Guelph residents make a mountain out of a Moe Hill

What's in a name? Guelph residents can't seem to agree whether tobogganing hill is called Mole Hill or Mo Hill. Or is it both?

Debate between whether popular tobogganing hill is called Mo or Mole Hill has been ongoing for decades

It is a debate as old as the hill.

A popular tobogganing spot in Guelph goes by two names - which one depends on who you ask.

This week, Ward 5 councillor Leanne Piper tweeted an image of some slides on a hill and suggested, "Wouldn't this be cool on Guelph's Mole Hill on Municipal Street?"

"A constituent wrote back right away, 'Shouldn't you be calling it by it's true name, Moe Hill?'" Piper said in an interview with CBC News this week.

Piper, a local history buff, said she even hesitated before sending out her tweet.

"I sat there with my thumbs posed thinking, 'Moe or Mole, Moe or Mole.' I could go either way," she said.

Piper is on Team Moe. Her ex-husband, however, is firmly on Team Mole because he and his brothers watched moles on the hill in their childhood, she said.

Team Mole

The reason some people might call it Mole Hill might seem obvious, Piper said.

"There's a natural landform hill in that area but it turned into a much larger hill … when the neighbourhood was developed and construction debris and fill was added to the side of this hill creating a larger landform," she said.

"When you disturb any kind of prairie or farm lands, you dig up moles and moles used to come out of the hill and local kids used to think that was a great thing to watch and witness and they used to gather and look for moles."

Team Moe (or Mo)

"Moe Hill is the one you hear more commonly in the community," Piper said.

Sophie Wilson, a former resident of Maplewood Drive, lived in the area in the 1960s when the additional debris and fill was added to the hill. She and her friends used to debate whether it was a hill or, because of the added fill during construction, a mountain. They shortened mountain to Mo - and somehow an 'e' got added on to the name. 

"She and her group of playmates used to have picnics and hang out at the bottom of that hill and she described to me a conversation that they had amongst themselves that they called it Mo Hill and they then passed that on to their friends who passed it on to their friends and it became part of the common language in the neighbourhood that then spread throughout Guelph because it was never given a formal name by the city," Piper said.

"She's an eyewitness who was there, so I have to believe she's giving me some truth to that story."

Truth to both stories?

Piper said it's entirely possible that the debate, which hasn't exactly divided the community, could be a case of both sides are right.

"I don't think it's an either or (situation), it might be an and (situation). Two different groups of people had two different names for the same hill and it just happens that they are very similar," she said.

Some other residents know it as Garbage Hill because of the debris. Some call it Centennial Hill because of its proximity to Centennial Collegiate. Some might just call it the hill where they go to smoke.

But, Piper added, it would be nice to find out once and for all what they should call it.

"I'm hoping people weigh in and say, 'I've heard a third story or to add validation to one of the two stories I've heard,'" Piper said.

Are you on #TeamMole or #TeamMoe? Tweet at us @CBCKW891, connect with us on Facebook or leave a comment below.

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