Feet off the chesterfield, eh?

Poutine, toques and a whole lot of Canadiana can be found in an upcoming writing contest sponsored by HarperCollins and The Globe and Mail.

There are a number of words out there that just scream “Canada!” (poutine, pop, eh), but did you know that “humidex” is a uniquely Canadian word? How about garburator? Or freezie? Yes, those delicious frozen tubes of sugar and ice are eaten on hot days across the globe, but only Canadians call them freezies.

To celebrate the launch of the new Collins Canadian Dictionary, HarperCollins and The Globe and Mail have introduced a short story contest, with the winner getting her story published in the Globe along with a $1,000 HarperCollins library. The catch? The story needs to include at least 10 words from the dictionary’s list of Canadian words. A few of these include:

bathtub race n Canad a sailing race between bathtubs fitted with outboard motors

Bloody Caesar n Canad a drink consisting of vodka, juice made from clams and tomatoes, Worcester sauce and Tabasco

butter tart n Canad a kind of tart made with butter, brown sugar, and raisins

chip wagon n Canad a small van in which French fries are cooked and sold

flipper pie n Canad a Newfoundland pie with a filling of cooked seal flippers

pogey or po·gy n, pl po·geys or po·gies Canad slang 1 unemployment insurance; welfare 2 financial or other relief given to the unemployed by the government 3 a the office distributing relief to the unemployed b (as modifier): pogey clothes word origin from earlier pogie: workhouse

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t heard of half of these words, but at the very least, this contest is a good way to learn a little bit about Canadian history, an area that, in my experience, many j-school students are lacking in expertise.

So, it’s summer. Have fun, write a story and learn a little bit about your country’s history (and maybe get published).

And just for fun: what did you think was the most shocking word on that list? For me, I can’t believe butter tarts don’t exist outside of Canada.