List of Canada city name etymologies

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Origins of the names of cities in Canada lists the names and origins of names of cities across Canada:[1]

City Province Language of origin Explanation
Airdrie Alberta Scottish Gaelic Named for Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, in Scotland. Possibly originally from gaelic An Àrd Ruigh meaning a level height or high pasture.
Barrie Ontario English Named for Sir Robert Barrie, who was in charge of the naval forces in Canada and frequently had to portage from Lake Simcoe to Georgian Bay
Calgary Alberta Scottish Gaelic Named for Calgary, Mull, which originated from the Scottish Gaelic "Cala ghearraidh", meaning "beach of the meadow (pasture)"
Charlottetown Prince Edward Island German Named for Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, consort of George III of England
Chicoutimi Quebec Innu The name means "The end of the deep water" in the Innu/Montagnais language
Edmonton Alberta English Named for Edmonton, London
Fredericton New Brunswick English Named for the second son of King George III of the United Kingdom, Prince Frederick Augustus, Duke of York
Grande Prairie Alberta French Named for its location, literally it means "great meadow" or "big prairie".
Greater Sudbury Ontario English Named for Sudbury, Suffolk in England; "Greater" added in 2001 when the city of Sudbury was amalgamated with six suburban municipalities.
Halifax Nova Scotia English Named for George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax, President of the Board of Trade
Hamilton Ontario English Named for George Hamilton, the city's founder
Iqaluit Nunavut Inuktitut Inuktitut word meaning "many fish"
Lethbridge Alberta English Named for William Lethbridge.
Markham Ontario English Named by William Berczy to honour Sir John Markham
Medicine Hat Alberta English / Blackfoot Translation of Blackfoot Saamis, a type of headdress worn by medicine men.
Mississauga Ontario Anishinaabe Named for the Mississaugas who originally inhabited the area
Moncton New Brunswick English Named for Lieutenant Colonel Robert Monckton, who capture nearby Fort Beauséjour
Montreal Quebec Middle French Named for "Mont Réal", or Mount Royal, a geological feature located within the city
Ottawa Ontario Odawa The Ottawa Valley was the traditional home of the Algonquin people (Anishinaabe) who called the Ottawa River the Kichi Sibi or Kichissippi' meaning "Great River" or "Grand River".[2][3] [4][5][6] Despite the name of the city, the Ottawa people, another First Nation who lived far to the west along Georgian Bay and Lake Huron never lived in the area, but rather maintained a trade route along the Ottawa River for a relatively short time.[7]
Quebec City Quebec Algonquin French transcription of the Algonquin word "kébec", which means "where the river narrows"
Red Deer Alberta English / Cree Mistranslation into English of the Cree name for the Red Deer River, Waskasoo Seepee, which means "Wapiti River" or "Elk River", North American elk (aka Wapiti) are often confused with European Red Deer.
Regina Saskatchewan Latin Named by Princess Louise, wife of the then-Governor General of Canada the Marquess of Lorne in honour of Queen Victoria; Regina is the Latin word for queen.
Richmond Hill Ontario English Named by Benjamin Barnard after the folk song The Lass of Richmond Hill, referring to Richmond, North Yorkshire
Richmond British Columbia English Named by Hugh McRoberts for Richmonds Farm in Australia
St. Albert Alberta French Named by Bishop Alexandre-Antonin Taché after Father Albert Lacombe and his patron name saint Albert of Louvain.
St. John's Newfoundland and Labrador English, Basque or Spanish Named for the feast day of Saint John the Baptist, which was the date of landing by John Cabot. The name by Basque fishermen for the bay of St. John's was similar to the Bay of Pasaia in the Basque region, and one of the fishing town called St. John (in Spanish, San Juan)
Sault Ste. Marie Ontario French Named for the rapids in the St. Mary's River.
Thunder Bay Ontario English, French Named for the bay on which the city is located, which was originally labelled Baie du Tonnerre on French maps in the 17th century. The name was chosen by referendum in 1969.
Toronto Ontario Iroquoian Derived from word "tkaronto", meaning "place where trees stand in the water"
Vancouver British Columbia English, Dutch Named for Captain George Vancouver, an officer of the British Royal Navy.
Vaughan Ontario English Named for Benjamin Vaughan, a British commissioner who signed the peace treaty with the United States in 1783.
Victoria British Columbia English Named for Queen Victoria
Whitehorse Yukon English Named for the White Horse Rapids, which were said to look like the mane of a white horse
Winnipeg Manitoba Cree Western Cree word meaning "muddy waters"
Yellowknife Northwest Territories Dene Suline Named for the Yellowknives Dene First Nation

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Name Origins of Major Centres in Canada". 2007-09-18. Retrieved 2011-11-23. 
  2. ^ McMillan & Yellowhorn 2004, pp. 103.
  3. ^ Taylor 1986, pp. 11.
  4. ^ "Settlement Along the Ottawa River" (PDF). Ottawa River Heritage Designation Committee (Ontario Ministry of Culture). 2008. p. 1. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
  5. ^ Hessel 1987, pp. 10.
  6. ^ Shaw 1998, pp. 1.
  7. ^ Hessel 1987, pp. 2,10.

Further reading[edit]