I have seen many lists of Canadianisms, but this article not only lists them but also indicates how many Canadians (vs. those from the US or from elsewhere in the Commonwealth) are familiar with or use the terms.
When I moved to Canada over 40 years ago, there were several terms that confused me, and they're on this list:
- Toque. I knew what a toque was in conversation but never understood its spelling or pronunciation. The article suggests spelling it "touque" or "tuque".
- Pencil crayons. I grew up calling them coloured pencils.
- Robertson-head screws. I had never seen them in the US. They are clearly superior to anything else, and why they haven't been adopted in the US is a big puzzle (and, no, please don't invoke network effects; the costs of change are minor relative to the benefits. Screwdriver bits are cheap.).
- Two-four. A case of 24 beer. More common in Canada in part because in English Canada we can buy beer only at specific gubmnt beer stores, so we buy more to cut down on transportation costs.
- Hydro. It's a short-form for hydro-electric power or electricity. It made sense when so much electricity in Ontario came from Niagara Falls, and the term just stuck. I'd never heard it before moving here.
- Pogey. I had no idea what the term meant when I first heard it. It means unemployment compensation or, as it is now called, employment insurance benefits [EI, for short]. I wonder if it originally was some abbreviation of some programme in Ontario, e.g. Province of Ontario Gubmnt Insurance or some such phrase.
- Chocolate bar. In my childhood, this meant something like a Hershey bar but not a 3 Musketeers, not a Baby Ruth, not a Clark bar, etc. I.e., to be called a "chocolate bar", a candy bar had to be mostly chocolate. It took me awhile to realize that in Canada "chocolate bar" means just about any candy bar.
- Rubber. I was in shock when children in the neighbourhood where I first lived would ask, "Do you have a rubber?" When I was growing up in Michigan, the noun "rubber" meant condom (a word I didn't know back then); here it meant "eraser".
- College. In the US, college meant (and probably still means) just about any post-secondary education institution. There's junior college, a two-year place; but colloquially all 4-year post-secondary schools can be be called colleges and can refer to either a small liberal arts college or a major university or anything in between. In Canada, "college" and "university" are quite distinct, with college referring to two-year and more vocationally-oriented programmes, though the distinction seems to be blurring these days as some colleges try to obtain university status.
- Pissed. I had no idea what some guy meant when he said he was going to get pissed. "Why would he want to get mad?" I thought. It turns out that in Canada "getting pissed" is not the same as "getting pissed off". The former means getting drunk; the latter means becoming angry.
There are many other Canadianisms discussed in the original article (which I recommend), but these were the ones that struck me the most as I read it.