There's No Place Like Dildo

James Cook was many things. Explorer, navigator, cartographer, and a captain in the British Royal Navy. Around here, he would also have been known as a hard case. In 1763, he was appointed marine surveyor of Newfoundland and Labrador and he and his assistant Michael Lane recorded coves, inlets, and points of land that may never have been mapped out before. They relished the opportunity to name them... and amuse each other. From them we gained Tickle Bay, Cuckolds Cove, and Witless Bay. Famish Gut and Pinchgut Point lay at locations where rations ran low. Blow Me Down was named after they sailed through sea squalls. And a hand injury led to the naming of Unfortunate Point. And while these monikers might all be choice gems, they haven't got a patch on a small outport in Trinity Bay. There certainly is no place like Dildo.

 Hollywood Dildo sign

Hollywood Dildo Sign

 

Today, the town of Dildo proper is as beautiful as its surroundings. Houses hug the rocky shores, following the twists and turns of the road which, no doubt, lies atop the walking trails of old. You can take to the sea with any number of boat tours. Dildo Cove Heritage Experience and Motorboat Excursions offer "an experience like no other." You'll learn the history of the area and see authentic fishing premises, all while riding in an authentic heritage-style motorboat with the oddly soothing and iconic putt-putt of the make-and-break motor ringing in your ears.

On land, you've many attractions to choose from. The George House Heritage Bed and Breakfast was built in 1885 and offers beautiful accommodations. While in town, check out The Treasure Trove, Dildo Boat Tours, Dildo Boathouse Innand The Dildo Dory Grill

The George House Bed and Breakfast

The George House Bed and Breakfast

 

You can finish off your day at The Dildo Brewing Company and Museum. A full-service taproom with craft beer, traditional tunes, and located right on the waterfront where, if the timing is right, you're in sight of icebergs, whales, and all the views the sea has to offer. And if your timing is really great, you'll be there for Dildo Days, the towns annual festival, led by the mischievous and lovable, Captain Dildo.

Dildo Brewery

The Dildo Brewing Company and Museum

 

But what about the name? Its first historically documented use, then Dildoe Island, was in 1711, but its origins remain shrouded in mystery. Talk to any of the 1,500 locals and you'll get nearly a different answer every time. Lionel Rodrigues of the Dildo Brewing Company believes it comes from the French word for the Island, ile d'eau, owing to its freshwater springs. Local artist Clifford George maintains Dildo is the adaptation of the Spanish word for the bottom of a boat, as the town is likewise located at the bottom of the bay. Of course Clifford also maintains, with a wink in his eye, "I tell stories and I make up stories."

Clifford George

Clifford George

 

Perhaps the most likely definition is the pin stuck in the edge of a boat to act as a pivot point for rowing. But the list goes on; other definitions include a species of tree, a song refrain, a male insult and… well… the obvious. Either way, it's here to stay. There have been many movements and petitions to rename, but none have stuck. And that's to be expected in a land where the place names are just as colourful as the people inhabiting them.

So which definition is it? Only Captain Dildo knows for sure.

To plan your visit to Dildo Arm, click here

And if colourfully christened communities strike your fancy, check out this playlist.

Captain Dildo at The Dildo Dory Grill

Captain Dildo at The Dildo Dory Grill
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