Toronto - The capital and largest city of Ontario, Canada, in the southern part of the province on Lake Ontario.

Context: The 2012 Oscar winning movie “Argo”. Decades ago, when the Iranian revolution was reaching a boiling point and the American embassy in Tehran was invaded, six Americans escaped and found shelter at the Canadian ambassy. To get out of Iran more or less safely they received new identities as Canadian teachers. At this point, they were told they would be asked where they came from, at the airport, and were warned that Torontonians don’t pronounce the name of their city the same way most English speaking people do.

I've searched several dictionaries and have only found the usual pronunciation.

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    Did you notice the pronunciation you listed: [təˈrän(t)ō]? This (t) means the second 't' is optional, and listening to forvo.com, I believe many Torontonians leave it out. Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 23:59
  • @peter shor i bet you're right. this seems similar to baltimore, for which people who live in the area also elide the t.
    – user428517
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 0:01
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    Toronto native here. We pronounce it Tor-on-toe. There is no silent t.
    – robbmj
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 2:10
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    The real question is how would Iranians know the local pronunciation?
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 15:24
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    @Centaurus: I'm not good at explaining pronunciation. You have to hear it from me :) There are already good answers. Most important part is, second t is silent. Forvo.com is a good start as Peter Shor mentioned. Though, people use "t-dot" as a nickname too.
    – ermanen
    Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 2:18

4 Answers 4


When I was living in Calgary, Alberta, in the early 1970s, a student fresh from Toronto (where she had grown up) enrolled in our high school—and I would swear that she pronounced Toronto in two syllables: ˈträn-ə.

Admittedly (1) the pronunciation may have changed or (2) our transfer student may have had an idiosyncratic pronunciation or (3) even though I would swear to the accuracy of the memory, I may not be remembering it correctly.

I do know that the nasal tone with which she pronounced Toronto was a source of great mirth to the chirpy native Calgarians.

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    That sounds basically like what I have always heard from Torontonians. Writing it Tronna is quite common too (like Strylia for Australia, Oireland for Ireland, or various variations of Sef Efrica for South Africa). Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 1:05
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Strine for 'Australia' is Striya (though locals write Straya), with no L, at least not one discernable to foreigners.
    – Glen_b
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 2:21
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    @JanusBahsJacquet I don't know whether this is an Inland North dialect characteristic, or whether it’s just some ubiquitous urge found everywhere (English is spoken (stress-timed)) to get everything down to as few syllables as one can get away with, but you sure do hear it a lot in the Great Lakes region. Milwaukee is Mwawkee; Wisconsin is Sconsun; Buffalo is Buflow; Chicago is Shkawgow; Sault Sainte Marie is odd, and Flint is — well, flint. :) On the other hand, a native Minnesotan will not flap that -t-, confounding other North Americans with its Scandihoovian vestiges.
    – tchrist
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 2:34
  • @Glen_b Right you are! Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 7:50
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    I have been to Toronto and have lots of family there. They all say Trawno.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 12:26

Peter Shor's comment is right: that second 't' is silent, in the stereotypical accent, so it's something like, "te-rah-na" ... eh?

Also Wikipedia gives /ˈtrɒnoʊ/ so the first vowel, too, is elided.

I'm not sure whether the first vowel is there or not. I think it's something like /tɨˈrɒnoʊ/ with a reduced first vowel and more stress on the 'R' than on the initial 'T', but who knows.

As an aside: apart from that "Canadian" accent, 50% of the inhabitants of Toronto were born outside Canada. So actual "Torontonians" are also likely to pronounce it with a Ukrainian accent, or with a Chinese accent, or etc.

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    Just like the capital of Albania (-:
    – Jim Mack
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 0:41
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    Yes about like that but without the "I" between the "T" and the "R".
    – ChrisW
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 1:03
  • I think you mean that the first (not the first two) syllable is elided. If the first two were elided, you'd end up with /trna/ or something like that… Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 1:06
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Thanks, you're right. I thought "two syllables elided" meant, "squished together into one syllable".
    – ChrisW
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 1:13
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    I am from Toronto, and I and most people I know pronounce it [tə-ˈränō] (second t silent, long o at the end, but not with an elided first vowel). This answer is a good one.
    – Ryan Kohn
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 16:48

'Trawna' if we're both from there, 'Trawn-toe' if we're speaking to someone who isn't from there.


Your merriam-webster link shows two pronunciations: [tə-ˈrän-(ˌ)tō] and [tə-ˈrän-tə]. The second of those, ending with a short vowel, more or less agrees with the pronunciation I was told by a Torontonian about nine years ago. Due to the lapse of time, I don't remember for certain if he slightly elided the second t – ie, somewhat like [tə-ˈrän-ə] instead of [tə-ˈrän-tə] – but I think he might have.

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