|"What’s that name
again? How did you pronounce it? Gananoqueans are frequently
asked by visitors or by those to whom they may be speaking,
regarding the town. Little wonder it seems slightly confusing,
being an unusual name, one of Indian origin.
Gananoque has probably the distinction
of having more ways of spelling the name of the town than any
other on the face of the globe.
Mr. Frank Eames, a local historian of
by-gone days, collected a list of names used from the time of
Count Frontenac during his tenure at Fort Frontenac, now
Kingston, to the present day.
That the name is of Indian origin is
clear from the records of 1783 when a survey party of
"Loyal Rangers" under the leadership of Lieut. Gersham
French travelled by way of the Ottawa River to the Rideau, and
then to the River "Gananocoue" and down to the St.
With their various meanings and origins,
the various spellings of the name of the town are as follow:
On-non-da-qui, meaning up which many
hunters go; Gan-non-o-qui from the Huron Oughsean, to a deer;
Kah-non-no-kwen, a meadow rising out of the water, from
Leavitt’s History of Leeds and Grenville; Ca-da-no-ghue, rocks
in running water; Ga-na-wa-ge, from Morgan’s Map of the St.
Lawrence; Ga-na-na-quy, the Ontario Archives; Co-na-no-qui,
Ontario Arvhives; Ca-da-noc-qui, from Col. Joel Stone’s
application to the Legislature for bridge and ferry privileges,
1801; Ca-da-no-ry-hqua, from Col. Stone’s letters;
Ga-nen-no-quay, from an old account book of the colonel’s
dated 1819; Gau-nuh-nau-quueng, rendevous or residence, from
"History of Ojibway Indians", by Rev. Peter Jones;
Ga-na-no-qui, not Iroquois, but supposed to be Huron;
Ga-na-no-coui, from Chewitt’s plan of Upper Canada, 1793;
Gar-an-o-que, from the Public Archives; and Ga-na-no-que, the
accepted form today.
For years it has been said that the name
of the town in the Indian language means "The Place of
Health", since the Indians, after the long winters in the
deep forest, would make their way down to the shores where the
Gananoque River flows into the St. Lawrence. Here, as they
basked in the brilliant sunshine, many of their winter ailments
including scurvy, cleared up. Mr. Eames, however, makes no
mention of this fact.
Suffice to say the great variety of ways
of spelling the name seems to indicate that both Indians and
early settlers thought the place worthy of honour and
distinction, and made an effort to spell it according to the way
Whether or not we pronounce it correctly
today remains unknown. What we do know is that its location
where the two rivers meet provides a setting of beauty equal to
that of few other towns or cities, especially with the
additional magnificence of the 1000 Islands on our "front