Jay Silverheels

“How many folks here are from out of town? “

Shades of a stand-up comic, that’s how I started a recent keynote talk in my hometown of Toronto. A few hands went up and I continued, “Welcome. Allow me to mention two things about the name of my city. You may know the first, but the second could be a surprise.

First of all, you may have noticed that few of us who live here, natives if you will, do not pronounce the city as ‘Toronto’. We say something that sounds like, “tranna”.

Toronto sounds a bit like Tonto, the loyal sidekick of the Lone Ranger. He was played by Johnny Depp in a recent movie but in the television show from my youth, Jay Silverheels who was from the Six Nations reserve not far from here in Brantford Ontario.

Oddly enough, Toronto is derived from a First Nation’s phrase that loosely translates as, “Your Mayor did what?”