How to Speak “County”
Did you know that County residents have their own version of the English language? Being an island, the County has been somewhat isolated, and over time the locals developed their own jargon. Below is a list of County expressions ~ if we’ve missed any, be sure to add your “County-isms” in the comments.
Picton only has one main street, and no matter which way you approach from, it’s always uphill. Rather than saying “downtown” County residents go “upstreet” to go shopping.
For example “I took my ma upstreet to buy a newspaper.”
To party in a car; driving around back roads of Prince Edward County drinking beverages; refers to a particular route in the county.
For example “What’d you do Saturday night?”
“The Hayloft was full so we went Horn Tripping”
When the Hayloft is closed or full of tourists, or if you’re flat broke and can’t afford beverages for horn-tripping, recreation takes on a different attitude. The annual unofficial tournament of mailbox baseball was the scourge of rural residents in the 60’s and 70’s, but popularity waned when the province imposed its seatbelt legislation, making the physical act of swinging a baseball bat out the passenger window of a moving vehicle physically next to impossible and pricey if you got caught by the local cop.
Just like it sounds. Not necessarily restricted to cows, but they are in fact easier to tip than goats and far less ornery than bulls. Something to do in the off season when the Hayloft is closed, you have no money for beer and you lost your driver’s license for playing mailbox baseball.
Off the island, this is pronounced “a cross” but in the County, drop the extra ‘s’ and substitute with a ‘t’. No logical explanation. Also heard as a regular part of speech in parts of Windsor and Essex County.
For example “Did you see that elephant go acrost the road?”
We’ve also dropped the ‘t’ from other words …
Submitted by Lesley: It’s pronouced The Coun-EE NOT Coun-TY, at least in our house.
The County version of helpful suggestion.
For example “Since Ethel lost her teeth she might better stay away from the corn.”
Submitted by Janice: Right ready. …. “I’ll be right ready
Pretty much, Pretty good, Pretty near (or abbreviated to pret’near).
For example “I’m pretty near ready.”
Submitted by Heather
“I am from Toronto and used to have a part-time place in the county. During the years we were in the county we made some really great ‘local’ friends and neighbours. My husband and I used to tease our friends about some of the things they would say as it sounded so strange to us being from the city. One of the things that comes to mind is our friend telling us that the Consecon Lake used to be a “crick”. We weren’t sure what that meant until we figured out that what they were actually saying was ‘creek’.”
Author’s note: Same applies to Black River, or Black Creek – known to the locals as Black Crick.
Submitted by Lesley: Going to Black River. You don’t need to explain you’re going to get curd
Death notices at the post office
Death notices are posted on the bulletin board at the post office. Many times I’ve heard locals say, “I saw him dead in the Post Office.”
Locals will tell you how long it will take to get to a destination, rather than the kilometres or miles.
Submitted by ..
.. Gilles: Coun’y folk refer to the roads by local names, rather than the assigned numbers. Fer instance: “Big Swamp Road”, “East Lake” or “West Lake Road”, the “Demorestville Road”, “Anderson Road”, “Glenora Road”, “Long Point Road”. etc.
.. by Bev: And continuing that, so many of us long timers also say, “you know, the place where ________ used to live”.
.. by Lesley: If you tell anyone that you’re just past Grumpies they know exactly where you are (even though it no longer exists)
.. by Kirstyn: Saying a street is “something” way as in “Go down Belleville way and turn left” or if someone isn’t from the County, they “come from away”
.. by Sharon: “Up the line”. As in they live somewhere west of county towards Tarana.
.. by Terry: Mary St. Dead End Mary
Do you know of any local sayings that should be added to this page? Reply below with your suggestions.