A Canadian Double-Double

Collector: What exactly does double-double mean to Canadians?

HK: In Canada, Tim Horton’s coffee is a big part of our diet, so generally a double-double means a Timmy Ho’s coffee with two creams and two sugars. Even though I guess it can mean any coffee with two cream and two sugars, it usually means Tim Hortons.

Collector: When did you first learn this term and how?

HK: I’ve known it for as long as I could remember. Both of my parents are Canadian and big coffee drinkers so I learned it from them at a pretty young age. 

Collector: Is this a term that is widely used in Canada or a smaller community you are familiar with?

HK: I’m pretty sure everyone in Canada knows what a double-double is. Everywhere I have been has used it and I have traveled through much of Canada. 

Collector: When did you realize this term was unique to Canada and Canadians?

HK: Well it was when I first moved to California when I was fifteen. I had made some new friends and they took me to In-n-Out Burger. I asked them what they were going to order there and when they all responded “a double-double”, I immediately asked, “you guys got Timmy Ho’s here?”. They then looked at me like I was from another planet. And that is the moment I realized that a double-double had a very different meaning to Americans. 

Collector: How did that experience change your understanding of both the term double-double and Canadian and American culture?

HK: It made me realize that although Canadians and Americans are very similar there are still a lot of subtle differences between them. I guess Canadians are more into coffee and Americans are more interested in cheeseburgers.

Context: My informant is an eighteen-year-old freshman student at USC. He was born and raised solely in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada until age fifteen then moved to Palm Desert, California. Even since living in California, my informant has still spent around a month every summer in Canada. His explanation of this folk term to me was done in person at the Sigma Chi fraternity house at USC. 

Analysis: I find it fascinating that the term double-double is so widely used in both America and Canada however, it describes two different large aspects of each countries culinary culture. It shows that for one Tim Hortons coffee is a much larger part of Canada’s culinary culture and cheeseburgers are a much larger part of America’s. It also exemplifies how even though Canada and America seem to be very similar there is a lot of difference between the two cultures.