Located in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, Ragged Ass Road started off as a simple joke. Although it took the city some 40 years to recognize the name, it’s now one of Canada’s most famous streets. Keep reading to find out the origin of Ragged Ass Road.
How Ragged Ass Road got its name
This particular street in Yellowknife was previously called Privy Road, due to the number of outhouses. Resident Lou Rocher, who made his money doing a lot of jobs, including commercial fishing, selling firewood, and predominantly prospecting, owned six out of the road’s nine lots.
One night in 1970, he was drinking with some other prospectors, who had all been working hard for little money and “prospects.” Rocher made a funny comment about how the street should be named Ragged Ass Road instead because they were all “ragged ass broke” (or dirt poor).
Rocher’s son Mark told Northern News Services Online that his dad thought it was his right to name the street: “He felt he should be able to name it because he owned six of the nine lots on the road, and he thought he could name it appropriately.” So that night, the men made a sign and placed it on the street, and the rest is history.
Officially, the city believed the street to have no name, but that didn’t stop Rocher from putting up the signs. He had to replace them regularly because they were stolen so often by curious townsfolk and tourists, which led him to weld them in place.
Rocher passed away in 2013, but it wasn’t until 2015 that Yellowknife finally placed official city signs at both ends of Ragged Ass Road. Today, many souvenir shops across Yellowknife sell T-shirts, mock street signs, and stickers emblazoned with the name.
In the news
Tom Cochrane, the frontman of Canadian ’80s rock band Red Rider, named his third solo album Ragged Ass Road. Debuting in October 1995, he also released a song of the same name.
In 2011, Kathy Reichs (producer of long-running American TV series Bones) attended the NorthWords Literary Festival in Yellowknife. She fell for the city and decided to set her next book, Bones are Forever, in Yellowknife. The main character actually trails a suspect down Ragged Ass Road, which Reichs describes brilliantly.
In 2012, a man on a WestJet flight was wearing a souvenir Ragged Ass Road T-shirt, but a flight attendant told him to either cover it up or turn it inside out because it violated the company’s family-friendly policy. WestJet later apologized for the incident.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.