What is a tuque?

Can you believe that it’s the end of April, and it’s snowing at our cottage in northern Ontario? Canada is a country known for its long, frigid winters… it makes sense that there would be special Canadian terms for winter gear that aren’t often heard elsewhere in the world!


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It’s cold out, eh! I’d better put on my tuque to keep my ears warm.


A tuque is a knit cap worn during the winter, often made of wool but increasingly made of synthetic fibers. It’s a very warm hat that “hugs the head”, and is normally worn covering the ears. Often, especially with kids, you will see large colorful pom-poms adorning the tops of tuques. Some tuques, especially those worn by skiers or snowboarders, come with a small brim – these are referred to as a bruque – but most tuques are worn flat against the forehead.

Some sources indicate that in regions outside of Canada tuques are known as beanies, but I’ve never heard that term in my life. In Canada a beanie is a much smaller cap placed atop your head. Jewish men often wear a type of beanie called a kippah or yarmulke during prayer, eating or studying as a sign of respect toward God.

Two popular Canadians known for wearing tuques are Bob and Doug McKenzie, characters from the Canadian sketch comedy television show SCTV. They were famous for portraying the typical Canadian stereotype, but don’t be fooled – not all Canadians are beer swilling, hockey-loving tuque-wearing hosers. Just… most of us.

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