Land of rape and honey may change its motto

TISDALE, a small hamlet in Saskatchewan, Canada, is an idyllic outpost known throughout the region for its beautiful fields of yellow flowers and prodigious number of beehives.

However, Tisdale is now considering changing its village motto, which has stood proud for more than 60 years, from 'The Land of Rape and Honey' to something a little more attractive.

The name, of course, refers to the significant production of rapeseed and honey in the rural region, but residents of Tisdale are aware of the possibility that the motto might be misunderstood.


Town officials are now surveying residents to see if the town's brand should be changed, asking whether the current brand is "reflective of Tisdale in 2015 and on into the future."

The online survey asks residents about their impressions of their town - including questions about whether they think the town is "friendly and welcoming", or whether there is a good "availability of retail shopping".

Most significantly, one of the questions asks residents which motto they prefer. The existing motto is on the list, but also included are slightly more straightforward options, like "Hub of the Northeast", "A Place to Grow", and the horribly literal "Land of Canola and Honey".

Tisdale is known for its honey and rapeseed.
Tisdale is known for its honey and rapeseed.

Crucially, the survey also asks businesses and community groups whether they would use the slogan on their marketing materials - an important consideration for a town that's set to be increasingly reliant on tourism.

After all, rapeseed production counts for less than one per cent of the all the crops grown in the region, and honey production in Tisdale has decreased significantly since the motto was invented.

A farmer in Saskatchewan plays with his dogs - Tisdale takes its name from the region's agricultural history, but with rapeseed and honey production both down since the motto's invention, some think it's time for a change. Residents accept that the motto may cause some double-takes from visitors, but some are resistant to the change.

Speaking to CBC, town official Sean Wallace said: "There's passionate people who believe it should be changed and passionate people who believe it shouldn't be changed."

"It's been both famous and infamous."

He added: ""There's some residents who feel I should be educating people about what rapeseed is, and there's some people who feel I should look at rebranding because it's no longer called rapeseed any more, it's called canola."

However, if the town wants to become more attractive to outsiders, then they would do well to stick to the motto - people passing through the town often stop to have their picture taken next to the sign.

If the motto were to change, the town's main tourist attraction would be their large honey bee statue, which at almost five metres long and two metres high is the second biggest in the world.

The town's motto has proved to be a big draw for the metal music scene as well - industrial metal band Ministry named their 1988 album 'The Land of Rape and Honey' after seeing the motto on a souvenir mug.

According to some residents the motto isn't payed much attention in Tisdale. Speaking to the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, business owner Heather Mievre said the issue of the name tends to come up once every few years, often in a letter to the editor in the local newspaper.

However, she added: "It's just time to refresh the name. We don't have to stick to 1960."

You can make your voice heard in the survey, but you have to be a Tisdale resident for your opinion to count.

With the survey simply being part of a review process, it looks like Tisdale will still be the Land of Rape and Honey for a little while longer.


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