Sister Cities Make The Most Of Boring Names

by Kevin Burton

   My first editor used to say there are no boring towns, only boring people. I am with him on that.

   I always smiled at the thought of his then kindergarten-age daughter repeating that at school and getting into trouble. No idea if that ever happened.

   When my wife was growing up and declared she was bored, her parents were loving and kind enough to solve her problem by providing her with chores to do.

   Boredom cured, sort of.

   So was Shakespeare the first to ask what’s in a name? What if boredom were thrust upon your hometown by its name? 

   I thought of all these things last week when I stumbled upon a sister city story. It came from the Good News Network, as did all the stories I ran last Friday and Saturday. 

   There is a town in Perthshire, Scotland, called Dull. Twelve miles southeast of downtown Portland in Oregon, USA, is a town called Boring.  Here’s the story of that match made in snooze heaven, written by Andy Corbley.

   “One day (in 2012), a woman from Dull visited Boring on vacation, and inspired by the sense of connection, asked the town councils if they felt like spicing things up.”

   “Now Dull, in Perthshire, Scotland, is officially a sister city of Boring, Oregon, and mastermind of the project Elizabeth Leighton says it has made Dull a more lively place to live.”

   “With a population of just 85, Dull jumped at the idea which Leighton says has brought a ‘flash of excitement’ to the tiny village ten years on.”

   “Dull has seen a surge in visitor numbers since 2012 and even had tourists from Boring come to celebrate the match,” Corbley wrote.

   “I was going through Boring and saw the sign [and sent] my friend who was living in Dull a message saying, ‘isn’t this amazing, I’m in Boring and you are in Dull,’” Leighton said. “It really increased the number of visitors, and you can see people stopping to take selfies with the road sign. There have been exchanges, with people from Boring coming here for celebrations.’”

   “Dull’s main businesses are guest lodges and chalets, aimed at the tourism market, as well as Highland Safaris,” Corbley wrote.

   “Boring was named after William H Boring, an early resident of the area and former Union soldier in the American Civil War, and has a population of nearly 8,000.”

   “They are both quite rural places and do have similarities,” Leighton said. “Boring is bigger, but that doesn’t make it more exciting.”

   That was the original prosaic pairing. Of course once word got out, some other towns wanted to get involved.

   “In 2017, the mayor of a town called Bland in New South Wales, Australia, decided they wanted to get in on the act, and suggested the towns together could be known as the ‘Trinity of Tedium,” Corbley wrote.

   “Not all cities are created equal, and they aren’t all equally blessed in the naming department either,” wrote Khadija Bilal on  “We’ve seen dozens of examples of towns and cities having rather embarrassing or even downright vulgar names all over the world.”

   “The people in these locations constantly have to put up with the same old jokes and jibes, but three rather oddly-named towns recently decided to join forces and embrace their unusual identities,” Bilal wrote.

   “The towns in question are Boring in Oregon, Dull in Scotland, and Bland in Australia. These three towns, linked by the ridiculousness of their dreary names, decided to form a very special group that they’ve called ‘The League of Extraordinary Communities.’ But many people, including The Scotsman newspaper, have referred to them as the ‘Trinity of Tedium.’

   “For most outsiders, the whole thing seems rather silly and amusing, but the towns do have genuine reasons for forming these kinds of international relationships,” Bilal wrote. “They’re hoping that the media exposure and attention will help to boost tourism and bring in new businesses.”

   “It’s certainly a unique idea, and we’ll have to wait and see if any other members of the League are added in the future, with some internet commenters suggesting that Tedious Creek in Maryland and Monotony Valley in Nevada would be perfect candidates.”

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