Top 10 unique Canadian place names

Pack up the station wagon for your next family vacation in Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alta.


Rob Schmidt / Flickr

We asked Historica Canada (formerly the Historica-Dominion Institute) to pick their favourite odd-sounding places names in Canada. Maybe their list will give Dildo, Nfld. a bump in tourism:

1. Goobies, Nfld.: We don’t know what a Goobie is, but can guess, and it’s not pretty.

2. Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, Que.: It’s best if you bring a sense of humour to this southeastern Quebec town. Stop to take some pictures; it will alleviate the boredom of the coming “moose highway” in New Brunswick.

3. Dildo, Nfld.: Goobies? Dildo? What is it with Newfoundland?

4. Vulcan, Alta.: Enterprising Trekkies and Trekkers will be chuffed to know the trip to Spock’s hometown is not as far as they once thought.

The Maclean's Book of Lists, Vol. 2

5. Trois-Pistoles, Que.: It’s said to have been an inspiration for the Tragically Hip’s song Three Pistols, but a pistole was in fact an old gold coin, and Trois-Pistoles refers to the myth of an explorer who lost a goblet worth three pistoles in the Saint Lawrence River. It’s a lovely town, to boot. Check out Cantine d’Amours.

6. Punkeydoodles Corners, Ont.: How great would it be to have a T-shirt that read, “Punkeydoodles Corners, Ontario”? Let’s get on that.

7. Moose Jaw, Sask.: The origin of this name is debated, but who cares? When your town’s name is Moose Jaw, no one messes with you.

8. Medicine Hat, Alta.: The English translation of saamis, the Blackfoot word for the headdress worn by medicine men, this city’s name now induces head-scratching among tourists.

9. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alta.: This UNESCO World Heritage Site wins in the most descriptive, nothing-left-to-the-imagination category.

10. Brooks Brook, Yukon: Whose brook? Brook’s brook? Brook’s book fell in Brook’s brook in Brooks Brook. We’ll stop there.

The Maclean’s Book of Lists, Vol. 2, is now available at www.macleans.ca/bookoflists, in the iBookstore, and on newsstands.

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Top 10 unique Canadian place names

  1. I would have included Moose Factory as well.

    • Stand Off, Alberta, just outside Lethbridge

      • Dogpound, Alberta

  2. Elbow, Saskatchewan
    Eyebrow, Saskatchewan

  3. No love for Ecum Secum?

  4. I’ll meet your Dildo, Newfoundland and raise you a Climax, Saskatchewan.

  5. Turtleford, Saskatchewan needs to make the list!

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