shawn mendes in toronto

Shawn Mendes teaches Ontario slang in new YouTube video

Pop star Shawn Mendes is known for proudly representing Toronto and his hometown of Pickering in everything from his music and interviews to his new Netflix doctumentary, and now the celebrity is once again repping Ontario in a new Vanity Fair video. 

The YouTube video, titled Shawn Mendes Teaches You Canadian Slang, features Mendes explaining the meaning behind a number of slang words, some of which are used throughout the country and some of which are specific to his home province and town.

"One of the best moments ever was when I was like 17 and Drake took a photo with me and captioned the photo with me 'Pickering god,'" recounts the singer in a sweet anecdote at the beginning of the video. "It really meant a lot to me and Pickering."

Mendes then goes on to explain a list of words that, while likely unknown to much of Vanity Fair's American audience, will sound familiar to anyone living in Ontario. 

The first word in the video is "Ajax," which Mendes describes as "a town very close to Pickering," "the newer version of Pickering" and "the little brother to Pickering" where some of his family members live. 

The next term in the video is a "mickey," which isn't exactly unique to Ontarians and is instead used by many Canadians as a way to refer to "a flask-sized bottle of vodka" or other kind of hard alcohol, according to Mendes. 

Mendes later explains the term "loafter" by pointing to his friend as an example of someone who "is taking forever and loafting around the place" and "taking their time" when you're trying to get somewhere.

Other slang words mentioned in the video include a "26," "Famous Players," "beauty," "what you sayin'," "that's jokes," "darts," "washroom," "Timmies," "toque," "bare," "Scarberia" and "whose mans." 

And some of the words mentioned in the video aren't slang at all and are instead just terms specific to the area, including "GO Train," "Durham Region Transit," "Pioneer Village" and "beaver tail."

Of all the slang words mentioned, though, Mendes says he believes the most commonly used in both Pickering and Toronto is "guy," which he describes as "the way you call a guy you don't know" or even something his friends call him colloquially.

Mendes also explains the term "snowbird" in the video, which he says is a way to describe a Canadian who travels south for the winter such as himself, as he was in Miami when the video was shot.

But while Mendes has been in both Miami and Los Angeles for much of the pandemic thanks to his girlfriend, Camila Cabello, and his music career, the Canadian icon is officially home for the holidays.

Earlier this month, Mendes said "this is the most excited [he's] ever been to come back to Canada," adding that he "might never leave this time."

Lead photo by

Vanity Fair


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