That Time a Resident of Dildo Petitioned to Change the Town’s Name in 1990

Kind of hard not to be ribbed with a name like Dildo…

The Newfoundland town of Dildo has gotten its fair share of attention throughout the years, and the response of the locals has been polarizing at times. Some folks have scrambled to find the origins of their town’s name in phallus-shaped row boat pins, 16th century test tubes, and old scornful insults. Some believe Dildoe (the earliest spelling of the town) could have been derived from an old Spanish surname with a connection to settlers of the area, though there has never been any confirmed evidence. While the exact history of the name that has existed since the early 1700s is largely unknown, there is no denying the notoriety that has come solely from sharing a moniker with a phallus-shaped sex toy. Or, a prosthetic penis, if you will.

Some locals have only tolerated the name of Dildo, while others have straight up embraced and celebrated it. Before the recent boom and success of the Dildo Brewing Company, there were many failed efforts to have the name changed. In 1990, local electrician Robert Elford started a petition to rename the town. In a CBC News spot found here, Elford explained that the name, well, embarrassed his kids. Retitling towns was not uncommon in Newfoundland. Prior to Elford’s attempt in 1990, Famish Gut had become Fair Haven, Gayside switched to Baytona, and Silly Cove had gotten slightly more serious as Winterton.

While many signed up in support of Elford’s efforts, the proud portion of the Dildo population, like fourth generation resident Lloyd George, fought against the motion.

“I can’t see surrendering 300 years of historic value of this town for a silly old sexual object” George told the CBC in 1990.

Ultimately, Elford’s campaign at giving Dildo a brand refresh failed, and so has every similar movement since. With time, it seems the stigma has died down. In the end, whether folks want to accept the name as a blessing or a curse, the sex toy jokes have landed the Trinity Bay town of roughly 1,200 as an unforgettable, and internationally talked about destination.


Found Footage: Stomp Along with 30 Songs of Stompin’ Tom Live in 1973

One thought on “That Time a Resident of Dildo Petitioned to Change the Town’s Name in 1990”

  1. Arlene says:

    Spelled *Scilly Cove but pronounced “Silly”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: