Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!

Some people posing with a Welcome to Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! sign.
Photo by Robert Y (flickr)

St-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, Québec has one of the oddest names that I’ve seen. Not because it sounds like something else, but because it’s just so fun to say and because it’s the only town in the world with two exclamation points in its name!!

So, how does a town come to be called Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!? According to a “haha” is an old French word for something blocking your way. In this case probably part of lake Témiscouata that is not passable by canoe, forcing early travellers to take an 80 kilometer portage around the haha. As for the St-Louis part, Québec’s strong catholic roots mean that the names of most cities in the province have a saint involved, and I believe that this is just another one of those, although the St-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! Wikipedia entry has a few suggestions about the Louis honoured in the town’s name.

La Tuque

The name of the town La Tuque, Québec is funny for Canadians because a Tuque is a very warm hat, so a town named after a hat is funny, (if you’ve ever heard of a place called “Top Hat” or something then let me know and I’ll write about it). So, there we have it, a town in Canada with a funny name.

But how did it get this name? According to Wikipedia, back in the day when we used canoes to get around these parts, there was, (maybe there still is), a portage there, and the coureurs des bois named the portage La Tuque because there was a mountain close by that looked like a tuque, (the hat). I have tried to find a photo of this tuque-shaped mountain to put here, but despite finding some photos of the La Tuque region, I’m not sure which one is the tuque. None of the mountains really look like tuques to me.

The town of La Tuque was created in 1911, so next year will be its centennial celebration, and they are planning already. There is a website up and an interesting photo album of life at the beginning of La Tuque.