035 – The Toronto Slang You Need to Know

There is no place in the world like Toronto! The city is Canada’s largest city and it has an amazing mix of cultures from around the world. It has has a variety of slang words that are unique to Toronto. In this episode, you’re going to learn the most popular slang word and phrases from The 6ix.

In This Lesson:


  • The 6ix
  • Hoooooly
  • Copped
  • Scoop me
  • That’s wild
  • Fam
  • Sweeterman
  • Ting
  • Reach
  • Youte


  • Turn over a new leaf
  • Up to par

Challenge Vocabulary

  • apprehensive
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  • assume
  • popularized
  • multicultural
  • struggle
  • memorable
  • scandal
  • crowdfunded
  • trafficking
  • sketchy
  • stupor
  • stint
  • dynasty
  • reign
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Hey there. It's Dana from Can Learn English, and you're listening to the Can Learn English Podcast. The Can Learn English Podcast is for intermediate to advanced English language learners who are serious about learning English for everyday life with this podcast. You'll reach fluency faster by learning phrasal verbs, common expressions, conversation, tips and of course, some typical Canadianisms. Are you ready to learn English for the Great White North? Let's get started.

Hey there, guys. How is it going? I hope everyone's having an amazing week. I'm having a pretty good week. I can hear me clicking about because I'm on my computer right now. I was just checking our listening statistics for the Can Learn English Podcast and I'm absolutely blown away by how many people are listening to this podcast.

It is crazy. So when I started this podcast, I was a little bit apprehensive. I would say I thought, I don't know if people will like it if they'll listen to it. And putting together a podcast every week is a lot of fun. I love it, but it's also a ton of work. And to see that, you know, since we started the podcast, to now, how many more listeners we have. It's absolutely amazing. So I think that's thanks to you for sharing the podcast with your friends and coming back and listening every week. So big thank you for making my job just feel more worthwhile. I love doing this for you and I'm going to continue to do it. That is my promise.

So, yeah. Thanks so much. Our biggest listeners or places where people are listening the most is in Canada. So hello to everyone in Canada, followed by the U.S., then Germany. So guten tag all my German listeners, that's interesting. And then Switzerland as well where I'm living. So, hey, everybody, in Switzerland, I'm recording this nice and close to you. Quite a few listeners in Switzerland. And I don't think that they're just me. So very cool. It's awesome to connect with people all over the world. If you're listening and you haven't done it yet. I have a Facebook group just for the podcast listeners where I just want to get to know you guys a bit better. Talk about the episodes, get input on what you like, what you don't like. So if you go to Facebook, a new search Can Learn English Podcast listeners, a group should pop up and then you just need to request to join.

So on this episode, we're doing something a little bit different. I feel like I say that a lot. I think I like to, you know, spice it up. I guess. What do they say? Variety is the spice of life. So instead of doing an expression episode, we're doing a slang episode. So I know you guys are going to love this one. We're talking about Toronto slang because learning slang is an important part of learning a language. And I'm going to tell you guys a little story before we get started.

So story time. I back, I guess it was probably seven or eight years ago now, maybe closer to seven years ago. I did a working holiday visa in Ireland. So a working holiday visa, that means that you can go to a country and work there for a specific amount of time. Usually for people who are under the age of 30 or 35. So I went to Ireland to work. And as part of my visa, I needed to go to a little info session. When I got to Ireland, so I went to this info session, sat down. The woman was explaining the visa and giving us tips on how to get a job. And she said, you know, don't put down on your CV because they use a CV in Ireland that you are on a working holiday visa. Because people will think you're just here for the crack.

And I was pretty offended. I was like, just because I'm doing a working holiday visa doesn't mean that I do drugs because crack is crack cocaine. And I was thinking that's very rude of her just to assume that I would be interested in that. And later, I found out that she didn't mean crack as in crack cocaine. She meant craic, which is a slang term in Ireland spelled C R A I C. And that means fun. So they use it all the time. They'll say it was great craic. So it was a lot of fun if they had gone to a party or a pub and they even say, like, what's the craic? So this is something that everybody uses in Ireland and it's not meant to be offensive. So as an outsider, I had never heard the slang term before and I was really confused. So when you're learning English and you're travelling to a different city or you're planning to live somewhere, you might get tripped up on some of the slang. I know for myself, I speak a bit of Portuguese, my husband's Brazilian and we lived in São Paulo for a little bit. I have a really hard time understanding my brother in law because he uses a lot of slang that I don't know. So when he's talking, sometimes I'm completely lost because I'm like, have no idea what he means by this.

So we're gonna go over some slang words that are used in Toronto. So I found a great article from a site called narcity.com. And I love this site. They've got really great news for different cities in Canada. So you should definitely check them out because I love reading their news stories and they have an article titled Twenty Five Toronto Slang Words you've definitely heard at least once. Now, I think a lot of the slang words have been become more popular because of the rap artist Drake. So if you don't know Drake, you need to know Drake because he's from Toronto. He's awesome. He's one of my absolute favourites. I have a Drake on repeat on Spotify when I'm working. So he has popularized a lot of these words.

The first one we've done this in an episode before is The 6ix. And instead of spelling it S I X, you put a number 6. So it's spelled number 6ix. So this is a cool way of saying Toronto and it s comes from the fact that there are six neighbourhoods in Toronto. So, you know, you might say, yeah, the 6ix is awesome, like Toronto is awesome.

Another one that's kind of fun is hoooooly. OK. So we're taking the word holy. And usually people will use that as an expression when they're surprised. Holy like. But in Canada, it'll be drawn out. So we would say hooooooly. So if something is annoying you, you could say; hoooooly, that is, stop you're annoying me. So you really have to drag out those O's.

Another one is scoop me. So if you want to get a ride in someone's car, you want them to pick you up from somewhere. You can say, hey, come down to the mall and scoop me like and pick me up in your car.

The next one is copped. So when you go to the mall and you buy a brand new pair of shoes, you could say, I copped a new pair of shoes. So I bought a new pair of shoes. T

he next one here is, that's wild. So that's a way of saying that something is really cool. So if something is interesting or cool, you can say, oh, that's wild. Like, that's awesome.

The next one is sweeterman. And I believe this one was popularized by Drake and it's used to describe a guy that is really good with women. So he's smooth with the ladies. That's what another expression for that. So if he's a sweeterman than he is, very good at chatting to women.

This is a good one it is fam. So this is how you would reference your friends or the group of people that you hang out with. So if you are meeting up with a friend and they come alone and you kind of expected that they would come with a group of friends, you could say, where's your fam at? Like, where's your group?

This one is interesting and it is ting. So this is used a lot across the GTA and some examples of that are past that ting there for me. So here we're just. It means thing. But instead of pronouncing the t-h, you would say ting. So you might say to someone. Yep. That's the ting. And I think this one is really interesting because Toronto especially is a very multicultural city. You've got influences from people all over the world. And this t-h noise that a lot of people struggle with when they're learning English, the thing, or that a lot of people don't pronounce that even in English speaking countries like I know when I lived in Ireland, a lot of people don't pronounce the t-h, they say ting as well. So it's only certain groups of native English speakers that will pronounce that t-hH. And my guess is I'm not. I didn't research this, but my guess is, is that a lot of people who are living in Toronto might have struggled with that's noise or came from somewhere where they don't pronounce it like in Jamaica, for example. And it just kind of caught on. So it will be interesting to see if more people start to drop this t-h sound the th as time goes on. So we can also use that to reference a new boyfriend or girlfriend. So is that girl your messaging, your new thing like your new ting, your new girl, your new girlfriend?

The next one on this list is reach. So if you are calling someone and you want them to hang out or you want them to come over, you could just say reach. So you're saying, oh, the hockey games about to start reach, like come over. Not actually go out and grab something, but come over, reach.

That's weak. So if something is lame or it's not up to par with your standards, then you could say that it's weak. So you're playing basketball with a friend and they took a bad shot. You could say that was weak.

And another one, the last thing that we're gonna do is youte. So this actually means youth. Ok. So again, we're dropping that t-h sound. And it means that you're young. So the youte. or you're youte, you're young.

So there's your list. These are very Toronto style slang words. So you might hear them when you are out and about in Toronto. And now for the rest of the episode, I'm going to tell you a very interesting story. Now, usually on the podcast, when I talk about a famous Canadian, it's someone who did something amazing for Canada, someone who did something to make a difference. Last week, I talked about Viola Desmond and her influence on the civil rights movement in Canada. But the person we're talking about today didn't necessarily do anything amazing, but they did do something memorable.

And the reason that we're going to talk about that person is because almost every single Canadian will know who this person is. And you might hear some cultural references or some jokes about this person. So I think it's important that, you know the story about Toronto's crack smoking mayor. Now, do you remember in the beginning of the episode I talked a little bit about crack and the fact that it's a drug? Crack cocaine that people smoke. So, yes, you did hear that, right. Just a few years ago, Toronto had a mayor who was caught in a drug scandal that gained worldwide attention. His name was Rob Ford and he served as the mayor from 2010 to 2014.

So here it is, how it all went down in May of 2013. The American website Gawker and the Toronto Star reported that they had viewed a cell phone video that showed Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine and commenting on political issues.

I remember when this happened. It made all this news across Canada, but the person who owned the video said they'd only release it if Gawker, the Web site, paid $200,000. So what did they do? Well, they crowdfunded, they tried to raise money to buy this video, but then they weren't able to do it because the seller broke off the contact and he just disappeared. So in the aftermath of all of this, Ford's lawyer said that it's impossible to tell what a person is smoking by watching the video. And Ford said himself, I do not use crack cocaine.

Later that year in October, Ford's friend, so a friend of the mayor and an occasional driver named Alexander Lisi, was arrested on four drug related offences, including trafficking marijuana. Ford went and defended him and said that he was a friend and a good guy. So here we're starting to see an association between the mayor and this sketchy character. Later at the end of the month, on Halloween day on the 31th. The chief police officer, Bill Blair, announced that they had recovered a copy of the video that contains images of Ford consistent with those previously reported in the press. So now it looks like the police are on to something here. He didn't give any details, but he said there was nothing in the video that would support laying criminal charges.

Now, around this time, Ford is getting in a little bit of trouble. So he appeared in public under the influence of alcohol. And he went on his weekly radio show on a channel called Newstalk1010, apologized for appearing in public while hammered and texting while driving. But he said, I'm not an alcoholic and I'm not a drug addict.

So when we use the term hammered, this is a slang term, which means very drunk. So you wouldn't think that a mayor should be seen in public in such a state. Just two days later, he admits that he smoked crack cocaine about a year earlier in one of his drunken stupors.

Do you smoke crack cocaine?

Exactly. Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine.

When sir?

But no. Do I? Am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Umm Probably in one of my drunken stupors probably approximately about a year ago.

Now, at this time, this Toronto city council is getting a little bit worried about the behaviour of Rob Ford. So they passed two motions that would reduce his powers. By now this is caught international attention. And late night talk show hosts in the United States are starting to make fun of Rob Ford in their evening monologues. On March 3rd of 2014, Ford himself goes on the show called Jemmy Kimmel Live. Ford told the host, Kimmel that he wasn't elected to be perfect, but he was elected to clean up the financial mess at City Hall.

By the end of April, Ford's lawyer announced that the mayor would take a leave of absence to seek help for substance abuse at a rehab clinic. After his stint in rehab, Ford returned to resume his limited duties as mayor. He said that he had turned over a new leaf and he was ready to commit to living clean. By the fall of that year, Ford had to be admitted to hospital after complaining of abdominal pain and doctors discovered a tumour and had to do a biopsy. Just two days later, citing his health Ford withdrew himself from the race for mayor and instead he decided he would run for council in his former suburban Toronto ward. Later that month, Ford's doctor held a news conference and said that he had been diagnosed with a malignant liposarcoma, which arises in soft tissue structures and makes up about 1 percent of cancers. He said that Ford would go under two rounds of chemotherapy over the next 40 days. Since his cancer diagnosis Ford continued to try and battle cancer, but unfortunately he lost his life to this cancer on March 22nd of 2016.

Now, if you've thought that Canada had seen enough of the Fords, you'd be wrong because the Ford dynasty still reigns. The brother of Rob Ford, Doug Ford, is now the premier of Ontario. So he is the leader of the Conservative Party of Ontario, and he is actually the premier. This was a big shock when he was elected. I think it was kind of like Canada's version of Donald Trump winning, but obviously not as bad. But it was pretty shocking to have Doug Ford as the premier of Ontario. So this is an interesting story. If anyone ever brings Canada's crack smoking mayor. You will know what's going on. And if you hear any references to him because his brother is now premier of Ontario, you'll understand a little bit more. That's it for our episode today. Thank you so much for listening. If you would like to get the transcripts for this episode and become a premium podcast member, you can do that by going to canlearnenglish.com. Please support this free podcast by liking, sharing and subscribing.

Until next time. Bye, bye.

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25 Toronto Slang Words You’ve Definitey Heard at Least Once

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