in a regular grid, “two miles apart from north to south and one mile from east to west”. I don’t know how far apart the correction lines are spaced. I felt a bit sorry for hunters who came from the USA and Central Canada in the fall to shoot geese and ducks. It was not uncommon for bends in the road to be unmarked. A bad one east and north of Luseland – – the usual straight grid goes over a hill and turns abruptly to go round a slough. More than one vehicle ended up in the slough!
We lived for 15 years in N.S. Moms helped out in a classroom. Helping to get kindergarten kids bundled up to go outside at recess. I asked a little guy, “Do you have a toque?”. He looked at me like I was from another planet. Zero comprehension. Hands on head – – “toque?”. Still nothing. “Do you have a HAT?”. His face lit up. The French and Metis have long roots in western Canadian fur-trading history. Saskatchewan-speak reflects it. People in N.S. don’t know “toboggan”. They have “sleds” which seems to include toboggans (?) but to me sleds have runners on them.
“Prairie oysters” are the testicles of bulls, I believe, but I’ve never eaten them. I suppose they follow the castration of male calves after which they are steers.
Northern lights – – fantastic! A few times have pulled over to side of road and watched the display in the night sky for an hour. Spellbound.
Politics! no shying away from those discussions!
Chesterfield instead of couch or sofa.
There’s “PA speak”, seemingly only spoken around Prince Albert, where people will use double-negative words as praise. Example- if you have a nice car, “Poor deadly car you don’t have!”
Saskabush, gaunch not gotch, bush leagues meaning any not professional or mainstream enterprise, Norwegian uncle (any unsophisticated unsocial awkward bachelor uncle).
Haha bush league is definitely a good Sask. phrase I’ve used more than once! I admit I’ve not heard of Norwegian Uncle though! Always fun to hear about new Sask. terms 🙂
My Dad always used to say “gotch.” Regina born and raised! I’d forgotten until I read this.
I’m born there too. Didn’t live there long, but long enough that I bleed green. Go Riders!
I know smoking is taboo nowdays, even I have quit, but does anyone remember stopping the tractor to twirl yourself a rollie.
Dad use to roll himself a good old stogie with one hand, and make his coffee and us breakfast, if it went out held just relight…..
Rider fans are the best. I used to work at the Edmonton International Airport and one time I saw these guys in full Rider gears (with watermelon helmets) and there wasn’t even a football game on. And when we were kids my brother would play a car game when we got to any small town in Saskatchewan, basically wave at other cars/people and see how many people wave back at you.
When I was a young girl in the 1950s, I wore ‘pedal pushers’ which later came to be known as capris.
How many of you remember learning about the ‘schwa’ sound in elementary school? For those of you who do not recall that word, think of a word that does not use either the long sound or the short sound of a vowel. An example is the word ‘call’; another one is ‘been’, which is enunciated as ‘bin’.
As for the folks who say “I seen” in place of “I saw” or “I have seen”, proper usage of the correct verb tense should have been learned in the early years of schooling. So, it is perhaps a lazy way of expressing yourself.
I was born and raised in the Swift Current area. On election night, April 4th, a woman was asked why she voted for a particular party and her reply was, “They done good.” Yes, that statement made her sound like a hillbilly from the back country. I would like to see folks take more pride in speaking and writing correctly.
Going to the biffy or the can,siwash sweaters,
How about when someone is leaving a group of people and you hear them say ” see yous all later” . I’m a 4th generation flatlander and have lived here most of my life… also we used the term ” hit the dingweeds ” for going in the ditch… also giving directions by reference points instead of address… ” head down the Atwater grid until you get just past the Cutarm creek, then hang a ralph and go for about 3 or 4 miles, then hang a louie and head down this winding trail for a ways until you see 3 tall spruce trees on a hill… that’s where the bush party is tonight.
A couple more i don’t think were mentioned: “vi-co” which is a chocolate milk, “beep” which was an orange drink. Back in the days when milk delivery was happening.
I noticed bunny-hug and kangaroo were already mentioned.
A “dart” is a cigarette, a Regina thing.
We used to always try to find someone to “pull” for us at the “LB”? I see someone mentioned “pull”, and “LB” being the Liquor Board.
Last point.. People from the Lumsden area have an accent.. no lie!
ahhhh Saskatchewan… where time stands still… meaning we don’t take part in daylight savings! 😉
I’m a born-and-raised Sasky so I take a lot of these Saskatchewan-isms for granted. But a friend of mine, from the East coast, was confused with the term kitty-corner. He thought it was a pet store!
‘I’m a born-and-raised Sasky’. lol that you would admit to that
Of course I would! I’m very proud of where I was born and raised 🙂
I’m surprised no one mentioned ‘Stubble Jumpers!!’ !! Yes .. We prairie folk are called that when we leave our wonderful province!! Most of us return!!! HAPPILY!!
I enjoyed reading your article Ashlyn and the subsequent comments from your readers – brought back a lot of memories from my youth. Here’s something I’ve noticed. Growing up in Saskatchewan, we called ‘roads’ that really weren’t officially roads (not part of the grid and certainly not maintained) a prairie trail, but I’ve learned that here in Alberta they are called goat trails.
And I grew up calling them cow trails! Funny how similar yet different it can be 😀
Turkey trails for me.
When we were underage, we would ask someone to go to the pub & “pull us some beer”.
Yes! I called it that too! Haven’t thought about that in a while!
“Frajolaki” or “Frazolaki” is an item difficult to find on a Greek menu outside of Saskatchewan! Although even here these days, it’s harder and harder to find.
Really?! I had no idea that it’s a Saskatchewan thing! Really interesting!
Heard people refer to the garlic curtain. (heading east on the Yellowhead towards Yorkton from Saskatoon). Get past Quill Lake and you’re passing through the “Garlic Curtain” because its where many Ukrainian immigrants settled.
Yes! Haha I was raised in that region. I’m a sucker for garlic sausage and perogies 😉
Me too! AND, little Ukrainian cabbage rolls, with just rice & bacon in them & rolled in sour cabbage. Yum! I have tried to make them but they just are’nt the same!
Beet leaf rolls are my fav!
“Behind the garlic curtain” or “in the Perogy Belt” – interchangeable terms
My mom was from Crystal Springs by Wakaw, and the people around there used to use the word “prit’near” which was short for “pretty near” and meant “almost”. For example, “I prit’near fell off the back of the truck today when I was unloading.” Don’t know if people still say that.
Haha people definitely do say that!
I’m from Weyburn…why is it that the only place you could get chips and gravy after school, was at a Chinese restaraunt.
The Chinese restaurant in the town I grew up in used to make great sizzling steak. Seems like they cater to all tastes 😉
Definitely bismark. I had a terrible time explaining it to a bakery one time….Not sure if it was a Swift Current area thing or not. I have seen them called bismarks in a few places “across the line” . And telling people who think we are all flatlanders, that the highest point between Labrador and the Rockies is in Sas catch u won.
That is a good one! I didn’t realize it was so specifically Canadian (and parts of the US) until I (coincidentally) looked it up online the other day!
A few linguistic ticks:
It seems the majority of Saskatchewanians tend to pronounce the province name as Saskatchew”en” rather than Saskatchew”an”, not always true but seems to be fairly common.
Also my significant other is from Ontario and puts the emphasis in “Saskatoon” on the first syllable rather than the last, I hear it every time she says it but she has no idea what I’m talking about.
Our pronunciation definitely blurs the line between ‘wan’ and ‘wen’. I’ve asked a few people to see how they answer!
Saskatchewanisms: bunny hug, take the grid, just past the speed curve put er in low or you’ll end up in the slough. No, not the borrow pit, the slough. No, there’s no pond. No pond anywhere around here. You mean like the cee-ment pond on the Beverley hillbillies?
I was born on the farm in 1919 near a one horse town called Meacham. My birth certificate states: Section 34, township 35, range 27, West of the second meridian.
What was not talked about Saskatchewan, was the wheat fields. I grew up in Saskatoon but as a teenager I went threshing. I started by looking after the binder. Then I went stooking and after that threshing.
My father was an immigrant. This is how he explained threshing to my mother:
“A rich farmer buys a machine which is run by a steam engine and also buys a separator. You throw whole sheaves into the separator. The machine throws out chopped up stalks and wheat separately. I got two and a half dollars a day and board. ( In the 30s I got one dollar a day ). The meals are excellent. In New York they would cost 75 cents.
The workers are separated into three groups : One third of the workers remain in the field and pitch the sheaves onto a large wagon. One third stay on the wagon and arrange the sheaves that are pitched on. The last is the teamsters who drive the horses. The teamsters drive the hay rack to the separator where a man throws the sheaves into the separator.
The wheat is caught into a wagon which is then taken to the elevator and stored.”
When I went threshing, I would stop at the railroad station of a small town. Other men came off the trains and gathered there to see if a farmer needed help. The farmer would chose the men he wanted and drove them to his place. We slept together in a bunk house. That I did not like.
Wow loved hearing this insight into so early on in Saskatchewan’s history. Thanks for sharing the story and details Jack! Farming has really come a long way! 🙂
I’m surprised no one mentioned thongs! C’mon! Guys and girls both wear them in SK. I remember commenting on a girl’s thongs while in Toronto and almost got slapped! I quickly corrected myself. And Saskatoon was often pronounced S’toon, just like the abbreviation.
Haha here in Sask. you might get the same reaction as in Toronto! My parents used to call flip flops thongs but don’t anymore because of the word’s use as women’s underwear! Too funny though 🙂
If you had cattle you know how a cowlick tastes. You’ve tasted your share of chokecherry wine and played in the hayloft. You drank water from a dipper and knew if the cistern was full.
Haha I read this to my mom and she definitely knew what a cowlick tasted like!
I have done all those things. Often playing in the hayloft while carrying a chunk of cowlick salt, and then quenching my thirst from the dipper attached to the well pump. Good times!
How many remember changing the cultivator shoes?
And it was always at least 85 out doin’ it too!
Back in the day all towns, villages and hamlets had elevators, thus Elevator Road..where every teenager with a drivers license and a pickup went to do some necking.
Miss a lot of those prairie sentinels!
Great article! Only thing I would challenge is the statement that “most families in Saskatchewan own a cabin.” Lots of folks do, but I would say the vast majority don’t. Despite our quaintness in many ways, our province has the same issues as other provinces, including homelessness and high rates of poverty (not to be a downer, but true), which means problems acquiring any home, let alone a residential property.
Yes I was thinking the same thing about all these people owning a cabin I sure didn’t know to many of them unless you called the house they lived in all the time a cabin I knew a few of them
Thanks Lesley! And yes, I agree not everyone owns a cabin and cannot afford one. I didn’t grow up spending time at one myself. I think my main point is that people in Saskatchewan refer to them as cabins and not cottages. 😉
My aunt owned a cottage at Kenosee Lake and got very angry if you called it a cabin. I don’t know why but suspect it was a status thing
I grew up in Dysart, Saskatchewan and we raised our family in Milden, Saskatchewan. Although we now live in Alberta we still say bunny hug and we know what Vico is! We also referred to hooded sweatshirts as kangaroos. I still bleed green, I miss taking the grid, and going to the Board Store. I am proud to be from Saskatchewan.
I’ve never heard of hooded sweatshirts as kangaroos, but it makes sense! More so than bunnyhug.
Men referred to their loved ladies as their little Bunny’s, and if at a bush party or fire pit and they were cold they’d wrap their arms around u for a bunny hug from behind. Sliding both sets of hands in the pocket together. Hence bunny hugs!
That’s an interesting take on the term! Do you know what generation this started in?
Bunny hugs started in the late 70’s, I think- I’m from Vermilion, AB & we wore them then.
Loved the article- we were a stone’s throw away from Saskatchewan and things were all the same where I grew up. I’ve been in Toronto for over 30 years and STILL regard myself a westerner/Albertan…
You can also add Siwash(sp?) to these which was a heavily knitted sweater usually with a fish or animal knit in them….called a Cowichan in B.C.
I grew up in Melville and didn’t know until I joined the RCAF and left home that that Vico was only the brand name for chocolate milk, and NOT the name of the chocolate favored drink!! Who would have thunk it.
Just make sure you don’t hit an approach when you’re in the rhubarb. I love those grids where’s no ditch at all. Just straight onto the field.
Haha I have a friend or two who have hit an approach… didn’t turn out so well for the truck but everyone was okay
Let’s go to a bush party at Lloyds flat, pil hill or molsons graveyard. How about hunting Jumpers.
Not only do we have sloughs; we have “ponds” specifically dug to ensure water for the cattle in winter. We have to go “down” to the pond to chop the “water hole” for the cattle. Often geographically, people lived on the “heavy clay” land, on the “alkaline” land, or, the “scrub brush” where nothing will grow! In the area I grew up in “nuisance grounds” were on someone’s “back forty” and was not a legal dumping ground. Each RM had a garbage dump, but based on distance “nuisance grounds” emerged on the corner of someone’s land in by a slough. There are also “borrow pits” where soil was taken to build highways. “Nough said”. Good Day and great to see you, how;ve you bin keepin?” Another favourite topic next to the Riders if the “Weather”. Please and thank you still remain as part of our day and most still remove their hats at church or during a meal.
We still call them dugouts here.
I still call them dugouts too 🙂
I’ve traveled back and forth to the east several times, taking my SK slang with me and confounded Easterner’s several times. Not only with some of the former terms mentioned, but a few of these as well. I once commented on a ‘nice dugout’ in a person’s ‘back forty’. On another occasion, I suggested they should, ‘blade the road’, while the vehicle twisted and turned sideways on washboard. Near Niagara, I walked with the owner of a vineyard after a hailstorm and commented, ‘The Great White Combine had done a good job.’ While testing dogs, I asked for a ‘gunny sack’ and pointed out a ‘gibbled’ dog. At a store in Toronto, I asked if they had more ‘pantses’ in than what they had on display.
In every instance, there is always a look of confusion on the person’s face, a hesitation and they will finally ask what I’m talking about. So, you know you’re from Saskatchewan when…
I have fond memories of attending Notre Dame in Wilcox, working at times in Saskatchewan and the wonderful people I have met. My favorite saying when it is +30C and the wind and dust is blowing is “Today reminds me of the month I spent one day in Split Lip Saskatchewan”
Interesting! I’m unfamiliar with that saying!
My favourite Saskatchewanism that I’ve encountered just in the last few years with people moving here is that they have no idea what sun dogs are! Some say they never seen them and others just said they either never noticed or never knew there was a name for them.
I never realized that one! I wonder if there must be other names for sundogs!
I always loved the sundog of Saskatchewan, but amazingly saw sundogs a few weeks ago in Thailand where I now live.
I grew up in Regina; my husband in the south-east (near Kenosee). I’m a linguist. Though we live in BC now, Saskatchewan, oh how I love her. 🙂 Things I have noticed:
1) Davidson has a distinct dialect of its own.
2) The storytelling tense. Older men especially do this. When telling a story, a lot of rural Saskatchewan people have a really weird tense for verbs. “So I’m walkin’ to the co-op, and I sees Jim, he’s eatin’ dinner with his old man.” And “I’m” can even be “I’s”. I’s walkin…
3) Old man/Old lady. Does this still mean Dad and Mom in Saskatchewan? Or has it become husband/wife? I remember being very startled the first time someone referred to my husband as my old man.
4) Everything everyone above said. I’m pretty sure the “gotch” thing is false though. I’ll look into it. It would be seriously cool if it were true.
Gotch and gitch are absolutely slang for underwear in Saskatchewan. And “panty” for girls underwear.
Gotch is men’s underwear and gitch is women’s underwear, they are not interchangeable. Panties are also women’s underwear.
Long gotch and short gitch.
People definitely say old man/old lady! I also notice many people say “I seen” – that one drives me nuts 🙂
Also linguistically I seen her leave the parking lot. Very common but grammatically incorrect.
Gotch and gitch are terms for underwear. At least when I was growing up in Moose Jaw Sask.
I grew up in Davidson and never recognised a distinctive dialect. That’s understandable, I guess.
Another word very known all over Saskatchewan is TELEMIRACLE!!! Also we can’t forget “Prairie Oysters”.
Haha! Prairie Oysters are a good one!
Prairie oysters.That’s also a very Alberta thing. We just moved here 2 years ago. And have been showing the locals how to cook them and eat them. And even the whole process of getting them.
There’s also the “Liquor Board”. Pil is a bit cheaper there than at the vendor.
We used to just call it The Board Store. Years ago, I stopped in a small town in Alberta and asked directions to the Board Store. Yup. You guessed it. They sent me to the lumber yard.
Ah the LB – good one! I hear they call it the LC in Manitoba. Weird if you ask me 😉
LC is Liquor Commission in Manitoba.
I’m dating myself, but in the 60’s or 70’s, the “Liquor Board” store required you to fill out a form to get your booze which was kept on shelves behind the counter!
We “melk” rather than milk (which ryhmes with silk).
that sounds like low german pronunciation
Yes! Haha I have a friend who gives me a hard time for saying “melk” Next time I’ll tell him it’s a dialect thing 😉
Okay…I’ve rest through here and still haven’t seen Toontown.. another version of Toon, for Saskatoon
I’m not sure if this is a Saskatchewan term or just an old term, but my dad always called the glove box in your vehicle a “cubby hole”.
My dad always called it a cubby hole too! But I never really carried it on because no one else seamed to know what a cubby hole was. He grew up in Albert as did I.
Yes a cubbie hole is what many still refer to.as & I’m from a tiny SK farm community. My kids even call it that.
Ha ha ha…that’s great…I remember that
In Southern Ontario, we call the grids the concession roads.
In Manitoba we call them mile lines or mile line road
“Once” as a verb or adverb at the end of a sentence; especially among the much older central European generation. Those that were settlers or their first children. “I have to get home and throw a bale of hay for the cows once”. Probably a more direct translation from a Germanic or European dialect.
In Sask we say we are heading to “The Lake” for the weekend. No name, just The Lake. Funny, especially given there are thousands of them! I never thought of it as odd till I lived in Toronto briefly and people would always say What Lake!
I have spent most of my life in Sask but now live in BC and still find the beauty of Saskatchewan unparalleled. There is nothing like a Sask sunset or a prairie sky dotted with a million stars. And I get really tired of the ” you can see your dog run away for days” line. But mostly I miss the people, down to earth, hardworking, unpretentious, open, and willing to extend a hand to anyone who needs it. Home.
Haha yes! The Cabin at The Lake! Love this 😀
So true!!! I have always said that our sunrises and sunsets are unparalleled!!! I also love that they last for hours not minutes!!
Many years ago we were in Eastend at Jack’s Cafe. One of the patrons, an older cowboy came around and refilled our coffees. My son (who was 5 at the time) was absolutely agog. When the locals food arrived, every single man removed his hat (cowboy or baseball cap). My son still to this day, removes his hat when he enters a culinary establishment. Even at the pub, when the food arrives, the hat comes off. I wish more folks did that.
Jack’s Cafe in Eastend. What a trip down memory lane you evinced with that comment. I was last there in 1971. Used to roll the dice to see who would buy coffee with the old guy that ran the body shop.
Aw, I’m from Eastend! Nice to see that there’s a fondness for Jack’s Cafe province-wide! Makes me proud.
The coffee etiquette still.happens today in.many many of.our small towns. I was.just in Fox Valley and patrons there do this too. You can go to many places in Maple Creek as well and a.patron will refill your cup. Hats still come off my 12yr old son thinks nothing. Of this.it just the way of respect & good manners. His friends are no different.
and we fondly call our province Saskabush
Actually saskabush usually refers to Saskatoon not Saskatchewan.
Never heard it used to refer to Saskatoon before. Frequently hear it used for Saskatchewan though – and that’s here in Edmonton.
That’s weird. I lived in Rosetown and Saskatoon for most of my life. Saskabush and Toonerville have always been slang for Saskatoon to us. Never heard the province referred to as Saskabush before. We just simply call it Sask or Saskatchewan (pronounced the RIGHT way, not the mangled way other people pronounce it).
I agree – in my world it referred to Saskatoon
we fondly call our province “Saskabush” 🙂
and a lot of folks from here say we’re from “Saskabush” when asked where we’re from 🙂
How about kangaroo sweatshirts or bunny hugs? I think that’s uniquely Saskatchewan. Very nice job capturing some unique aspects of our province, and great job all summer! I have enjoyed following your wanderings!
Yes it is. Everywhere else it is called a hoody
Growing everyone called them bunny hugs and am from Northern BC. When I left I never really heard the term again till moved to Saskatchewan.
Still trying to keep the terms “bunny hug and Vico” alive. With so much American influence, the younger folks don’t use the terms anymore…what a shame. Our children live in London, UK and Calgary and they still use bunnyhug. You can imagine the look of uncertainty on the faces of the Brits when they heard if for the first time! Doesn’t bunnyhug sounds so much cuddly hoody? Let’s keep the term “bunnyhug” alive and in common use…long line the BUNNYHUG…and VICO, too!
Vico! I remember stopping at a café in rural Manitoba one time years ago and my son ordering a Vico. The waitress looked at him like he was from another planet and I had to explain it was chocolate milk. Until then I hadn’t even realized that it was a Saskatchewanism. Glad someone else remembers too.
Vico in sask was the CoOp creamery name for chocolate milk they also had a drink called Bepp orange juise mix I don’t remember what was in it
Do you mean Beep?
So right, I was going to add this one. I got many confused looks when I said kangaroo or bunny hug when I moved to Toronto.
You all need to buy a book called, “Colder Than A Bay Streets Banker’s Heart.” Full of the three prairie provinces expressions. GAH
Will have to check it out, thanks Gerry!
I didn’t notice the mention of “Vico” meaning chocolate milk.
I was just gonna say…
I was born in Saskatchewan. Lived there for 15 years and have been back a few times. Love it there. I do also notice that the folks in the RM on the prairies have a dialect or phrasing that is distinct. I have lived in every province in Canada except PEI and NF-L. Different dialects are common in all areas of this country. Coulee usually still puzzles folks not from the prairies as does slough. Choke cherries and cactus apples are not common. The word coyote is mostly pronounced coyot-ee in the east (which came about I believe from American cartoons) I still say hello or Hi to people when I am out for a walk and I still miss the song of the meadowlark in the spring, the enormous skies with the millions of stars, and the sunshine winter and summer.
Saskatchewan: Easy to draw, hard to spell
We called a touque a Block heater.
Years ago while hitchhiking back from Quebec I was in Peta wawa Ontario and when asked where I was from I said Speedy Creek….and they knew where that was.
hehe yep..swift current
don’t forget the bismark
We call the grid back roads around here and wit about poopsie
what about vico
It might just be a regional thing but here gotch is male underwear and gitch is female lol. And we call the bush the toolies.
I didn’t know the gotch vs. gitch! Interesting!
What about meal time Dinner instead of lunch and supper instead of dinner
Supper vs. Dinner is always so confusing when talking with people from other places. That’s a good one!
This is a rural Saskatchewan thing. No confusion about this in the cities.
Maybe not in your circle but everyone I know calls dinner supper and I live in the city
Oh man YES!!! My Albertan boyfriend tries to correct me on this CONSTANTLY!!
I could be all wrong but I always thought it was breakfast then dinner or lunch at noon and supper was the evening meal
Bunnyhug definitely should have made the list as well as the “Snowbirds” which proudly call Moose Jaw their home. However, most people use snowbird to mean heading South for the winter. We almost have weird names for things like “Old Wives Lake” which has a whole history to itself and then there’s Moose Jaw which most non Saskatchewan people would try their best to put into one word. There’s also a hill near Old Wives lake that is very steep that the locals call Powwow Hill. There’s so much here, I’m sure a blogger could write a whole book about us!
Can’t believe bunnyhug didn’t make this list lol
I have an article I’ll be launching later this month that covers it, as well as toques 😉
What about longjohns..the underwear..we all wore them come winter..as kids we road the bombadere to get to school.
Bombardier, pronounced bombardeer. Of course now it is bombard-ee-ay. They make aircraft these days.
And,…I’m told by my mom…’gotch’ comes from the shortened version of gotcha(spelled phonetically) which is the Polish word for underwear!!!
That’s so cool! I had no idea but that makes complete sense. I’ll have to tell my Eastern Canadian friend that 🙂
Gotchies! Yes! Great article; we also referred to the grader as the patrol. My Edmontonian husband thought that was the most strange.
gotchka…. <my parents (Ukrainian) always said gotchka.
When I was much younger I was interviewed by a university student studying the variety of words peculiar to each region of Canada. I remember being asked to describe a bluff of trees. “Bush”, a large expanse of trees, “bush”, and that is what my friends say when they are off to the cabin, we are going to the Bush this weekend.
And pushing bush for your buddies in hunting season – another good use of it 🙂
I remember one was called a bush widow or grass widow when their husband was away on a hunting trip.
Saskatchewan: hard to say, easy to draw
And easy to love 😉
It is a great province, I used to live there for 58 years.
as a proud prairie girl living in the “centre of the universe” ie: toronto, i love seeing people’s faces as they try and navigate our expressions. perhaps nonSK people need to know that “a guy Could…” as in: a guy could run Christmas lights from the house to the shed for good outside lighting.
yep. a guy Could.
ontarians always ask Which guy and what’s his name. 🙂
great article, BTW.
“Which guy and what’s his name” – that’s priceless! Thanks for sharing 🙂
So many use this today! A guy could do about anything now a days if only a guy could get a helping hand.
I’m not new to the prairies but am relatively new to Saskatchewan, and so have recently had to learn some of these terms. Another one that I have learned through having a high schooler in my house is “wheel’n”. A boy and girl that like each other but not officially dating? Is that correct? Would like clarification if you have any
I haven’t heard ‘wheeling’ since I was in high school! You’re right, it’s basically the act of picking up a boy or girl, very similar to ‘hitting’ on them 🙂
Not quite, haha. I mean dating yes, but more than just a peck on the cheek. If you’re wheeling a girl you’re shtupping her.
For those reading point #3 and needing a bit more guidance, it’s pronounced “Sloo,” not “Sluff.” 🙂 If you’re stuck in a slough, that’s tough. Do it enough and you’re through.
Haha tricky! Thanks Doug 🙂
Hi Ashlyn. Some other rural Saskatchewanisms. A power curve. The nuisence grounds. The ‘Butterfly’ dance.
I definitely am familiar with the Butterfly dance (and the 7 step!) but what is the power curve and the nuisance grounds? I’m unfamiliar with those! 🙂
“Nuisance grounds” is the trash dump.
Ooh I like that! Surprised I’ve never heard it before 🙂
There’s also the dugout..a water hole where you got water for the sprayer or for cattle to cool down in the summer. In winter it became the skating rink.
yes!!! the dump was the “nuisance grounds”!! haven’t heard that since I was a kid…. great blog BTW 🙂
Apparently my Dad says Nuisance Grounds all the time! Funny, as my brother remembers him saying it but I don’t!
It’s actually “speed curve” and it refers to a 90 degree bend in the road that is a arc rather than a sharp right angle corner.
You usually get two of these together (one left, one right) when you’re headed down the grid and you get to a correction line
I’ve definitely driven along them, didn’t realize that’s what they were called though!
That’s a new one for me and I’ve built roads all over Saskatchewan for the last 30 year’s. Never heard of a power curve just a speed curve
Dwaine I think it maybe that long since they quit using them I know places where they use to be on Grid roads they were taken out. The only place I can think of one is coming out of Maple Creek to go east on Hyw 1 they have one
Often found on the “correction lines, ” where the grids don’t match up. Perfect mile by mile squares mapped out on a big ball ( earth) get wonky, and the correction line gets it all back on track for awhile.
The correction line is where the road allowed especially meet.
I remember years ago, I discovered that other Canadians did not know how to do the butterfly. ..I was shocked! Haha. It’s still one of my favorite dances.
It surprises me that many can’t even two-step, let alone polka! Shame really!
I am Saskatchewan born and raised and wouldn’t have it any other way….i love it here!!
We’re definitely a passionate bunch within these borders. The friendliness of the people is my favourite though 🙂
Not having to adjust our clocks for daylight savings surprises many non-Saskies. We always seem to find a way to do things our own way!
Oooh that’s a good one! And I do appreciate not having to “spring forward” as I’m certain I would always forget and then be very late! 😀
Tough to find your favorite show though after the change because you don’t know if it is now an hour earlier or later
In the spring clocks “spring forward” and in the fall clocks “fall back”. Anyone for the “back forty” or the “mud flats”?
Yes we’re lucky we don’t have to “fall.back” or “spring ahead” any more definitely don’t miss that!!
The time thing always got me when I moved to Saskstchewan, growing up on the Alaska highway in BC we had never and dont to this day change time and that’s going back 80 years. Saskatchewan didn’t get on that ship till mid 60’s.
I love how people from Saskatchewan call a ‘hoodie’ – a hooded sweatshirt – a “bunnyhug”!! Love it!! Especially when you see some guy rummaging in the back of his jeep and when asked what he is looking for he replies with “I can’t find my bunnyhug” ! I am a prairie girl myslef – MB – and I love people from Saskatchewan!! 🙂
Bunnyhug just sounds so much cozier too, doesn’t it? 🙂
Growing up in Regina, we always referred to a hooded sweatshirt with a pouch – zippered or not – as a kangaroo. It wasn’t until my mom moved to a smaller northern town that I heard her call it a bunnyhug.
My younger brother from Saskatoon came to visit me in Vancouver and lived in Gastown and I was at work when he arrived so he experienced the “edge” of East Van before I was able to educate him. He headed out looking for Milk and when I got home in the morning he was in a bit of shell-shock. The one thing he said that got me was when he told me ” back home, if you don’t say hi to people you meet on the street you are look at as an odd-ball here when I said hi to strangers on the street they looked like they wanted to run.”.
It’s something I really missing living in the city now. A simple smile makes the world of difference to brighten my day up. 🙂
I don’t think people talk to other people in a lot of places but I talk to people all the time and usually they will talk to me and I can be some what I don’t know how to put it 6′ 4” 300lbs biker type and people usually will talk it is just that a lot of times you just have to start the conversation in fact one time and I can’t remember where I was the guy said right away you must be from Saskatchewan
Awesome! So true the things we take for granted.
That last #10 is one of the greatest praises when I travel. Lol once the strangers get use to it. It’s a great thing that we both being raised here should be proud of.
It’s one of the things I miss most about living in the city. I love having the opportunity to say hi and chat with anyone around me 🙂
Take care baby girl, from the old guy,lol
Thanks Bob 🙂
Your welcome and glad to be friends.
How about “K Ways” those cheap plastic spring jackets that came in neon like red, orange and yellow. Much like bunny hugs because you pulled them over your head, they had a hood, front pocket separated by a partial zipper and those dreaded elasticized cuffs. Also, those long stemmed orange flags used on Banana Seat Bikes so cars could see you on the road.
I definitely had an orange flag on my bike when I was a kid. Thought it was so cool! 😀
I only heard of “K Ways” from someone from Ontario. We called them windbreakers.
If it has a zipper, it’s not a bunny hug. If it has a zipper, that’s a hoodie.
KWay is a brand name. It is a type of over the head windbreaker that packs into a tiny pouch