What Do Canadians Call Soda?

  • By: Max S.
  • Date: November 21, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Pop, soda, soft drink, fizzy drink, and coke are names used to refer to carbonated beverages. In some states or regions, one of these names is preferred over the rest and used almost exclusively to refer to carbonated beverages. 

If you move from one state or country to another, you may be surprised or even feel betrayed to find out that what you have known as soda all your life is not soda but pop. This difference in terms is not only noticeable in soft drinks but is also common in many areas, such as fashion, food, etc

To Americans, many words used in Canada may sound strange, out of place, or even annoying. However, with increasing globalization and migration, knowing how other countries refer to certain things will come in handy sooner or later.

So, What Do Canadians Call Soda?

Most people in Canada call soda ‘pop’, but some regions of Canada, such as Quebec and Manitoba have other names for carbonated beverages. 

According to a study by The 10 and 3, which surveyed 9500 Canadians on language, 63% of Quebecers used the term ‘soft drink’ while 20% of Manitobans preferred ‘soda’ and ‘soft drink.’ 

Also, in Montreal, many people do not refer to their soda as ‘pop.’

Why Do Canadians Say ‘Pop’ and Americans Say ‘Soda’?

generic soda

There are quite a few language differences between these countries. Similar to the way the majority of Canadians use ‘supper’ to refer to their evening meal (like the British) and Americans say ‘dinner,’ a very common term for carbonated beverages in Canada is pop and in America, it is called soda.

However, not all Canadians say pop and Americans have different names for carbonated beverages, including pop and coke. In most cases, the use of different terms for soft drinks is a regional difference, not a national one.

For example, in the American south, where Coca-cola was first established, soft drinks are commonly referred to as ‘coke’ regardless of their brand names. So, if you’re in a bar in Atlanta, GA, and ask for a coke, the bartender will reply with ‘what type of coke?.’ You then proceed to choose the brand you want, such as Pepsi.

Also, in Canadian regions like Montreal, Quebec, and Manitoba, people say soda or soft drink instead of the more popular ‘pop.’ 

Why some regions use a word and others use another is not known (except in the obvious case of ‘coke’) but since Canadians use more British words than American, the use of ‘pop’ in Canada may have originated from Britain because pop is a popular British term for soda. And soda for Americans is short for soda pop, from when soda was mainly served through soda fountains.

Canadians and Some Americans Call It ‘Pop’ and Some Americans and Canadians Call It ‘Soda,’ But What Do English-speaking People In Other Countries Call It?

soda vs pop

The term for soda also varies in many English-speaking countries. Like Americans, Britons use different terms to refer to carbonated beverages. These names are pop, fizzy drink, fizzy pop, and soda 

‘Soft drink’ is the most common name for soda in Australia and New Zealand. Also, in some parts of the UK and Ireland, sodas are called fizzy drinks. ‘Pop’ and ‘fizzy pop’ are familiar in Northern England, South Wales, and the Midlands, while ‘mineral’ or ‘lemonade’ (as a general term) are used in Ireland.

In Scotland, a soft drink is commonly referred to as ‘fizzy juice’ or even simply ‘juice’ or ‘ginger.’ On the other hand, English-speaking South Africans use the term ‘cool drink’ for any soft drink.

Regardless of the name soda is called in any country, the easiest way to purchase a brand name, such as 7UP or Sprite (called lemonade in the UK), is to specify the name. So, if you’re in New Zealand and you want a soft drink, it may be easier to ask the bartender for 7UP or Pepsi and not pop or soda. This allows you to get what you want quickly.

Asking for soda or pop may be confusing for the Australian local bartender and then frustrating for you when he keeps serving the wrong drink.

For non-English speaking countries, things are a little different. The Bohemian people of Czech Republic refer to all carbonated beverages as ‘limonada,’ and not only lemon-flavored beverages. Slovakians use ‘malinovka’ (raspberry water) when referring to carbonated beverages.

Was It Called Soda or Pop First?

diet soda brands

It was called soda first. As early as the 16th century, people used the term ‘soda’ when speaking about sodium carbonate. And carbonated water has been called soda water since the early 19th century.

As the story goes, pop was originated by a British poet in 1812, who wrote, “A new manufacture of a nectar, between soda water and ginger beer, and called ‘pop,’ because ‘pop goes the cork’ when it is drawn.” However, this story is not verifiable and may only be folklore.

Where Did the Word ‘Soda Pop’ Come From?

First, we need to know why it was first called soda.

The term soda water originated from an Arabic word for headache due to the use of soda water as a headache cure. Sodium is so named because it is found in natural soda water. Sodium carbonate is the chemical responsible for the bubbles in this beverage.

Most sodas are now made with dissolved carbon dioxide that creates carbonic acid when attached to water. This acid comes out to form bubbles that give soda its fizz. Soda without bubbles is flat, hence, manufacturers of early soda needed a way to keep the bubbles in. 

So, soda fountains were created, originally to serve mineral water or soda water, but were improved over time to serve soda. In serving soda, soda fountains produced carbonated water and added flavors from syrups. These machines are still found in some restaurants today. 

Fountains are large and cannot be carried around easily, so bottles were created that could hold the bubbles from soda. The various closure methods initially created for the bottles were not screw-tops as it is today, instead, they opened at once. And when they opened, they opened with a pop.

Due to this pop sound made by the bottles when they were opened, the term ‘soda pop’ became a thing. Although soda pop is still a popular name for soft drinks, the two words were separated over time and came to mean the same thing. 

Interestingly, soda and pop currently have state and regional connections where some regions say soda and others use pop when referring to soft drinks. Other names for soda that have developed over time include fizzy drinks and coke, among others.

Conclusion

Canadians and Americans agree on many things, such as the best movies, music, or TV shows. They are also strong allies and hold hands on economic and cultural fronts. But, one thing they do not agree on is what they call soda.

The majority of Canadians call carbonated beverages pop’ and many Americans call it soda. However, this difference in terms is only regional and not national, as some places in the US use pop and others use coke or soda pop when referring to soft drinks. 

Also, in Canada, some areas, such as Quebec, Manitoba, and Montreal, do not use ‘pop’ but use other terms like ‘soft drinks’ or even ‘soda.’

However, one thing is for sure – whatever soda is called in any state or country does not change its refreshing taste or amazing feel.