Did you know there are only 973 official towns in Canada? I was surprised at how low that number is, considering our vast size, but that's the official number of incorporated towns.

Makes it feel like a very large percentage of our town names are totally ridiculous, because, honestly, this list just begins to scratch the surface.

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TL;DR The Canadian sense of humour is alive and well if these town names are any indication — though not all of them are necessarily trying to be funny and the origins of some are downright fascinating. Check out your home province below!

After writing this article I'm super interested in learning more about the origins of our town and village names in Canada. 

So many of them have an interesting settler story or otherwise originate in local Indigenous languages.

Though, some are a straight mystery, so your guess is as good as mine.

Newfoundland and Labrador


Dildo

Hard to say how this town got its name since the origins of the word itself are unknown.

All that really matters is that people from Dildo are known as Dildonians.

Spread Eagle Bay

Newfies really do have the best sense of humour, and their town names are proof of that.

Although, perhaps this really is just referring to an eagle spreading its wings, guys. Get your heads out of the gutter.

Jerry's Nose

Shout out to my dad who has a great nose! He's not from Newfoundland, but his name is Jerry, so I had to include this one.

I bet the Jerry they named this town after is a pretty sweet guy, too.

Prince Edward Island


Cardigan

There is something so CUTE about this and P.E.I. is so CUTE and it's all just too much.

The name doesn't refer to the sweater, though. It's actually a reference to an Earl of Cardigan.

Crapaud

Ok, Francophones are going to be like what's the big deal? But as an Anglophone who has the sense of humour of a twelve year old, this one is fun.

But, yes, I know it just means, "toad."

Tignish

Another stupidly cute name from P.E.I!!! I can't.

This one comes from the Mi'kmaq word, "mtagunich," which means "paddle."

New Brunswick


Quispamsis

This one is only weird cause it's so hard to say. Or spell. The meaning is pretty straightforward, though, if you speak Maliseet.

It means, "little lake in the woods." Nice.

Pokemouche

New Brunswick is rife with town names originating from Indigenous languages, making their maps endlessly interesting.

"Pokemouche" comes from the Mi'qmak word, "Pokomújpetúák," which essentially translates to "saltwater place where there is an abundance of fish."

Dumfries

How dare you speak about fries like that, New Brunsiwck!!!!!

Okay, ya this town name has nothing to do with actual fries. It actually refers to the town of the same name in Scotland.

Nova Scotia


Sober Island

Perhaps someone used this island to get on the wagon back in the day. 

Mushaboom

You might know this one from the Feist song! The town and the song are both in homage to Mushaboom Harbour.

Joggins

While I'm sure the town would agree it's a great place for a run, that's not how the town got its name.

Another Mi'kmaq translation that orignated from the word, "chegoggins," which means large fish weir. 

A fish weir, in case you didn't know, is like a boat lock system used to trap and catch fish, pictured above.

Quebec


Shawinigan

The name of this town has apparently changed spelling seven times, likely in an attempt to anglicize the Indigenous word which refers to a raised or jutting out place for portaging in the Mauricie area.

The name will likely never change again, though. Not after it became famously associated with the "Shawinigan handshake," Jean Chrétien's famous chokehold on an anti-poverty protestor in 1996.

Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!

This town is actually in the Guinness Book of World Records for the town with the most exclamation points in its name!

Asbestos

Aptly named for the massive asbestos mine that used to be in business in the town.

Ontario


Ball's Falls

Ah, thank you Ball brothers, for your giving your seemingly innocuous name to these two waterfalls.

They had no idea how much joy they would be bringing future, immature Canadians.

Punkeydoodles Corners

Legend has it, a local innkeeper always sang Yankee Doodle which went through some sort of strange broken telephone and came out as Punkeydoodle on the other end. Who knows.

Wawa

Another town name that is a lot less weird once translated. "Wawa," is the Ojibwe word for "wild goose."

Manitoba


Finger

What's with the Prairies naming places after body parts? 

Cranberry Portage

This just sounds like one of those very practical town names.

What's that place over there called?
– I don't know, it's where we have to portage the cranberries.

And, boom, a town is named.

Flin Flon 

Named after the main character in the novel, The Sunless City by J.E. Preston Muddock, reportedly found by the town's prospector, Tom Creighton.

Saskatchewan


@corentin_chtlembedded via  

Eyebrow

This one makes for fun photos when driving by the town limits sign.

Elbow

I'm starting to sense a trend.

Adanac

This one is just Canada backwards!

Alberta


Vulcan

Vulcan is a town within a county of the same name! Though the town was actually named after the Roman god of fire, it is now known as the Official Star Trek Capital of Canada.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

I've actually been here! This cliff that is a UNESCO heritage site and home to a museum of Blackfoot culture. The name comes from the tactic Indigenous tribes would use to fool buffalo into running off a cliff. Clever hunting trick, that.

Milk River

Delicious.

British Columbia


Stoner

Are we surprised by this one at all?

Salmon Arm

Salmon's don't have arms, British Columbia, are you high?

Just kidding, this one's named after the southwest arm of the Shuswap Lake.

Clo-oose

I don't know why but this makes me think of a cool goose. 

The origins are from the word, "tluu7uus," in Nitinaht, which means "camping place."

Okay, ya that makes more sense.


Bonus: The Territories

@b.e.t.t.y.membedded via  

Hay River, Northwest Territories

Also known as the "Hub of the North," Hay River does not actually have a river made of hay, so hold your horses.

Mayo, Yukon

Though it is truly the superior condiment, the town was not nmaed after mayonnaise.

The town was actually named after settler and acrobat, Alfred Mayo.

Source 1  | Source 2 | Source 3


 

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