Westward Ho!

A photo of a mural in Westward Ho!
Photo by Chris Dymond, (flickr)

Westward Ho! is a village on the sea in Devon, England. Like Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! the exclamation point is, in fact, part of the town’s name.

Westward Ho! was named after the novel Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley. The village was developed starting about ten years after the 1855 publication of the novel.

Since it’s a seaside town, there are some great beaches in Westward Ho! and its neighbouring towns, and, as a bit of extra trivia, Rudyard Kipling lived there for a while

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 saintlouisduhaha.com 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.