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It’s a Long Way from Tickle Bay to Success

Claude Lemieux
(Terminology Update, Volume 15, Number 9, 1982, page 4)

There’s a lot of repetition among place names in Canada. At least half of the ten provinces have their Alma, Glenwood, Paradise, St. Andrews, St. George, St. Mary’s and St. Paul. Seven provinces have a Victoria and there’s a Victoriaville in Québec and a Victoire in Saskatchewan.

Every province also has its share of strange or curious place names, but when it comes to truly amusing and exclusive ones, Newfoundland wins hands down for wit, dryness, sparkle and just plain ham.

There’s an Eastport, a Southport and a Westport but no Northport. Instead, there are two North Harbours and both are in the south.

There’s also an East Bay in the south, a North Bay in the west, a West Bay way up north in Labrador and a Southern Bay in the east.

Delightful names like Come-by-Chance, Blow-me-Down and Harbour Grace are on most maps but what of Empty Basket and Bread-and-Cheese, Confusion Bay and Run-by-Guess, Jerry’s Nose and Joe Batt’s Arm?

Heart’s Delight, Heart’s Desire and Heart’s Content are three in a row along Highway 80, facing Little Heart’s Ease across Trinity Bay.

Great Pinchgut is not far from Tickle Bay, while it’s a short distance from Dildo to Conception Bay.

After visiting Gin Cove, Bottle Cove and Molson Lake, one can always convalesce at Bay de l’Eau or Dry Pond.

Leading Tickles is across the bay from Paradise, close to Too Good Arm and Comfort Cove.

After naming Horse Chops, Cat Gut and Happy Adventure, Newfoundlanders probably ran out of names, so the English named Harbour Harbour and the French countered with Port au Port. No one knows who named Nameless Cove.

Next in interest among provinces for unusual place names perhaps is Quebec, where settlers turned heavily to religion for place names.

The province has called more than six hundred places after saints, including fifteen Saint-Jeans, nine Saint-Pierres, eight Sainte-Annes and Saint-Josephs and seven Saint-Louis, Sainte-Marguerites and Saint-Pauls.

There are twenty-three Notre-Dames, including Notre-Dame de Ham and Notre-Dame de Stanbridge.

Ready for more "heavenly" place names?

Then how about L’Annonciation, La Visitation, La Présentation, La Providence, La Conception, La Rédemption, L’Assomption, L’Ascension and La Résurrection? And don’t forget L’Enfant-Jésus d’Ély.

Down in the Gaspé; Peninsula, the early settlers showed more imagination when they named Anse-Pleureuse (Whimpering Bay), Gros-Morne (Big Bluff), Manche-d’Épée (Sword Handle) and Cap-des-Rosiers (Rosebush Cape).

Each other province has its share of unusual or amusing place names, many of them reflecting the origin of the early settlers.

Saskatchewan has a Blumenheim, a Blumenhof, a Blumenort and a Blumenthal as well as a Reinland and a Rhineland.

That prairie province also has Plenty, Resource, Revenue, Success, Superb, Unity, Wartime, Livelong and Eyebrow.

Manitoba boasts Flin Flon, named after cartoonist Al Capp’s (Lil Abner) comic strip character Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin.

There’s no Dogpatch in Manitoba, however, but there is a Dogpound in Alberta if that’s any consolation.

Out west in British Columbia, villages called Wonowon, Chu Chua, Bella Bella, Kleena Kleene and Ta Ta Creek make one wonder how many of the early settlers were stutterers.

But there are other perfectly "normal" names in B.C. like Housefly, Soda Creek, Yahk, Olalla, Gang Ranch and River Jordan.

And, still in B.C., you can’t miss 70-Mile House, 100-Mile House and 150-Mile House if you watch your odometer carefully.

In northern B.C., Sunrise Valley is 6 miles [almost 10 km] east of Sunset Prairie as it should be.

In the Maritime Provinces, there are Ecum Secum and Skir Dhu in Nova Scotia, Five Fingers in New Brunswick and Five Houses in Prince Edward Island.

Some Indian and Inuit place names in Canada are real tongue twisters. They say you should pronounce them as you see them.

Try your luck with Gjoa Haven, Umingmaktok, Inoucdjouac, Musquodoboit and Keeseekoowenin.

In Ontario, there are Ottawa, Mattawa, Oshawa, Petawawa, Pagawa, Batawa, Sadowa, Nottawa, Mammamattawa and, of course, Wawa.

All ten Canadian provinces and [all three] territories have their share of interesting place names. They also have beautiful scenery, historic attractions, lively cities, varied events, comfortable accommodation and good restaurants. Vacation in Canada this year and see for yourself.