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ICOS 2008 Conference Abstract

When Onguiaahra Became Niagara (and 'The Mountain' Became 'The Escarpment')

Author(s):
A Hughes
Brock University, Canada

The Niagara Escarpment, which runs through the Niagara Peninsula, used to be called the Mountain. When did the name Mountain give way to Escarpment, and when was it specifically called the Niagara Escarpment? And what about the area’s other Niagara names - names of physical features like Niagara Falls, Niagara River and Niagara Peninsula, and human constructs like Township and Town of Niagara? When (and why) did these names emerge for the first time? And when did older spellings like Onguiaahra yield to the modern form? This paper provides answers that range over a 200-year period, suggests that John Graves Simcoe was not such a bad guy after all, and exposes a pair of geographical impostors into the bargain.

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