A highly unique phone book in Rustico, P.E.I.

People living in Prince Edward Island's Rustico area had a unique telephone book designed to separate one Gallant from another.

Nicknames paired with numbers made sense in a place with scores of people named Gallant

A lot of Gallants in one phone book

Digital Archives

36 years ago
In the 1980s, an alternative telephone book in P.E.I. used nicknames to differentiate between a large number of listings involving the same surname. 1:47

Good luck finding the right Gallant if you weren't from the Rustico area.

Because there were almost 100 such listings for Gallants in the local phone book for that part of P.E.I., back in 1985.

And that's why a local resident had created an alternative phone book that sought to help sort out one Gallant from another.

"Five of them are named Jim, eight of them are named Joe," the CBC's Jim Cluett told viewers in a report that was broadcast on Midday in April 1985.

"So how do they tell 'em all apart? They give each of them a nickname."

From 'Paul Freddie Joe Charlie' to 'Phlegm'

Midday used this graphic to introduce Jim Cluett's story about a very unique phonebook in Rustico, P.E.I., on April 25, 1985. (Midday/CBC Archives)

Cluett's report suggested the nicknames varied and, in some cases, were based on who one's parents were.

"I'm Paul Freddie Joe Charlie," a local man told Cluett. "My father's name was Freddie, his father's name was Joe and his father's father was Charlie, so I'm Paul Freddie Joe Charlie."

However strange the system may have seemed to outsiders, it worked for the locals.

Cluett asked a bearded man in a plaid jacket if the nicknames were hard to get used to.

"No, it's harder to get used to the real names. We know the nicknames, mostly everybody has a nickname," he explained.

The man gestured over his shoulder.

"The guy over there, we call him Phlegm. His real name is Gregory."

This Rustico resident said he found that local nicknames were easier to remember than people's actual names. (Midday/CBC Archives)

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now