The pattern names Tofino, Minoru, Cordova sound completely normal and natural to me. After all they’re named for places where I live! But I realized that by choosing interesting and unique names for my patterns, others might not know how to pronounce them. For us living in Vancouver these are words you hear every day on the traffic report – “two-car accident on Cordova St, a stall on Lonsdale Ave, fireworks tonight at Minoru Park” – you get the idea.
As the majority of my communication is through words on the internet, the pronounciation of words gets lost. Even the way we write sounds different than when we talk. (I make an effort to read what I’m writing out loud in my head, and change the wording so that it sounds more like the way I talk. It’s easy to edit and re-edit our writing so it looks fancier but in reality, we’d never talk that way.) So perhaps my writing sounds simpler and less formal but it’s more like I am speaking through my written words, if that makes sense!
I saw on Andrea’s blog that she wondered how to say Minoru and it was a lightbulb moment, of course people aren’t sure how to say these words that are so familiar to me! I grew up going to Minoru Pool, ice-skating at Minoru Arena, going to track meets at the Minoru track. But you didn’t!
So here’s a quick run-down of the pattern names, how to say them, and a photo visual of the area they’re named for!
Pendrell – PEN-drell.
The Pendrell Blouse is named for Pendrell Street in Vancouver’s West End. Here’s what I picture: beautiful older apartment buildings, tree-lined streets, people walking to see the fireworks in the summertime. It’s where my sister lived when I was starting my pattern line, so the name was in my mind frequently.
Crescent – this one is easy, just like the word Crescent.
The Crescent Skirt is named for Crescent Beach in White Rock, I played on this beach when I was little. There’s a big fish & chips place that you can walk through in your sandy feet which is what I remember, that and washing your feet off in the little water spout outside the building. It looks just the same as when I was a kid.
I moved back to the White Rock area in my mid-twenties and I’d go for long runs down to the beaches and along the water. We get older, but the landscape stays the same.
Lonsdale – LONS-dale.
The Lonsdale Dress is named after Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, that’s what the big ‘Q’ in the photo stands for. To get there you have to take a little boat called the SeaBus. (You can actually drive there I learned later, but when I was a kid we’d take the SeaBus so I thought that was the only way to get there.)
On the seabus we would look for the ‘Q’ and point it out to my dad. The Q rotates, so he’d look at it a minute later and say, ‘It’s an I!’ and we’d wait for it to turn around and shout, ‘No Dad, it’s a Q, look now!’ and he’d wait and look at it again when it was sideways again and say ‘Ah yes, the I!’ This probably went on for the whole ride until we finally got to the Q. The Q building is a market and I don’t actually remember what happens inside the Q. I suppose it was more about the trip than the actual arrival, since that’s the part I remember!
A perfect place for a pretty sundress, don’t you think?
Minoru – MINN-oh-rue.
The Minoru Jacket is named after Minoru Park in Richmond, BC, which is where I grew up. Minoru Park had all the good things: a skating rink, a track and field area, a pool, a park with a waterfall, the library, even a little white chapel. Oh and an actual theatre, not a movie theatre! I went to track meets at Minoru Arena, I took musical theatre classes at the theatre in my early teens, I went on dates at the movie theatre nearby and if they went well, the night might end with a walk through Minoru Park.
Doesn’t it make sense to be wearing a practical jacket like the Minoru when you walk around the park, that’s also fitted and feminine in case you’re on a date?
Renfrew – REN-froo.
The Renfrew Top is named for Renfrew Street. At the corner of Renfrew and Hastings is Playland (an amusement park) and in the summer, the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition). The PNE has all kinds of neat stuff – the demolition derby (my favourite!), the lumberjack show where they roll logs, concerts, dogs jumping through hoops, cotton candy, mini-donuts. The last time I was there I was 16 so it might have changed since then, but it’s a very popular summer attraction. Late summer I think, near the end of August. Go if you’re in the Vancouver area!
Random fact, when you search for images of ‘Renfrew’ in Vancouver you get a ton of Victoria Beckham, apparently she made an appearance at a store called Holt Renfrew downtown.
Cambie – CAM-bee.
The Cambie Dress is named for Cambie Street in Vancouver. Cambie stretches the length of Vancouver going north to south, and goes even farther north into downtown.
And out of downtown, Cambie Street touches Queen Elizabeth Park. It’s a popular park to have weddings in, in fact the last wedding I attended was at QE Park! There’s these metal statues there that people are constantly taking photos with. But what’s neat is that you can see right downtown from the park, because it’s high up. I am actually at Queen Elizabeth Park in this old photo here, not far from the metal people statues.
There’s also a Cambie Street Bridge. And whether you’re downtown on Cambie or at Queen Elizabeth Park on Cambie, a dress is always a great choice.
Thurlow – THUR-low.
The Thurlow Trousers are named after Thurlow Street in downtown Vancouver. Thurlow was a name that stuck with me and I always knew it should be a trouser pattern. Thurlow Trousers has such a nice ring to it! I tried to find a nice photo of Thurlow Street for you but I was flooded with photos of condos for sale. Very expensive condos, too.
Guess how much it costs to live here? You’ll fall off your chair, I nearly did and I should know how expensive it is to live in Vancouver.
For only eight million dollars, that could be your view. “Only a privileged few will own this last waterfront masterpiece” says the sales page. Think of that when you’re wearing your Thurlow trousers!
Alma – ALL-ma or AL-ma.
The Alma Blouse is named after Alma Street in Vancouver. It’s out by the University of British Columbia and it’s where Caroline was living when we started working together, so I kept seeing the street sign for Alma and thought it would be a pretty name for a pattern. It’s also a girl’s name, Alma, so it made sense for a feminine, pretty blouse.
And here is a neat picture of UBC – the University of British Columbia. UBC takes up that whole section of the land there. There’s a bit of greenery on the right side that separates it from the rest of Vancouver. That’s the Pacific Ocean surrounding it so this is the west tip of Canada, more or less! I know that sounds overly simplified but it helps to explain where everything is. In relation to a map of Canada, this is the bottom left corner.
The northernmost piece of land in the top left corner is North Vancouver, where the ‘Q’ at Lonsdale is. That’s lumber floating in the water on the right side, just waiting to be needed I suppose. Just south of those logs is the Vancouver Airport which is actually in Richmond, and just south of the airport in Richmond is Minoru Park. It’s all connected!
Cordova – cor-DO-va.
The Cordova Jacket is named for Cordova Street in downtown Vancouver. Cordova Street is where historic Gastown is located, home to restaurants and bars, lofts, nightclubs, shops, and the popular tourist destination, the steam clock.
Hollyburn – Holly-burn, just like the two words put together.
The Hollyburn Skirt is named after the Hollyburn area of North Vancouver, which is rather close to Lonsdale. And the Hollyburn skirt is based on the fit of the Lonsdale Dress. See what I did there?
The Hollyburn area is quite fancy, home to country clubs and golf clubs and pricey homes. A classic flared skirt never goes out of style, and it made sense to me to tie that in to this beautiful, high-end area.
Robson – ROB-son.
The Robson Coat is named after Robson Street, downtown Vancouver’s most famous shopping street. I had this image of a woman striding down Robson in a glamorous trench coat and sunglasses, walking with purpose. Maybe she’s meeting someone for coffee and they’ll walk down the streets together. Just like I wanted Thurlow to be trousers, Robson had to be a coat in my mind.
I was on a real downtown theme for the pattern names last year! There are so many good street names in Vancouver, I’ll never run out of name ideas.
Tofino – to-FEE-no.
The Tofino Pants are named after Tofino, a district on Vancouver Island that’s known for its beaches, surfing, whale watching, and beautiful resorts.
Compared to the other names, this one is out of the Vancouver area. From Vancouver you take a two-hour ferry across the ocean, then drive across Vancouver Island for four hours or so. Vancouver Island is not actually part of Vancouver, it’s a completely separate and very large piece of land.
There you go, a little tour around the Vancouver area! I wanted the names to mean something, rather than just picking random pretty-sounding words. It’s an insider secret if you live here and know where Pendrell Street is or if you live on Minoru Boulevard, and if not, then it’s a bunch of unique names that you may not have heard before. There are few sewing pattern designers in Canada and I wanted to show off our Canadian pride in a way, without being obvious about it.
Vancouverites, anything to add? Any stories to share about the places in this post?
I hope you enjoyed seeing where the pattern names come from! This post was a lot of fun to put together.
PS. While we’re on the topic of how to pronounce words, my name is pronounced TAS-ee-ah. You’d never know that unless we spoke in real life!
PPS. And Caroline is Caro-line, not Caro-lynn. Now you know!