(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)
An hour’s drive from the town of Come By Chance, past Spread Eagle Island, there is a large green traffic sign that often functions as its very own destination: “Dildo,” the sign proclaims, with an arrow pointing straight ahead.
The idyllic fishing village of Dildo, Newfoundland, is home to about 1,200 people, most of whom refer to themselves quite proudly as Dildoians. Where did the town get its name? The locals, eager to dispel misguided notions about sex toys, offer a variety of theories — a 16th-century Spanish sailor, maybe, or an archaic term for an oblong piece of nautical gear.
The fishing and whaling industries have defined Dildo society for centuries, and the town celebrates them with an annual waterfront festival known as Dildo Days (July 27-31 this year). A flotilla of boats circles the bay, led by a wooden statue of a certain Capt. Dildo in a rain slicker painted bright yellow. Souvenir-hunting visitors can purchase commemorative apparel, but be forewarned: The “I Survived Dildo Days” T-shirts sell out fast.
A few Dildoians have had second thoughts over the years. A local electrician even started a public campaign in 1990 to have the town rechristened. But he was forced to drop the effort after a wave of harassment from residents who were offended by anyone’s taking offense at the name.
Still, Dildoians can count themselves lucky. At least they do not live just a bit farther up the Newfoundland coast — on Ass Rock.