These Canadian cities are the hardest to pronounce, according to Canadians

Jan 20 2023, 5:39 pm

On a recent episode of Jeopardy!, host Ken Jennings mispronounced the name of a town in Nova Scotia and promptly got roasted by Canadians online.

It was Antigonish, a small town in the Atlantic province about 160 kilometres northeast of the province’s capital Halifax.

While many tweeted about how disappointed they were at his failed pronunciation, many were also sympathetic to his blunder.

After Daily Hive posted the story on Facebook, most comments came to Jennings’ defence.

“That’s a tough one! Let’s cut Ken some slack!” commented one person.

“I would have pronounced it wrong, too,” added another.

And that got us thinking — what other Canadian cities are hard for even Canadians to pronounce?

We posted the question on Twitter and got lots of great responses.

Here are some of the hardest Canadian cities to pronounce, according to Canadians.

Tsawwassen, BC

A lot of people answered Tsawwassen (also difficult to spell, by the way), a seaside community located on a peninsula in the southwestern corner of the city of Delta in BC.

According to the BC government’s guide to the pronunciation of Indigenous communities and organizations, it’s pronounced “tsa-wah-sen.”

But apparently, there’s been heated debate about whether you should be pronouncing the “t” or not.

Etobicoke, ON

The region that comprises Toronto’s west end experienced a little viral moment in 2019 when one of the interviewees in a documentary series about convicted Canadian killer Luka Magnotta kept pronouncing it in an interesting way.

In the clip, he sounds it out as “etta-bih-coke” as opposed to “eh-TOH-bi-koh,” which is considered the correct pronunciation.

Waskatenau, AB

Waskatenau is a village in central Alberta, about 90km northeast of Edmonton. According to the government of Alberta, it’s pronounced “was-et-na,” with a silent “k.”

“Waskatenau is a Cree word meaning ‘opening in the bank’ in reference to the clef in the nearby ridge through which the Waskatenau Creek flows,” reads the Alberta government site.

Trois-Rivières, QC

This riverside city in Quebec was also a popular answer. One Canadian thinks it’s because it has “too many Rs in a row.”

While there’s no official source for its pronunciation, Wikipedia says it’s pronounced like this in Québécois.

Iqaluit, NVT

The capital city of Nunavut means “place of many fish” in Inuktitut and is pronounced as “ee-KAL-oo-it.”

Ucluelet, BC

Another popular answer, this oceanside municipality is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island in BC.

According to the BC government’s pronunciation guide, it’s pronounced as “u-clew-let.”

Gananoque, ON

Gananoque is a waterfront town located Leeds and Grenville area of Ontario. While there’s no official source, Wikipedia says it’s pronounced “GAN-ə-NOK-way.”

There’s even a little rhyme to help you remember how to say it: “The right way, the wrong way, and the Gananoque.”

Quispamsis, NB

Quispamsis is a suburb of Saint John, New Brunswick.

According to the town’s site, its original inhabitants were the Maliseet First Nation, and the name means “little lake” in the Maliseet language.

Wikipedia says it’s pronounced “kwis-paem-sis.”

Forget, SK

No, it’s not pronounced the way you think it is. Forget is a village in Saskatchewan named in honour of Amédée E. Forget, the first Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan.

You’ll probably have to speak to a local to get the real pronunciation, but Wikipedia says that since it’s a French name, the village is pronounced more like ‘For-jay’ than the English word “forget.”

Nanaimo, BC

This was also a popular answer, but many specified that it’s hard for tourists, but not necessarily for Canadians.

The city located on the east coast of Vancouver Island is pronounced “nə-NY-moh.”

Osoyoos, BC

Many answered this town in the Okanagan Valley region of BC is known for its vineyards and beaches.

According to the BC government Indigenous pronunciation guide, it’s pronounced as “oh-soy-use,” contrary to what one commenter said below.

Tuktoyaktuk, NWT

This small village in the Inuvik region of the Northwest Territories is pronounced differently by English speakers and Inuvialuktun.

Inuvialuk artist and designer Taalrumiq shared the correct way to say it on TikTok.

@taalrumiq Reply to @nickyms83 How to pronounce Tuktoyaktuk #Tuktuuyaqtuuq #Tuktoyaktuk #ArcticOcean #Inuvialuit ♬ original sound – Tony Duncan

Tête Jaune Cache, BC

This place is the site of an abandoned historic town in BC. It was named after a Métis fur trader and trapper named Pierre Bostonais, who guided for the Hudson’s Bay Company in the 1800s. He was nicknamed Tête Jaune by the French-speaking voyageurs because of his blonde hair.

We were not able to find a pronunciation for this, so you’ll have to find a local!

Pekwachnamaykoskwaskwaypinwanik Lake, MB

Last but certainly not least, while this is not a city or a town, we had to include the place with the longest name in Canada at 31 letters.

It’s Cree for “where the wild trout are caught by fishing with hooks.”

We were not able to find the correct pronunciation for the lake.

If we missed any cities, let us know in the comments!

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