Where is Back East?

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More "Down East"

It all has to do with the St. Lawrence River which shows a northerly direction on the map, but the water actually flows 'down river' towards the Gulf of St. Lawrence. So in earlier times when the river was the main source of transportation, the ships would be sailing down river from the Great Lakes to points in Quebec and the east coast - hence, "down east". Even today when vessels are travelling from the Atlantic, they are going 'up river' to Quebec City or Montreal.

admin more than 6 years ago

Down East.

When I was growing up in Ontario, folks from my family (who were originally from Quebec) said "down east." For them, this meant Quebec and the Maritimes. I've often wondered why they said "down", and now that I've moved to the Yukon I think I know. Folks here in Dawson City head "up to Whitehorse", even though it's 500km south. This is because Whitehorse is UP the Yukon River from Dawson. Quebec is downriver from Ontario. Hence, down east. (Also think about the old Upper and Lower Canada. )

admin more than 6 years ago

Back East? Down East?

Hailing from Southern Ontario, down east always referred to the Maritimes and Newfoundland. Since moving to Vancouver, it still takes me by surprise when I hear someone say "they're going back east" and they are only going as far as Ontario.

While living in Cornwall, England, it took me a while to figure out that if you're travelling to London - or anywhere else in England - you're going "up country."

It appears as if every country, region, village, and even family has its own lingo - fascinating!

Dale more than 6 years ago

OUT east

I've been a vocal cheerleader for "out east" since I was having dinner at a friend's and his mom referred to back east

and he mentioned that he always says out east, having been born and bred in Victoria,

and she got really mad and said "it's 'back east,' not 'out east,' that's how the language evolved!" and he said exactly! it's still evolving!

as far as i'm concerned out east begins beyond Hope.

lucky more than 7 years ago


I like your question about why back east and not back west. I am going to Google this right now. Also, thank you for the compliment on my pie charts. Scientific is what I was going for!

Alana more than 7 years ago

As a Maritimer back east to

As a Maritimer back east to me means all the way east as in the Maritimes and Newfoundland. Down east refers to the Maritimes but excluding Newfoundland and if I was going to visit friends and family in Ontario I just say "I'm going to Ontario". Us east coasters are a pretty laid back bunch so there's no tried and true rule.

Sheena more than 7 years ago

awesome pie chart colour

awesome pie chart colour scheme !! ;)

dec more than 7 years ago

back east: Winnipeg

When I was growing up in Vancouver, “back east” meant Winnipeg, where my both my parents were born.

Patty O more than 7 years ago

Out west?

I wonder if maritimers consider "out west" to be ontario, the prairies, or bc?

also, why do people say "back east" but not "back west"? is it b/c that's where immigration started in canada, so it would be where you'd go "back" to if you were visiting people from "back home"?

very interesting post and very scientific looking pie charts.

kb more than 7 years ago


and here I thought "back east" meant Malawi

zameericle more than 7 years ago


When there’s more than one adjective before a noun, does it matter what order they’re in?

—Anthea, Cyberspace

Read the answer from Geist Editors!



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