The Winnipeg O’ My Heart Glossary of Terms

May 17th, 2009 by Aaron

It’s official. High demand has made it necessary for us to create a Winnipeg O’ My Heart glossary of terms unique to Winnipeg and Manitoba. During a recent conversation with CBC Information Radio host Terry MacLeod, he asked us about the unique phrases we coin through the blog. A bit stumped, we fumbled through an explanation, but in retrospect we do find it quite easy to develop new words and phrases that succinctly describe our Winnipeg experiences. These terms make their way into our conversations with each other, and then slowly into our writing for the blog. We feel a glossary would have been very helpful to us in transitioning to life in Winnipeg, so we hope that others will also find it useful, entertaining, and informative!


Fancy Place (from the post Roadtrippin’): A bar or pub that has more than one draught beer available. These are typically public houses in larger centres where beer drinkers enjoy selections beyond Coors Light. Ergo, if there’s only one type of beer on tap, it’s not a fancy place.

Manitoba street cred (from the post Curling): The valuating system by which new Winnipeggers (and in our cases, new Manitobans, too) are judged as integrating into the local culture. In joining a curling league, drinking slurpees in the wintertime, or apologizing to newcomers about the weather (despite the fact that you can’t control it), you raise your Manitoba street cred. You’re becoming an authentic Manitoban.

‘Pegiversary (from the post Roadtrippin’): The anniversary of a new Winnipeggers’ arrival in the city. Emma’s 1st ‘Pegiversary is quickly approaching on July 8th; for Aaron it will be January 5th, 2010; and Laurel just likes to celebrate hers on the 2nd of every month.

Social Time (a comment to the post Socials): Submitted by regular commenter, Michel, “Social Time is the acceptable time at which you should arrive at a social” and it directly correlates to the attendees’ age. The social arrival approximation scale is available in graph form, and strict adherence to these guidelines will prevent one from decreasing her or his Manitoba street cred.

Water-peg (from the post Water-peg): In the springtime, melting snow and swelling rivers transform Winnipeg into its always latent, ulterior character, Water-peg. The sidewalks are wet, the potholes are filled to the brim (and deceptively deep), and every story on CBC radio is somehow (magically?) spun to include a flooding-related angle.

Weatherpeg (a Winnipeg O’ My Heart post category): So much of Winnipeg’s mystique involves the extremes of weather at this geographic location of the continent. In this way, whenever a post includes significant content relating to the weather in Winnipeg, it will be categorized as a Weatherpeg post.

A sloppy Winnipeg Wrap

A sloppy Winnipeg Wrap

Winnipeg Wrap (from the post Wrap it Up): You know when people use lame clichés like: “If I opened the dictionary to the definition of goofball I’d see a picture of your face”? Well in this instance I will simply provide a visual example of the Winnipeg Wrap, and for a more detailed explanation you really should read all about it in the original post. Sadly (for fans of the Winnipeg Wrap), sightings of WWs around town reduce during warm seasons when it’s less likely that a Winnipegger will need an extension cord to plug-in the car while at work all day.

WO’MH-er (from the post Roadtrippin’): A Winnipegomyhearter is a member of the Winnipeg O’ My Heart blogging team. Although we haven’t yet invited guests to post their reflections about Winnipeg or Manitoba (we will), these persons would be considered honorary WO’MH-ers.

Terms unique to Winnipeg or Manitoba:

Caribou: The deliciously potent fortified wine that is intrinsically linked to the Festival du Voyageur. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy this drink at Festival, be sure to try it from an ice cup. We did. It’s a reeeeal good time.

Dainty: A small, sweet treat that is typically made in a large baking pan, then cut into squares or rectangles. In other parts of the country these are referred to as “squares”; however, in Manitoba the general term for a tray of assorted squares is “dainties”. When referencing a specific item on the tray, you should call the dainty by its appropriate name. Usage: “Just look at the fancy dainties at this bridal shower!” “I know…delish! I think I’ll have a Nanaimo bar.” A note about shape: in our limited experience, dainties are square; yet, we cannot corroborate that dainties are always square. This requires further (mmm…tasty) exploration.

Social: A traditional Manitoba fundraiser, usually held by friends (and sometimes family) of the engaged couple, meant to offset the costs of establishing a family home or farm. The social may have extended from this province into north-western Ontario and parts of Saskatchewan. “Classic” or “Traditional” socials feature a midnight buffet that always includes rye bread, cheddar cheese, and mustard (NB do not lick the knife). Some modern “Fancy” socials are catered, have professional DJs, and offer a combination of conventional auction items (the lottery tree) alongside new favourites (the spa package).

Social Table: So far as we can decipher, the rest of the country simply refers to this as a table with folding legs. These tables are aptly named according to their frequent use at socials held in community halls. The tables are rectangular in shape (probably 8’ x 3’?) and most likely either wood- or plastic-topped with folding metal legs. Usage: “I’m wondering if there’ll be enough seating at the social this Saturday.” “Oh yes, there will be. The hall provides 25 social tables.”

“LC”, the: An abbreviated slang term for the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission (MLCC). This phrase omits the “M” and last first “C” from the initialism (“LC” stands for “Liquor Commission”). Not to be confused with the initials of Lauren Conrad, star of the popular MTV show The Hills. She has probably never been to Winnipeg or Manitoba in general; what a pity. Usage: “I’m going to stop by the LC on the way home from work. Would you like anything?”

Of course this list is but the tip of an iceberg floating down the Red River following an ice jam breakup in April. Our goal is to keep the glossary updated with our own terms as well as those submitted by our readers. We surely welcome your feedback about our list and additions to what will become the Glossary of Terms Unique to Winnipeg or Manitoba. We appreciate attributions whenever they are available (in order that credit is given where due), and we also strongly discourage plagiarism. Let’s have some fun developing the glossary to define our shared Winnipeg and Manitoba experiences.

Please submit a comment to this post if you have a term to add. We are currently creating the glossary and will tweet (@winnipego) with a link once it’s up and running!

ALSO: Listen to CBC Manitoba Information Radio this upcoming Monday and Tuesday mornings (May 18 & 19, 2009) around 6:40AM (Central time) in order to hear the WO’MH blogging team in our very first discussions about blogging in Winnipeg and our distinct outlook on moving to this fair city from Vancouver. There is a link to live streaming of the broadcast on the CBC website, and we hope against all odds that our friends at Information Radio will consider podcasting these segments!

14 Responses to “The Winnipeg O’ My Heart Glossary of Terms”

  1. Pegged says:

    another one for ‘Peggers of a certain age is to refer to KFC as ‘Champs’ (they used to hold the chicken franchise here).

  2. cherenkov says:

    Technically, “LC” omits the “M” and the first “C” (Liquor Commission).

    I hope they podcast your CBC gig because there is no way I’m catching a 6:40 am radio program. I didn’t even realize radios worked that early in the morning.

  3. Aaron says:

    Hi Pegged – that sounds interesting. I’m going to start asking people about Champs! So, you will refer to KFC as Champs?

    Cherenkov – note the changes I’ve made to the post! Thanks for the tip…you know, I still favour calling it the Lauren Conrad,
    but at least I know the actual abbreviation! 😛 I’ll keep you updated about the podcast situation.

  4. Ian says:

    I can say “I knew them when…” Congrats on the CBC radio coverage. You know this is gonna catapult you into Winnipeg celebrity!!

  5. At the risk of spoiling your exploration into the tasty question of whether all dainties are square, there is no correlation. Case in point, the rum ball. Dainty refers only to the small size of the dessert, not the shape.

    In fact, I would argue that one could make a tray of Nanaimo bars, cut them into large portions, and they would fail to qualify as dainties.

  6. Lynne says:

    Dainties are definitely NOT a Manitoba creation. I think you are just talking to the wrong generation. Over the years I have gone to many teas organized by groups that my mother belonged to, all over Canada, and dainties were always served. I also did a quick web search this morning and found the term used in Australia and Britain, as well as other sites in Canada.

  7. Aaron says:

    Thanks Ian – thankfully it’s radio exposure and so I don’t have to be worried about having a face for radio, do I? 🙂

    Rat – I love it! You’re absolutely right; rum balls are round dainties. The shape question is irrelevant, it’s all about the size (and cuteness) of these tiny treats. But then you mention that a tray of large Nanaimo bars would also be considered dainties. I am getting confused but I suppose that’s part of learning.

    Hi Lynne, thanks for adding some perspective. I’ve also been to organized events with many generations of participants (and I grew up with a grandmother from B.C. and one raised in Ontario) and I haven’t encountered the phrase “dainty”. Also, we haven’t done much research on these terms outside of Canada, except that we do understand in the UK “dainties” are also known to be women’s underclothes. I suppose it may be a term spread throughout the British Empire, but for the three of us-in our observations-it’s a Manitoba thing.

    Thanks for the comments.

  8. mrchristian says:

    Yes, my dad still calls it Champs every once in a while. The company is still around with restaurant holdings in the US. I remember researching something on them not so long ago and they’re a big jobs provider in ND and MN – the hold the franchise for Hardees or KFC or something like that.

    Here’s a pic of Champs Chicken back in the day !

  9. Emma says:

    I have to agree with Aaron – I’d never heard the expression “dainties” either, and have been to my fair share of United Church teas, showers, Christmas get-togethers, and other occasions where the term would have been used in my 27 years.

    I think it’s wonderful that there’s a collective term for these little beauties – it sounds so much elegant than “goodies” (too cutesy) or “treats” (too vague). And it’s definitely more succinct than “an assortment of small, bite-sized desserts including but not limited to bars, squares, tarts, and balls” 🙂

  10. Michel says:

    The Merriam-Webster defines “dainty” as “something delicious to the taste”, or “something choice or pleasing”.

    I would definitely agree! 😉

    P.S. As Rat in the Sandbox mentioned, size is the main criteria, not shape. Rum balls, butter tarts and small cookies (and even small pieces of cake, when served on a paper doily or in a paper cupcake liner) would all fit under the umbrella of “dainties”… and none of these are necessarily square. Bottom line – if it’s small, sweet, and served on a paper doily, it’s a dainty!

  11. Aaron, I think you misinterpreted my last sentence. Large bars would not be considered dainties.

  12. MB says:

    I agree – dainties can be anything small, regardless of shape. I’m surprised that term exists outside of the Prairies. Interesting. Ooooh butter tarts….

  13. aaron says:

    refering to champs… if you still call the old phone number it connects to kfc’s phone order system

    943-1234, champs deivers chicken, hot, right to your door… ding dong.

    still works today, connnects to kfc.

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