A historical map of Vancouver Island, where the island is pink and the water is pale blue.
Photo Credit: ViHistory

What’s In A Name?

There are stories buried in the names of VanIsle towns

Care for a peek into history?

Over the next few months, we will uncover the story behind some of VanIsle’s more notable place names.

Ever wondered how Sointula got its name? Yup, us too.

How about Tofino, Merville, and Woss?

Place names can be like a window into history, a glimpse back in time to when the British and Spanish fought for control over the Indigenous territory of Vancouver Island.

Often, places are named after some white guy in a fancy hat who planted a flag. Or sometimes they’re named on a whim, after someone’s cousin, favourite auntie or pet dog.

But, of course, Indigenous people had their own place names. Unfortunately, many of them have been forgotten by time. But recently, many have begun to reclaim their rightful place on modern maps.

Either way, place names tell us a little bit about where we came from, where we are going, and who were the winners and losers along the way.

You can visit this page for the whole list and watch it while it grows.