Let's Call it Canada 

Ages 9+

Where in the world is Punkeydoodles? How about Burpee? Or Skedadle Ridge? Why, in Canada, of course!

Canada is home to many places with wild, wacky, and witty names�explore them in Let's Call It Canada: Amazing Stories of Canadian Place Names. Journey from coast to coast to coast with award-winning author Susan Hughes as she discovers the best stories behind Canadian place names, and illuminates Canada�s incredible diversity. Extensive research combined with a playful sense of humor makes this book an entertaining but informative look at the naming of Canada.

Let's Call it Canada is part of Maple Tree Press' WOW Canada! collection. Richly varied, yet intrinsically connected, the books in the Wow Canada! library celebrate different aspects of the country's story. Together, they weave a rich tale as diverse and exciting as the country itself.

Maple Tree Press - Let's Call it Canada


"Fun facts abound in this colourfully illustrated collection..."
- Canadian Geographic

"...an enjoyable and informative read and, like others in the series, it offers an entertaining approach to history."
- School Library Journal

"In a country as vast as this one, any book that gives us a better understanding and awareness of our neighbours is a must-have title for classrooms and libraries."
- Canadian Children's Book News

"Let's Call It Canada...will serve a useful purpose as inspiration and support for school projects, and additional ammunition for Canadian trivia reading buffs of all ages. Flag them for summer reading and travellers too."
- Quill & Quire

"...a feast of history and incident...delivered in bits and illustrated bites."
- Globe & Mail

"an informative and entertaining book which will have its readers returning again and again"
- CM Magazine

"a delightful look at the stories behind Canadian place names...This lively coast-to-coast journey explores our country�s history in a colorful trivia fashion"
- North Bay Nugget

"...kids will learn more history and geography from this candy coated `atlas� than from a whole shelf of dry textbooks"
- The Muskokan

"So much to read, and so much to learn. What a treat this series of books called Wow Canada! is."
- Brandon Sun

"certainly deserves a place in any school library....As a reference text and source of enrichment Let's Call It Canada will add great dimension to the study of Canada from Grade 5 through secondary school."
- Professionally Speaking

What a great book! In Let's Call It Canada: Amazing Stories of Canadian Place Names award- winning writer Susan Hughes has encapsulated the many strands of historical events and personages, the primacy of our native people and the influences of our immigrant forebears from so many different places, into an informative and entertaining book which will have its readers returning again and again. As its name implies, Hughes' book, part of the "Wow Canada!" series, sparks the imagination about the why and the how of the naming of the places we call home.

With a country as large and diverse as Canada, this book does not pretend to be inclusive. Instead, Hughes sets out in her introduction her rationale for putting this book together. She writes, "...we decided to focus on the most common reasons for naming, and to include in each category the cleverest, funniest, and most memorable names we could uncover." Let's Call It Canada proceeds in exactly that fashion. It begins with the naming of our country, then each individual province and territory, and expands to include many towns, lakes, rivers, bays and mountains throughout our country. The breadth of Canada, both historically and physically, is overwhelming as the reader explores the 551 place names found in 22 chapters with titles such as "Dazed and Confused: Misspellings, Mispronunciations, and Plain Old Misnaming"; "By Any Other Name: Names from the Pages of Books"; "The World at Our Doorstep: Names From Other Lands"; and "Let Me Tell You: Places Named for Signals and Signs." Each page has several stories to capture the reader's attention whether it is about why Gimli (Manitoba) is called Gimli; who the courageous teenager named Vercheres (Quebec) was; or that Ha Ha Bay (Newfoundland) is not a joke. The book is written as a compilation of diverse vignettes with watercolour and photographic illustrations which add to its reader friendliness. Several vignettes appear on each page, and, although they have unique focuses, they are connected to the common theme of the chapter.

The self-explanatory table of contents is complemented with an inclusive index of all the bold face place names. While there is no formal bibliography or reference list, Hughes has included a listing of further resources both in print and Internet formats for the interested and eager reader.

Let's Call It Canada is a definite must-have for any library whether used by children or not. Anyone who has ever wondered about why a Canadian place received its name will be captivated as will the reader who is just curious about what might be found in a book with this name. The diverse and awesome nature of our country is readily apparent. Any reader, Canadian or otherwise, will say, "Yoho". (see p. 12.)


Gillian Martin Noonan is a teacher living in Old Perlican, NL.

CM Magazine, University of Manitoba

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

An Excerpt

There's a place on the eastern channel of Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, that was originally known as Famish Gut. Why? When the members of a survey team got there, they had run out of rations and were hungry! Over time, Famish Gut became Famish Cove, and then, in 1940, its name was officially changed to Fair Have. Quite a difference! Newfoundland must take the prize as the province with the most rib-tickling place names. Ha Ha Bay is one that's common -- there are five in the province! (Oh, and there's -- giggle, giggle -- Baie des Ha! Ha! and St-Louis-de-Ha!Ha! in Quebec, too.) Does "ha ha" mean something funny is going on, though? Not really. It is actually an old French term for a dead end.


2004 - The Canadian Children's Book Centre, "Our Choice" selection