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.

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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, in the iBookstore, and on newsstands.