FBorFW is a Canadian comic strip, set in the fictional Ontario town of Milborough. Because FBorFW is read worldwide, sometimes we unintentionally baffle our readers by including references that don't make sense to people outside our
country. Here is a list of common causes of confusion—click any heading to reveal more information.
In Canada we spell a few words differently like "colour", "cheque" & "favour", opting for the standard British spellings of certain common words (although we do sometimes slip and use American spellings, as we're used to seeing both in our print media). Cheque and racquet look right to us. A "check" is a pattern or a mark of approval on an exam, a "racket" is a loud noise (like rap or acid rock!)
We use words like "bargoon", which is slang for "bargain", and "banger" which is a synonym for "sausage". This causes a little confusion for our international readers and occasionally our spell checkers. We also say that someone is "in hospital" rather than "in THE hospital". We Canadians sometimes refer to ourselves as "Canucks".
Canada shares many holidays with the US and the world, however there are some that are unique to Canada and other former British colonies, such as "Boxing Day" (Dec 26) and "Victoria Day" (the Monday before May 25). Canada celebrates its national holiday "Canada Day" on July 1. Other holidays are on different dates, for example Thanksgiving, which falls on the second Monday in October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday in November for the USA.
In this strip, Elly asks Michael to go to the corner store to buy a bag of milk. Farley punctures a milk bag, streaming milk all over. This strip even confused most of Canada! In Ontario and in some parts of other provinces, you can buy your milk in convenient plastic bags that slip into a jug. You snip off one corner of the bag and voila, you go with the flow! We received many letters asking "What the heck was that all about?"
Butter tarts are unbelievably tasty desserts made of butter, sugar and eggs in a pastry shell. Sometimes bakers add raisins, pecans, coconut, chocolate chips etc. The filling tastes like pecan pie sans pecans. If you've never tried one, we recommend Googling for a recipe pronto! April and Elly are enjoying them in this strip.
Poutine is a dish made of French fries with melted cheese curds and HOT gravy (yummmm)!
When ordering a coffee this means you want it with two measures of milk or cream and two spoons of sugar.
A whole wheat, cracked wheat, yeasted pastry that has been stretched to the size of a beaver's tail and is float cooked in 100% soya oil and then topped with butter and a choice of topping, the most popular being cinnamon sugar.
A sugar bush is a large growth of sugar maple trees. Trees are tapped in the spring to harvest their sap, which is then boiled down to make maple syrup, a process called sugaring off.
When this strip originally ran, folks asked "What in the world is a GARBURETOR?" Well, in Canada, that's what we called a garbage disposal installed in the sink. I was told it was called "insinkerator" and a variety of other things, but I was not about to change a Canadianism and so the word stayed. Whatever it's called, I have never owned one. The dog and I took care of the leftovers.
"Shreddies" is the name of a breakfast cereal made of malted, shredded wheat in the shape of little squares. It's available in the UK, Canada and New Zealand.
In Canada, a "spare" is a free period in the middle of a school day when the teacher or student doesn't have to be in class. Liz mentioned having a spare in this strip.
Ontario high schools included a voluntary additional year known as 13th grade, or OAC. This was discontinued, and now students graduate high school after grade 12.
We Canadians have a one-dollar coin with a picture of a loon on one side (and the Queen on the other). We call them Loonies affectionately (or not-so-affectionately - they can be cumbersome to carry around). There's also a two-dollar coin we call the Toonie. Unfortunately the government declined the loud suggestion that 2 male deer be printed on one side, making it "two bucks".
In some countries, the terms "college" and "university" are nearly interchangeable. In contrast to usage in the United States, there is a strong distinction between "college" and "university" in Canada. In conversation, one specifically would say either "They are going to university" (i.e., studying for a three- or four-year degree at a university) or "They are going to college" (suggesting a technical or career college). See Wikipedia for the article from which we got this info!