8 Canadian town names will make you blush… and then some

The world is an amazing place. It’s filled with unusual cities, amazing locales and… some pretty strange place names, particularly when it comes to the English language. And even in friendly old Canada there’s some cities and towns  that’ll make you blush.

Strangest city names in Canada

Vulcan strangest city names place names in canada  swastika

Photo courtesy Pexels.

1. Dildo, Newfoundland and Labrador

Yes, it’s probably the most inappropriate place name in North America, but gosh darn it, don’t you just love the fact the citizens of Dildo, Newfoundland won’t change their city’s name? It’s unclear what led to the naming of this municipality, but the smart guy from jeopardy fame, Ken Jennings wrote in Conde Nast traveller, “at the time, “dildo” was a word used for any cylindrical object, from nautical pins to test tubes. It was also a type of tree and a nonsense syllable used in song refrains, so the island’s name could have referred to any of these.”
Happy Adventure, Newfoundland and Labrador
While we’re stopping in Newfoundland on Canada’s east coast, it’s worth putting a pin in Happy Adventure, Newfoundland. This pleasantly named village apparently got its moniker from a 17th-century pirate’s ship.

2. Ball’s Falls, Ontario

When two brothers with the surname Ball buy a bunch of property and end up with a tiny village named after them, that makes sense, right? Now you know how Ball’s falls came to be. Yes, there are waterfalls near the family homestead.

3. Vulcan, Alberta

Vulcan strangest city names place names in canada You may think the town of Vulcan was named after a member of city council fell too hopelessly in love with a certain sci-fi space TV show. Not so. Vulcan, a tiny town just south of Calgary in Alberta was named over 50 years before the first episode of Star Trek aired in 1966. Even so, an opportunity is an opportunity, and once the popularity of Star Trek grew, the town seized on it.

Space motifs and murals decorate the town and a Star Trek museum was built. But it did not live long and prosper, as the saying goes. It fell on hard times and was relocated to another small town called Drumheller. Which doesn’t really make any sense. But we wish them luck.

4. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta

Not so much a city as it is the remains of an ancient hinting ground for native Canadians. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is, as the name suggests a cliff where herds of buffalo or bison were driven over, plummeting to the earth below. With their heads now actually smashed in, the indigenous tribes would harvest the buffalo for meat, skins and more.
The location is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the world’s largest, oldest and best-preserved buffalo jumps.

5. Punkeydoodles Corners, Ontario

This town tops the list because it’s just fun to say. Punkeydoodles Corners is a hamlet in southwestern Ontario. Legend has it that it was named for a tavern where a German barkeeper would sing a bastardized version of Yankee Doodle he’d dubbed, “Punkey Doodle.” But the real story is anyone’s guess.
Sober Island, Nova Scotia
They’re serious here, not dry! Sober Island likely got its name for its remote location and sometimes dreary weather.
Found in the Bay of Islands on the eastern shores of Nova Scotia you can pluck oysters from the waters here, so it can’t be all bad.

6. Swastika, Ontario

Driving down the road and seeing this town’s name on the sign right on Canada’s national  highway might be cause for stepping on the accelerator but Swastika Ontario wears its name with pride. Why? Decades ago a swastika was an ancient religious symbol used in the Indian subcontinent, East Asia and Southeast Asia. For many, it’s still a sacred and spiritual symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Where things went off the rails was when German leader Adolph Hitler adopted it as his own logo, since it also had connotations of ‘good luck’ and good fortune.Vulcan strangest city names place names in canada  swastika

The provincial government tried to change the town’s name in the mid 1900’s but Swastikians would have none of it. When their village was renamed ‘Winston’ they tore down the new town sign and put up their own: “To Hell with Hitler. We had the swastika first.”

7. Eyebrow, Saskatchewan

A sideways glance? A wayward look? Nope, Eyebrow Saskatchewan is named for what one of the locals keenly observed was an eyebrow shaped hill arching over the homes here. Why name your town after part of an expression? Why not?

8. Stoner, British Columbia

Canadians chuckle at this town’s name, saying it’s too appropriate for the hippy culture that exists in Canada’s westernmost province. British Columbia weed or “BC bud” as it’s known is potent stuff, but that’s not what this town is in tribute to. Stoner is named after Stone Creek, a nearby waterway.

What strange or… potentially inappropriate cities or towns are there near you? Share some other ones we should check to for a future blog.