Toronto Slang

Toronto Slang

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You will hear some pretty strange phrases when you visit Toronto, but rest assured they are entirely normal to the locals. For example, you may be asked to find the closest Green P or how you feel about the crazy Crystal. You may also "GO" places and discover your own "PATH" along the way. Confused by this Toronto slang? Here's help:

1. The Ex

"The Ex" is Toronto local language for CNE, which is short for the Canadian National Exhibition. An annual pilgrimage of sorts, this amusement park/carnival/fun place pops up every August for close to three weeks, and it's been amusing Torontonians since 1879. The Ex is a mish-mash of performers, rides, restaurants, parades and a farm. In other words, everything and anything. Exhibition Place, where the Ex is held, is open throughout the year. You can catch sporting events or visit its large park area.

Canadian National Exhibition
Press Building, Exhibition Place, 210 Prince's Blvd
Toronto, ON M6K 3C3 Canada

2. The Argos

"The Argos," according to local lingo, is Toronto's beloved football team, The Toronto Argonauts. Pronounced "Are-Goes," this city goes crazy for their white and blue team. Don't confuse Canadian football with American football, as they are not the same game. Yes, they both run on a big field carrying pigskin, but the rules and the pace are different. Catch a game from June through November and hear the "Argoooos" chant.

3. Where They're At

If you live in a big city, chances are you refer to your neighborhood first and the actual city second when describing your hometown. So, usually people say they are from the Bronx, New York or South Beach, Miami or Camden Town, London. However, if you live in Toronto, you are more likely to refer to a cross-section of streets than your actual neighborhood. So Torontonians say they live on "Yonge and St. Clair" or "Bay and Bloor." This quirk is particular to Toronto, as few other Canadian cities we know of use street corners as personal geographical references.

4. Green P

Telling someone to find the "Green P" is going to sound funny no matter where you are. But according to Toronto slang, a Green P is a parking lot and it's an important phrase to remember in a city where it is near impossible to find a convenient parking space on the street. Green Ps are run by the Toronto Parking Authority and are located all around town. They are easily found by looking for the big signs containing ... wait for it ... a large white P. Gotcha on that one!

5. The Crystal

Everybody has an opinion on "The Crystal", the monstrous, lavish, ultra-modern and expensive extension to the Royal Ontario Museum. Short for "Michael Lee-Chin Crystal," the structure is made up of giant pieces of aluminum and glass, and geometric shapes that jut out into and above the street like something blew up on the inside and left them nowhere else to go. You can see this building from miles away, so no need to ask for directions. The good news is that there are millions of pieces of art inside.

Michael Lee-Chin Crystal
100 Queen's Park
Toronto, ON M5S 2C6 Canada
Mon-Thu 10AM-5:30PM, Fri 10AM-9:30PM, Sat-Sun 10AM-5:30PM
Prices vary

6. GO!

If someone tells you to GO, it is not a call to action but rather Toronto local lingo for a place to sit. Train and buses, to be precise. The GO network is the name of the Toronto (and beyond) interregional transport network that most often gets the folks of this ever-expanding city to and from work.


By the same token, if someone tells you to take the nearest "path," they are not offering you spiritual advice. PATH is a winter escape pod for cold Torontonians and visitors. Well, it's not a pod, exactly, but a seemingly endless series of underground walkways that lead you through malls, office buildings, tourist attractions and so on.
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