Newfoundland & Labrador: Home of the World’s Weirdest Place Names
Among the things that make the province of Newfoundland and Labrador unique are the great food, the friendly people, the unpredictable winters and its sheer natural beauty. But as beautiful as the province is, it has attracted a host of very strange names.
Some of the unusual names that decorate provincial maps include:
Killbride, Cow Head, Goobies, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Haystack, Little Burnt Bay, Funk Island, Sops Island and Nameless Cove (I guess all the really strange names were already taken.)
Here are my top ten weird Newfoundland and Labrador place names: (The stories behind the origin of the names were sourced from the Newfoundland and Labrador Book of Everything.)
10. Furby’s Cove
Located on the South Cost of Newfoundland, I don’t think Furby’s Cove is named after a creature that resembles a gremlin. Still, I would avoid visiting this locale after midnight…
9. Naked Man Hill
While Captain Cook was surveying the coast, he erected a pile of stones. Apparently, from a distance, these stones looks like a man.
8. Dumpling Harbour
Located off the East Coast of Labrador, Dumpling Harbour is a tiny island that has the shape of a dumpling. This was possibly the inspiration for its name. Or for a meal. Either way, it’s delicious!
This Avalon town’s name was originally either Barren Head or Bearing Head, but thanks to the local dialect, it is now called Bareneed.
6. Cranky Point
When I wake up and see snow in April, I point in horror at the white stuff. But this is not how the name was derived. The name originates from the dangerous see that surrounds it. “Crank” is used to describe the impact of strong winds on a boat.
5. Ha Ha Bay
Five places in the province have this hilarious name, which likely came from a French Expression meaning “dead end”.
4. Indian Tickle
Indian Tickle is a community in Labrador. A “tickle” is a saltwater strait that does not lend itself to easy navigation. Other similar names include Baker’s Tickle, Black Tickle, Chimney Tickle and Venison Tickle. No “Feather Tickle”?
A corruption of the French name “d’iles deux”, Dildo’s harbour is protected by two large islands, called Dildo Island and Spread-eagle Island. No comment.
2. Joe Batts Arm
In this context, an arm is an inlet. One theory as to the name’s origin is that Joe Batt, sailing under Captain James Cook, decided to jump ship and settle in the “arm”. A number of communities in the province have “Arms”, such as Virgin Arm, Goose Arm, Middle Arm, Three Arms and Too Good Arm. You wouldn’t want to have a broken arm in Too Good Arm – that’s just bad publicity.
1. Pinchgut Point
Pinchgut Point can be found on the shores of Placentia Bay. Its name reflected a scarcity of food. During the place-name reform of the 1960s, similar names like Famish Gut were not allowed. Yet the names above did make the cut. Interesting…
These are just a handful of the noteworthy place names in the province. There are many more.
What is the strangest place name you’ve ever heard?
- Another Reason to Live Rural Newfoundland & Labrador (liveruralnl.com)