What’s a Timbit? Canadian Foods: A #BBCAN Glossary

Were you horrified to hear the “have-nots” in the Big Brother Canada house were given “BeaverTails” to eat? Canadians eat beaver’s tails? No we don’t, well some may, but what we do eat is the Canadian version of the US carnival food “elephant ears.”

From Poutine to Nanaimo bars and everything in between I have been asked many questions about uniquely Canadian foods. I have put together the following glossary with photo examples for USA & international Big Brother Canada viewers. If there are foods I missed, please tweet me a suggestion.

BeaverTails – BeaverTails are flat, doughnut type pastries sold by BeaverTails Canada Inc. at their pastry stands and stores across Canada. They are a fried dough pastry topped with various sweet condiments such as: whipped cream, hot fudge, nuts, cinnamon sugar, etc.


Poutine – Poutine originated in the province of Québec. It is likely Canada’s most famous dish and is traditionally made with fries, cheese curds and brown gravy.


Timbits – Timbits are doughnut-holes made by the Canadian coffee chain Tim Horton’s They come in a variety of flavors and packs of 10, 20 and 40. Timbits is also the name of the Tim Horton’s sponsored hockey league for little guys ages 5 & 6. (Yep, we start them young. It is the national sport after all.)


Nanaimo Bars – Nanaimo bars are a dessert square which originated in the town of Nanaimo, British Colombia. It is a combination of chocolate and custardy sweet flavors with layers of chocolate, cream and a wafer crumb bottom.

Nanaimo Bars

Cheezies – Cheezies are a cheddar curl snack made by Hawkins that have a rich, addictive “old” cheddar cheese taste. Similar to “Cheetos” but in my opinion much yummier with a stronger cheese flavor.


Butter Tarts – This Canadian tart has a buttery, toffee flavor. Butter tarts consist of butter, sugar and egg filled into a flaky pastry and baked until the filling is semi-solid with a crunchy top.

Butter Tart

Montreal Smoked Meat – Montreal smoked meat is made with kosher-style brisket and is salted then aged with spices. Traditionally served thick in a sandwich with mustard and pickles.

Montreal Smoked Beef

Canadian Bacon – Canadian style bacon is essentially back bacon. Canadians also eat “regular” bacon. The name actually originates in America to describe a different cut of ham.

Canadian Bacon

McLobster – McLobster is a “seafood salad” style sandwich served in an elongated bun that consists of lobster and a mayonnaise-sauce. It is served seasonally at McDonald’s in Atlantic Canada (Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, P.E.I & New Bruinswick.)


Ketchup Chips – Ketchup chips are one of Canada’s most popular flavors of potato chip. The brand “Old Dutch” lists the flavor as #2 in sales.

Ketchup Chips

Saskatoon Berries – Native to the Canadian prairies, this berry fruit has a flavor similar to blueberries with a slightly “wild” taste.  These berries are a popular filling in pies and also make great jams and jellies. (Note: I used to pick buckets of these when I was a little wildling in the mountains.)

Saskatoon Berries

Cod Cheeks – Cod cheeks are exactly what they say they are. The meaty flesh is white when cooked and boneless. It is often battered and fried just like Cod fillets. Cod cheeks are a popular dish in Atlantic Canada. (Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, P.E.I & New Bruinswick.)

Cod Cheeks

PEI Mussels – The small island province of Prince Edward Island is known for their bright blue cultured mussels. Grown in the cool waters surrounding PEI, 80% of North America’s mussels come from this province. They are commonly cooked in a garlic white wine sauce with shallots or green onion.

PEI Mussels