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Naming Canada: Stories about Canadian Place Names [Paperback]

Alan Rayburn
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

March 15 2001

This wonderful collection of 76 essays explores the fascinating origin and meaning of the names of some of the towns, villages, cities, islands, mountains, and rivers that make up one of the world's largest countries. This new edition includes fifteen more essays, and updates the previous essays to include changes, corrections and new names to the year 2000.

Discover how some of Canada's most unusual place names came to be; unearth the Aboriginal roots of names such as Miramichi, Klondike, Iqaluit, Toronto, and Ottawa; learn the origin of such playful and mellifluous names as Medicine Hat, Twillingate, Flin Flon, Cupids, or Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! From Bonavista and Port au Choix in the east, to Malaspina Strait and Port Alberni in the west, this book also reveals the rich Portuguese, Spanish, and Basque contributions to Canada's toponymic heritage. Naming Canada tells us about place names that became undesirable and had to be changed for reasons of perceived political impropriety. The former Stalin Township, for example, was renamed after Rick Hansen, the renowned Man in Motion, who promoted research in spinal cord injuries. The book also discusses Canadian names that have been exported abroad, such as Quebec in England and Toronto in Australia. One new essay explores the nicknames used for Canadian places, and focuses on Hogtown as an alternative for Toronto.

This collection is the best single source, in an engaging essay format, on the origin and meaning of hundreds of Canadian place names. Alan Rayburn has had over 35 years' experience in researching Canada's toponymic roots and in writing about the authentic backgrounds behind thousands of names, from Toronto in the south to Tukyoyaktuk in the north, and from Labrador in the east to Juan de Fuca Strait in the west.


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Review

'Naming Canada will be enjoyed and valued as a resource by everyone with an interest in place names or the geography of Canada.'--H. Gardiner Barnum "The Canadian Geographer "

Review

'Naming Canada is a bathroom book in the best tradition of the term. But much much more than that, it is also a book that informs and entertains...'

(Laird Rankin The Beaver)

'Alan Rayburn succeeds in bringing to life an unsuspected wealth of geographical names, associating them with their background and linking them to their history, thus providing the reader with an incredibly rich palette of Canadiana.'

(Andre Lapierre Onomastica Canadiana)

'Naming Canada will be enjoyed and valued as a resource by everyone with an interest in place names or the geography of Canada.'

(H. Gardiner Barnum The Canadian Geographer)

'This little book is full of entertaining stories. It is hard to put down once you start reading it. The stories are entertaining and give us some of the real cultural history of Canada.'

(R.J. Love Fredericton Daily Gleaner)

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting Nov. 5 2003
Format:Paperback
On a trip once from Ottawa to the Eastern Provinces of Canada I drove by a place in called "St.-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!" and I laughed. Where did a little place in Eastern Quebec get such a ridiculous name? Well that question was answered for me in <I>Alan Rayburn's</I> <b>Naming Canada</b>, a great book exploring the unique names municipalities, cities, provinces and places throughout Canada.
The book is actually a collection of years of columns that appeared in <I>Canadian Geographic</I> that were written by the author. It explores the different ways that places were named, as well as ethnic origins of those names and any standards used to come used to create them.
At times, the essays contained within the book can seem a little academic for the average reader, which can render it a little boring. But the remarkable research put into the content of the book more than makes up for it. Overall, anyone who want to find out about why anyone would name a province Saskatchewan, or which native tribes were most responsible for the names that scatter the Canadian landscape, this is a very fascinating book, and well worth the read.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting Nov. 5 2003
By Mike G Girardin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
On a trip once from Ottawa to the Eastern Provinces of Canada I drove by a place in called "St.-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!" and I laughed. Where did a little place in Eastern Quebec get such a ridiculous name? Well that question was answered for me in <I>Alan Rayburn's</I> <b>Naming Canada</b>, a great book exploring the unique names municipalities, cities, provinces and places throughout Canada.
The book is actually a collection of years of columns that appeared in <I>Canadian Geographic</I> that were written by the author. It explores the different ways that places were named, as well as ethnic origins of those names and any standards used to come used to create them.
At times, the essays contained within the book can seem a little academic for the average reader, which can render it a little boring. But the remarkable research put into the content of the book more than makes up for it. Overall, anyone who want to find out about why anyone would name a province Saskatchewan, or which native tribes were most responsible for the names that scatter the Canadian landscape, this is a very fascinating book, and well worth the read.
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