Loonie, Toonie, HOH OHO

Recent demonstrations of “why it’s good to be Canadian:”

In Windsor in late October I ended up at dinner in an Italian Restaurant with a three library types, two of whom were from America and one from Toronto. My fellow Canadian and I had to first explain why a $1 Canadian coin is called a “loonie,” and then, further, why a $2 Canadian coin is called a “toonie.”

I’m sure other countries have their nicknames for coinage; I’m fairly confident that only in Canada could we have a naming scheme like this, where the name of one coin ($2) only makes sense if you know the name of the other (Note to non-Canadians: the $1 coin in Canada has a loon on the back). In Canada, as nowhere else, everything truly is relative. (By the way, I’ve noticed an increasing tendency in the U.S. to call $1 bills “singles.” Perhaps this has always been the case and I’ve just missed this until now?)

On another front entirely: you really can sent a letter to Santa Clause, North Pole, Canada, HOH OHO. And it really will get answered, if not by Santa herself, at least by her colleagues at the post office. Only in Canada, I think, can we have the combination of (a) witty postal code usage, (b) public servants donating their time to a novel project and (c) their employers and the community supporting their efforts.

When I was working in the Composing Room of the Examiner in Peterborough, one of our tasks during late November and early December was to work on a related (but more commercial) project, which was a “Santa Letter page” surrounded by advertising. While in other months when the work was done and we were sitting around waiting for the presses to start we could browse the classified ads or clean out the film developer, during Christmas all hands on deck were dedicated to the seemingly endless task of typing in the seemingly endless pile of letters to Santa that arrived at the paper. I never want to type “Dear Santa” again.

Comments

Ritchie Simpson's picture
Ritchie Simpson on November 27, 2002 - 13:30

Moderator, Moderator, Moderator, I appreciate it is cheap and easy to mollify the Fem-Nazi’s with your acceptance of the gender shift for Santa Claus, but practiclly, as a parent, you’ve got to realize that this will mean that you now have create an entire and elaborate reconstruction of the Santa myth for your kid(s) that will be virtually impossible to sustain in the face of cultural representation of the myth thus creating disfunctional gender confusion and quite possibly leading to irreparable social damage.

stephengood's picture
stephengood on November 27, 2002 - 15:29

If Santa Claus is a female but there’s still a Mrs. Claus does that make Santa a lesbian?

Best thing about Canada is socialized medicine — a tenth of my paycheck goes to medical coverage and I know that by Murphy’s rule of HMO’s that the insurance company would not cover what we actually needed. My wife wanted to go to a chiropractor — in Ontario that is partially covered by OHIP and you just go. Here you have to get a doctor’s recommendation and when she got that she was told that the chiropractor she wanted to see was “out of network” and so could not be covered.

Alan's picture
Alan on November 27, 2002 - 15:33

While Ritchie’s characterization of the issue as one of Fem-Nazis is offensive on so many levels, he is right in his essential point: Santa can only be male or female and in fact was, in one anticedent, male — St. Nicholas of Turkey over 1500 years ago. The God as genderless thing, however, does work…just as it goes for Tinkie Winkie. Show me the gonads and I will assign a gender.

Ritchie Simpson's picture
Ritchie Simpson on November 27, 2002 - 18:24

Alan, you’re finally getting it. But don’t waste your flattery on this issue, there is nothing multi-level about it.

Alan's picture
Alan on November 27, 2002 - 20:47

sure there is — I can show you a picture of great grannies bombed in roof and she wasn;t really a feminist…

Alan's picture
Alan on November 27, 2002 - 21:16

sure there is — I can show you a picture of great grannies bombed in roof and she wasn;t really a feminist…

Christopher Ogg's picture
Christopher Ogg on November 29, 2002 - 14:42

erk, that sort of brought things to a grinding halt, Alan, but what does it actually mean?

Alan's picture
Alan on November 30, 2002 - 20:30

Use of “Nazi” to describe thoughts or movements you don’t agree with is in itself insulting to those who had to live during that time. Crapping on feminism in itself for innanely unimportant aspects of egalitarian modern democracy is insulting to both feminism and modern egalitarian democrats. Joining the two in one hyphenated slur compounds the innanity and the insult and makes light of the seriousness born by people deeply effected by only one or the other. Being someone whose parents and grandparents [most tangentially compared to so many others] had to deal with Nazi bombs and thoght as well as someone whose family included persons who took stands before it was fashionable, the casual use of Femi-Nazis has always struck me as incredibly dense, shallow, inaccurate, destructive and hurtful. Thats what I meant.

Christopher's picture
Christopher on December 1, 2002 - 16:23

Jeeze, I sometimes wish you would stop writing like a lawyer and tell us what you really think <g>. Mind you, going back to a Two-El comment elsewhere, this little sally is more akin to a hand grenade than a finely placed fly. Don’t wait for the fish to rise: blow them to the surface.

Christopher's picture
Christopher on December 1, 2002 - 16:37

Jeeze, I sometimes wish you would stop writing like a lawyer and tell us what you really think <g>. Mind you, going back to a Two-El comment elsewhere, this little sally is more akin to a hand grenade than a finely placed fly. Don’t wait for the fish to rise: blow them to the surface.

Alan's picture
Alan on December 1, 2002 - 18:18

Sometimes the boot is required…

Ritchie Simpson's picture
Ritchie Simpson on December 2, 2002 - 14:25

Indignation — the real Great Canadian Sport. But thank you for explaining your obscure comment.

Alan's picture
Alan on December 2, 2002 - 16:08

…and, no woories as always, Ritchie… you were not the source of this linguistic scab…merely a user. Indignation parked. Jeese, I feel all Christmassy all of a sudden…

Craig Willson's picture
Craig Willson on December 2, 2002 - 17:35

Get over it — Black Shoes..

Jeff Probst's picture
Jeff Probst on December 12, 2003 - 18:32

Please learn how to use a spell checker. ALL of you.

DON BRADLEY's picture
DON BRADLEY on October 2, 2008 - 02:27

Hello, could use your help please. I am a stamp collector and would very much like to find a cover with that cancellation or address for a fellow (lady) collector that collects Christmas item that are postal. I would be willing to pay (if not to much lol). Your help would be much appreciated.

Thank You very much

don

Anonyman's picture
Anonyman on December 24, 2009 - 16:28

Maybe in Canada you think it’s MRS Claus who does the delivering? But then again, Mrs Claus’ first name isn’t Santa! (No Body knows what it is!(unless they make it up!(lol!)))

henri law's picture
henri law on April 3, 2012 - 18:47

The Cantonese (a dialect of the Chinese language) spoken in Hong Kong is also very vivid in describing money. In the old days,when $500 note was very large, it was called “big cotton blanket.” Their $1000 note is golden, so it is called “golden cow.” The $100 note is red in color, so it’s called “red-coated fish,” a kind of fish eaten by Hongkongers. The $10 note is green in colour, so it’s called “green crab” because many crabs are “green” in colour. The $1 coin has been called “big cake” since it first appeared. Small changes (coins) are called “magic stones.”

As to letters to Santa Claus, most post offices in the world reply to letters addressed to Santa Claus by children, not just Canada!

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