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Canadian Names Unite the Nation

Canadian Names Unite the Nation

Canadian baby names are a perfect way to celebrate Canada's Thanksgiving holiday, Nameberry style.

Canada has its own distinct, diverse name landscape, but often gets overshadowed by its more populous neighbor to the south, and other English-speaking countries.

One reason is that Canada doesn’t publish any national baby name statistics. Instead, each Canadian province and territory releases its top names at different points in the year, with varying conventions about how to count spellings and how much data they include.

With huge differences between populations in the thirteen provinces and territories — 85% of Canadian babies are born in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta or British Columbia — grouping all Canadian top names lists together can feel a bit unbalanced.

Not to mention language differences, like the English-French divide. Although some baby names are popular everywhere in Canada (as we’ll see below), the charts in Quebec are quite distinct from anywhere else.

The Top 10 there includes Florence, Romy, and Edouard, but nationally these names are down in the 30s and 40s, obscuring how popular they are for French Canadians.

Many parents use names from indigenous and other minority languages, which never make the top of the charts, but are an important part of Canada’s unique baby name profile.

To give you a flavor of Canadian baby names, we’ve rounded up the Top 10 in each province and territory, as well as the most distinctively Canadian names.

Popular Canadian Names

Several baby names make it to the top of the list in almost every Canadian province and territory.

These include Olivia, Amelia, Emma, Charlotte, Ava, Mia, Sophia and Isla for girls, as well as Liam, William, Noah, Jack, Oliver, Lucas and Benjamin for boys.

We can certainly count all of these as favorite Canadian baby names – but their popularity is not limited to Canada! All are top picks in Canada's southern neighbor, the US, as well as in many other Western nations.

To find the most distinctively Canadian names, we have to dig a little deeper. Just three provinces currently release full baby name data: Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia.

The language divide complicates the picture a little, so to qualify for the list below, names must rank either in the Top 100 in both Anglophone-majority provinces or in the Top 100 in Quebec, but not in the US or France.

Distinctively Canadian Girl Names

Distinctively Canadian girl names include several choices still up-and-coming in the US, but already a hit in fashion-forward Canada. Names like Georgia, Ophelia, Eloise and Freya are Canadian favorites that look set to rise south of the border as well.

Among the most distinctively québécois girl names are many choices now well past their peak in France, but still stylish for Canadian baby girls. Names like Florence, Delphine, Isabelle and Elodie are perfect French-English crossover choices that feel chic and current in Quebec.

Distinctively Canadian Boy Names

Distinctively Canadian boy names include several cool nicknames that are commonly given as standalones in Canada, but not in the US. These include Jake, Max, Sam and Zack.

Also disproportionally popular in Canada are cool retro choices like Leonard, Lionel, Jasper and George, as well as traditional French names like Arnaud, Emile and Edouard that have fallen out of favor in France, but are still very much in style in Quebec.

Top Baby Names by Canadian Province or Territory

These are the most recent baby name charts for each province and territory.

Data lovers take note: some provinces publish their full name lists, down to the truly unique ones, so follow those links for more Canadian name goodness!

Ontario 2020

Ontario, the province with the largest population (over a third of Canadians live there), only released its Top 10 names for each sex in 2020, the most recent year on record.

For previous years' data, which include all names given to 5 or more babies, see here for girls' names and here for boys.

Quebec 2021

Québécois names are a real treat. Not only do they have a unique style, with elements of both French and North American trends, but the list includes publishes every name registered each year.

Even those given to just one child. Even the double- or triple-barreled ones, like Rolliemikel Gabriel or Ze Nikita Pulcherie. Enjoy!

Alberta 2021

Alberta is another name-lover’s dream, publishing every single name given each year, right down to Zyrene and Zypher.

British Columbia 2021

BC publishes every name given to five or more girls or boys, broken down by first letter. This allows us to see some interesting trends, like the BC love for A, E, M and S names for girls, and A, C, J and R names for boys.

Manitoba 2020

The Keystone State only released its top ten baby names overall last year (genders combined). Emily and Theodore were tied for the #10 spot.

Saskatchewan 2022

Saskatchewan changed its publication date this year, giving us the 2022 data in July rather than in December as in previous years.

This combined with the much smaller population size means that to make the Top 10, a name had to be given to just 18 girls or 21 boys.

This also leads to many more ties! The final spot was tied between Abigail, Charlotte, Chloe, Lily and Mia for girls, and between Asher, Jack, James and Maverick for boys.