Trump Islands off Twillingate not linked to The Donald, says folklorist
Philip Hiscock of Memorial University has done the research, but says origin still a mystery
There are dozens of buildings and businesses around the world that bear the name of the Republican candidate for president of the United States.
But what about a couple of islands off the northeast coast of Newfoundland?
Probably nothing to do with Donald Trump, says a folklore professor from Memorial University. In fact, Philip Hiscock says the Trump name isn't one that's found in the area off Twillingate.
So he said exactly where the name of North Trump Island and South Trump Island came from is a bit of a mystery.
"I doubt it's a family name unless it's a mistake," said Hiscock.
"Now of course, the name Troake, spelled a couple of different ways, is common enough and perhaps someone misheard the name Troake Island and wrote it down as Trump or even misread someone's handwriting."
Maybe they called it Trump because they were going to make a killing.- Philip Hiscock
Hiscock said the islands are surrounded by rocks, which made it difficult to reach them by boat, and fishing was poor so they weren't settled until the 1860s.
He has researched the possible origins of the name, some of them rude.
"By the end of the 19th century, the word is being used by some people as slang for fart, and people had good senses of humour when they were naming places," he said.
"Funk Islands was named because of the stink. It's possible that it had a smell, I doubt it."
Trump also meant bad luck, he said. "A trump was a wasted or a false hope."
Hiscock said it's also possible that the islands were named after a geographical feature, like a trumpet-shaped rock or the sound of water going into a cave.
But he believes the most likely explanation is related to the discovery of a copper vein on the island, the reason why people started living there.
"If the name only appears once they discovered the copper, then trump also had a meeting of lucky find and a real kind of pay dirt kind of thing, a windfall, so it could be the people who started operating a copper mine … maybe they called it Trump because they were going to make a killing," said Hiscock.
And they did, but only for 10 years, Hiscock said.
With files from Central Morning