Welcome to Tisdale, Saskatchewan: the Land of Rape and Honey. Shocking as it may seem, that is the actual slogan for this small Canadian town, and it has been for nearly 60 years. But the slogan isn't as horrifying as it sounds.
“Rape” refers to rapeseed, a predecessor to the modern canola and one of the principal crops in the area during the 1950s, but most visitors are unaware of the slogan's agricultural roots. Now the town is holding a survey to ask its 3,200 residents if they’d like to keep the slogan or come up with a new one. This isn't the first time the town has considered a change. A similar 1992 survey split the vote, allowing the slogan to remain.
Residents in favor of the slogan change are tired of clarifying what they mean and just don’t want the word “rape” prominently associated with their town any longer. “We’re at that point where we need to change it,” says Al Jellicoe, Tisdale’s mayor told the Canadian Press. “When you’re trying to deal internationally or nationally – I don’t want to do that every time we entice a business to the area.” Moreover, the slogan is no longer accurate - rapeseed now accounts for less than one percent of regional crop production.
Others want to keep the phrase because rapeseed and honey were so vital to the town’s origins, and some locals just don’t want outsiders messing with their business. Local business owner Kim Markwart says that lots of communities keep outdated slogans to honor their history. Handing out printouts of the slogan to explain its history, Markwart told the Canadian Press she’s never met anyone on her business travels who was offended. It may even be good for business: “To this day, everybody remembers me because of the slogan, because of the uniqueness of that."
If the results of the survey are split again, Jellicoe says that it will be up to the town council to decide to decide the slogan's fate – although council members are split on the issue. Jellicoe’s personal favorite suggested replacement is “Land of Rapeseed and Honey Bees,” which manages to keep the town’s history intact without scaring visitors away. The CBC notes that other proposals include "A Place to Bee" and "Land of Canola and Honey."