Pardon Our French: Revealing Canada's Most Potty-Mouthed Cities
Published on 5th June 2023
We Canadians are known to be rather polite, even to a fault sometimes. So, it might throw some people off when they learn about our proclivity for swearing. It seems that in today’s Great White North, throwing around a curse word or two isn't the taboo it once was.
Intrigued by our own swearing habits, we set out to uncover just how much soap we Canadians should have on hand to cleanse our potty mouths. To make things more interesting, we also dug in to find out the circumstances that lead to our vocal vulgarity, and to whom we direct our colourful words.
The average Canadian curses 12 times per day
Residents of Saskatoon have the dirtiest mouths, swearing 33+ times per day
1 in 4 Canadians use family-friendly swear words as polite substitutes
Residents in Laval, Quebec, swear the least: around once per day
Canadians swear the most at themselves or inanimate objects
Which Canadian Cities Swear the Most?
Residents in Saskatoon take the cake when it comes to using profanity, with the average resident cursing an astounding 33 times a day! How polite can you truly be when every other word out of your mouth has four letters?
There are four more cities that use at least one curse for each waking hour:
Edmonton, Alberta — 22.5 swears per day
London, Ontario — 21.56 swears per day
Longueuil, Quebec — 20.0 swears per day
Montreal, Quebec — 19.19 swears per day
Interestingly, while Saskatoon, a city in Saskatchewan, tops the list for excessive expletive usage in Canada, it’s the only city in the province ranking in the top 15. Ontario's residents are the biggest offenders overall, with 40% of the most profane cities located within the province. With skyrocketing housing costs, overcrowding, and the pressures of a modern world, it’s no wonder folks in Ontario just need to vent sometimes.
Taking all provinces and major cities we surveyed into account, the average Canadian swears 12 times a day.
Which Canadian Cities Swear the Least?
Residents in Laval, Quebec disappoint their mothers the least, as they swear an average of just over once per day.
Ontario apparently is split between sinners and saints…while 40% of the most profanity-using cities are located in the province, 60% of the cities that cuss the least often are located in the province as well.
Six more cities swear fewer than six times a day, or around once every three hours — assuming no one is cursing in their sleep:
Brampton, Ontario — 2.0 swears per day
Regina, Saskatchewan — 2.3 swears per day
Windsor, Ontario — 3.6 swears per day
Richmond, British Columbia — 4.0 swears per day
Oakville, Ontario — 4.75 swears per day
Mississauga, Ontario — 5.36 swears per day
Expletives, Eh? Canadian Swearing Habits
Most Canadians — 43% of us — swear most frequently at home. Maybe this “secret swearing” is why we’re able to maintain that reputation for being polite. Fewer Canadians — 33% — use expletives most commonly around friends. Only 2% use swear words most regularly on social media, and 3% at sporting events.
Canadians also swear at ourselves on the regular, with 31% stating most foul language usage is directed inward. A healthy 21% report they usually swear at inanimate objects. Just 1% said their cusses come out most when speaking to parents and coworkers.
Another 1% said they swear most often at sporting rivals, which really sets them apart from Americans…where we’d wager that number is much higher.
What about those freaking swear substitutions? How many Canadians are using more socially acceptable words to replace truly offensive curse words? Quite a few! In fact, only one in four Canadians don’t sub out the hard curses for more family-friendly options, like heck, dang, and fudge.
Crap is the favourite curse alternative, with 41% of our survey participants reporting using it in everyday conversations. Shoot and jeez are right up there, too, with 39% and 31%, respectively, using them regularly.
Fork, sugar, and crud are the least favourite tame options. No Canadians report using fork, and just 1% note that they use the other two.
We also wanted to know how many Canadians are using sacres, or expressions specifically related to Catholicism, which are considered strong profanities in Quebec French.
Only 9% of our respondents said they did use sacres, and 74% responded that they aren’t even sure what sacres are. These terms are generally only considered profane in and around Quebec, so we’re not terribly surprised by this.
What the Frick? How Much Do Canadians Curse?
The average Canadian curses 12 times a day, which is a bit surprising for a country that is considered by many to be a bastion of politeness. One in four residents uses family-friendly swear words to keep the conversation light but still…expressive, let’s say.
We surveyed 1,500 Canadians in May 2023 about how often, why, and when they curse. The average age of our participants was 35 years old. Just over half — 54% — were female, 44% were male, and 2% identified as non-binary or other.
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