Monday, October 15, 2018

History of Tkaronto

Nice to see a forthcoming article in Ontario History getting front page coverage in national newspapers.  Toronto map researcher Rick Laprairie identified the words "Lac Torontos" on  a 1678 map by Quebec-based mapmaker Jean-Louis Franquelin

John Steckley, the dean of all things Iroquoian in 17th century southern Ontario, seems to have taken note of Franquelin's use of the term fifteen years ago.  But Laprairie, whose article surveys the origins of the name Toronto, apparently makes a pretty good case this is the earliest known use of the root of "Toronto" on a European map.  Map is here; wording not visible at this magnification.

The label is on a lake that is pretty clearly today's Lake Simcoe. It's further evidence that the place now called Toronto was then the entrance to the Toronto portage, which led to the 17th century Tkaranto, a site located near today's Orillia. The word is Iroquoian and refers to the fish weirs there: something like "tree trunks in the water." 

(So Toronto means not so much "the meeting place" (as used to asserted) and is more like "sticks in the mud"?)
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