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Look it up in the ‘Cape Breton dictionary’

Justine Williamson, left, and Greg Vardy can tell you all about Cape Bretonisms.
Justine Williamson, left, and Greg Vardy can tell you all about Cape Bretonisms. - Submitted

Cape Breton duo’s new video explains various Cape Breton terms

SYDNEY, N.S. - If the mere idea of having a scoff while playing meat darts makes you want to have a conniption fit, the latest comedy video from Justine Williamson and Greg Vardy should leave you roarin.’

And if that last sentence made no sense whatsoever, there’s a good chance you’re not from here anyway.

Vardy and Williamson are the duo behind the latest viral video, “The Cape Breton Dictionary.” They are better known around here as the comedy team of Tracy and Martina, the overly made-up ladies who are just a little too down to earth.

This production sees Vardy and Williamson dropping their Tracy and Martina personas in favour of using themselves and other Cape Bretoners, including MP Rodger Cuzner, to explain what various Cape Breton phrases and words really mean.

“Cape Breton has such a unique dialect that we thought it would be funny to showcase it in a video format,” said Williamson. “The video itself took maybe half a day to shoot and about a week trying to come up with phrases and terms and who we wanted to cast in a video.”

The video has already garnered more than 850,000 views since it was posted online on Nov. 8. Williamson says they had no idea just how popular the video would be.

“(This is) the first time Greg and I have done anything just as us and not in character so we didn’t really know the reach that it would have,” said Williamson. “We didn’t know the kind of impact this video would have. It is scary.

“When you’re in character, it’s more comfortable for me and Greg — it sounds weird but we don’t have to be judged as us so it was a little different but I think it also was important for that style of video to just be us because we didn’t want to distract from the subject itself.”

And what a subject it is. The two examine the meanings of various popular sayings, some of which are well known like pogey and ice clampers and some that might be less familiar to you such as using puck as a verb instead of a noun and the true meaning of a combination pizza.

Although Williamson and Vardy have had video viewerships of up to 300,000 in the past as Tracy and Martina, the success of the “Cape Breton Dictionary” is proving to be much bigger than that, says Williamson.

“The amount of views has been the biggest surprise — we’ve never had a video that’s almost reached a million. The highest we’ve ever had in the past was maybe 300,000. So this is like abnormally high. I’d be interested to see where the views are coming from. Maybe it’s just 800,000 Cape Bretoners spread out across Canada.”

For their past five videos, Vardy and Williamson have been working with CBC comedy and they’re planning on more projects including a look at Cape Breton becoming Canada’s 11th province. Williamson says there will also be a second video on more Cape Breton language terms.

As Tracy and Martina, they will be hosting at the second annual Cape Breton Beerfest on Dec. 2 at the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion.


• ROARIN’ – To laugh uproariously.

• MEAT DARTS – Legendary sport where people throw darts to win various cuts of meat. Winners can then have a …

• SCOFF – A good meal

• POGEY – You have to ask?

• ICE CLAMPERS – Thick chunks of ice in the harbour which some ill-advisedly walk or play on.

• COMBINATION PIZZA – Oh, come on now, you really don’t know? Apparently some in other parts of Canada don’t understand that this popular form of sustenance contains peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni and cheese.

RELATED: For a more academic dictionary:  The Dictionary of Cape Breton English is finally ready

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