Today I am diverting from my usual clinical tone to something fun. As most of us know, Toronto street names are notoriously hard to pronounce. I've been asked numerous times by new-to-Toronto friends how to pronounce different street names. Further through a quick google search, it's clear that it's not only non-native English speakers that have trouble with these names. Torontonians too blunder the pronunciation these notoriously hard to say street names.
Here's a fun exercise to test your knowledge and learn some interesting speech facts about our favourite city, Toronto! People new to the city, as well as long-time residents, always ask me how to pronounce various names of major streets. Here is my list of the most notoriously hard to pronounce Toronto words!
Is it actually pronounced T'ron-ah? Here is the truth: we don't pronounce Toronto as T-ron-ah. As a native Torontonian (or Mississaugian - I can't find any reference to what you call a person from Mississauga), I can assure you that most people from the GTA pronounce Toronto, "Tron-TOE" or "Tron-OH" because we are collectively too rushed to pronounce the first "oh."
2. Queens Quay
It's a beautiful area of Toronto located by the lake, but with a name that has many non-native English speakers confused. How do you pronounce Queens Quay? It's pronounced "Queen's KEY."
That critical English "oo" makes Bloor Street hard to pronounce for people who are new to the city. Does it rhyme with "pour"? Does it sound like "blur"? Close. It is actually pronounced "BLUE+r".
A lovely street in Liberty Village whose name newcomers to Toronto struggle saying. Is it "strach-AN"? Not exactly. Strachan is pronounced "STRAW-n." Here the letters -cha- are not pronounced.
Wellesley is a downtown Toronto artery with it's own subway station. If you are a TTC commuter in Toronto it will be hard to avoid this word. The local way to pronounce Wellesley is: WELLZ-ley. Not Well-LESS-ly
Tretheway, a residential street tucked away near the 401 and Black Creek has a name that is baffling to pronounce. Is it a) "TRETHY-way, b) TREH-the-way, or c) "TREH-thoo-wee"? If you guessed c) "TREH-thoo-wee," you are correct.
As Canada's longest street this name invites frequent pronunciation errors. It's not "YUN-ji" - instead pronounced the same way as "young."
In the heart of Koreatown, close to our office, this quaint street can be a challenge to say. In this street name, the "E" signals to the speaker that that "u" is long. Thus, Euclid is pronounced "YOU-clid."
Moving over to the west end of Toronto, Geoffrey is another residential street name that is pronounced differently than it's spelled. Geoffrey is not pronounced with a beginning "Geo" like Geoff, nor it is the "Ji" sound like "George." Instead, Geoffrey pronounced with a beginning "Jeh" like "Jeffery."
A great street to drive on to avoid Bloor St. traffic and a commonly mispronounced street name in Toronto. Dupont is pronounced "Doo-pont" and not "DUP-ont."
As a speech therapist, I've spent countless hours helping people pronounce the English TH sound. Here is a perfect example of where we should ignore it. Tecumseth is a street name in Toronto that's pronounced, "Tek-CUM-see" not "Tek-cum-SETH."
Technically a part of Toronto, this suburb has a name that begets foul-ups. Since people tend to read new words by identifying small words that they know, Etobicoke is commonly mispronounced as "Etobee-COKE." Nonetheless, the correct way to pronounce Etobicoke is "Eetoe-Bee-Ko."
Tucked away beside the University of Toronto, Grosvenor is home to Women's College Hospital. And if you are going there, be careful if you need to ask for directions because the correct pronunciation is not "gros-VEN-or," or "GROSS-vener." The correct pronunciation is "Grawv-ner."
Torontonians can hardly agree on the correct pronunciation of this cozy Toronto neighborhood. Is it "RON-sez-vales" or "ron-SEZ-vallez"? In fact, it's neither. Roncesvalles is pronounced "Ron-SEZ-vale." The final "s" sound is silent. If this is too cumbersome, like it is to many locals, then just call this street "Roncey" and everyone will know what you mean, and you'll blend in.
I have to admit I am guilty of mispronouncing this congested street's name. I almost always pronounce it "Eg-LING-ton." It's a bad habit. Technically, it's "Eg-lin-ton" just like how it's spelled. I am not sure why many Torontonians add in the extra "g." If you hear some Toronto-native pronouncing Eglinton with a "g," don't copy them. Unlike most of the street names on this list, Eglinton is pronounced as it's spelled.
Are there other Toronto street names that you find difficult to pronounce? I've opened up the comments to hear what you think.