Canada, toponymy (origin of a place name) | In Letters to the Editor in The Economist (07 August 2013, print edition), M Paul wrote that in one of his novels, Robert Graves relates the moment the French first landed in what we now know as Canada. They came across a native who was fishing and asked him, in French of course, what the land was called. The response was “Canada”. It was only much later that they found out that “Canada”, in the local dialect, could be loosely translated as “bugger off, I’m fishing”.