50 Quirky Place Names Across Canada
The 50 weirdest town names in Canada are as unusual (and entertaining!) as our country is wide. We did the digging to figure out how they earned their delightfully odd names.
Super-punny and geographically accurate, this town’s claim to fame is that it’s, well, not Ottawa.
Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, Quebec
No, it’s not a joke, and yes, there are exclamation marks in this proper name. Word has it the interjection is the sound one makes at the sight of the town’s lake.
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Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta
A bit gory, perhaps, but it makes sense when you consider that indigenous people used to kill buffalo here by driving them off the site’s 11-metre cliff.
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Flin Flon, Manitoba
There’s no beach in Flin Flon, so you can drop the idea that its name was inspired by everyone’s favourite summer sandal. In fact, this Manitoba mining town is named after a science fiction literary character.
Mature, Saskatchewan. Real mature. Their goodbye sign reads “Please Come Again,” adding a dose of Canadian politeness and levity to an otherwise awkward name.
Happy Adventure, Newfoundland.
When settlers landed, they couldn’t help but address the lush scenery when naming this town.
With a population of just over 11,000, you may think this town name references its modest size. But it’s actually named after the pet dog of Lady Sarah Maitland, the wife of Upper Canada’s Lieutenant Governor.
Blow Me Down, Newfoundland.
It might sound like an aggressive demand, but a visiting ship captain feared its strong winds would literally blow him down.
Imagine the sign once you drive into town reading, “You’re now entering Entrance.” How’s that for redundancy?
One would assume the population would be overflowing beyond its bounds, but only 50 people call this town home.
Pain Court, Ontario
It sounds like it could hurt, but only if you’re assuming this agricultural community in the municipality of Chatham-Kent has English roots. Established in 1854, Pain Court is one of the oldest French-speaking settlements in southern Ontario, and translates as “short bread.”
One might think that the founders of this Quebec municipality had a thing for condiments, but its Irish settlers actually named it in honour of their home county.
Sober Island, Nova Scotia
Can you even get a drink here? As a major hub for oysters, we’d assume so, since they’re best paired with bubbly.
Bacon Cove, Newfoundland.
A fishing and farming cove, this name may not make sense given its primary export-but it’s enough to make your mouth water regardless.
Crotch Lake, Ontario.
Situated smack between the two legs of a lake, this town name makes an awkward sort of sense.
Remember that 2009 psychological thriller called Pontypool? (Neither do we.) It also turns out the first settlers named it after their hometown of Pontypool, Wales.
Let’s just get the raunchy stuff out of the way. With no affiliation with its modern definition, it’s rumoured to refer to a pin placed in a rowboat that attaches to the oar.
Quispamsis, New Brunswick.
Translated from the Maliseet language into “little lake in the woods,” it’s commonly referred to as Q-Dot, because, well… Who has time to even pronounce the whole thing?
So fitting that Pocahontas would be a hub for scenic campgrounds in renowned Jasper National Park.
Salmon Arm, British Columbia.
The imagery is something you would only see in a hallucination, but it actually refers to the concentration of salmon that used to live in the southwest arm of the Shuswap Lake.
This town was named after a post office, which begs the question, “What was that post office named after?”
As unappealing as it sounds – our throats are tickling just thinking about it – the town was (until recently) home to a vast asbestos mine.
Cardigan, Prince Edward Island.
No need to constantly bundle up here! This community was named after James Brudenell, the 5th Earl of Cardigan.
A community in the Severn townships, we’re hoping that living there is the antidote to wintertime blues.
It may be an inversion of the mid-western American state, but it actually means “flowing water” in the Dakota language.
Sorry, Trekkies – this isn’t Spock’s home. It’s said to have been named by a railway surveyor after the Roman God of Fire, but its exact origin hasn’t been traced.
Herring Neck, Newfoundland.
Fishermen from this region used to portage a large amount of herring across the Pike’s Arm. How the “neck” came to be is a mystery.
Stop the press! This town was named after The Daily Mirror, a London-based tabloid founded in 1903.
We know you chuckled in elementary school, but now that you know Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, named it after her mother, the Queen (Victoria Regina), it seems way less funny.
Keg River, Alberta.
We imagine the founding fathers of Keg River, Alberta, knew how to have a good time.
Pokemouche, New Brunswick.
You may be wondering whether this town was named by a Pokemon enthusiast, but the word is actually Mi’qmak for “Pokomújpetúák”, which has been interpreted as either “salt water entrance,” “lots of fish,” or “ground of abundance.”
Seven Persons, Alberta.
An ode to polygamy, Mormons migrated here from the U.S. for religious freedom.
Mushaboom, Nova Scotia
Mushaboom about nothing: If you’re a Feist fan, you’ll know she wrote a song about this town, which derives its name from the Mikmaq term for “a pile of hair.”
Spuzzum, British Columbia
Although it would make a great name for a superhero, Spuzzum is actually a First Nations term for “little flat.” The best part? Because this Fraser Valley settlement is situated 50 kilometres north of the town of Hope, B.C., it’s often referred to as being “beyond Hope.”
Osoyoos, British Columbia
Syilx’tsn for suius, meaning “narrowing of the waters,” early settlers added the “O” prefix to unify all the towns in the Okanagan Country.
Here’s the real reason the plural of moose isn’t “meese.”
Skookumchuk, British Columbia
Chinook for “strong water” or “rapids,” we’d bow out if challenged to say it ten times fast.
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Crapaud, Prince Edward Island
It’s French for “toad,” but much more fun for anglophones to say.
Next, check out the most quirky roadside attractions across Canada.