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Canadian Names Unite the Nation

October 11, 2020 Clare Green
canadian names

Monday is Thanksgiving in Canada, so we’re celebrating Canadian baby names.

Canada’s baby names sometimes get overshadowed by its more populous neighbor to the south, but it has a distinct and diverse name landscape of its own.

One reason for this is the lack of national statistics. The USA releases its top baby names each year to great fanfare. But each Canadian province and territory publishes its top names at different times of the year, with different conventions about how to count spellings and how much data to release.

There are also wild differences between the thirteen provinces and territories that make national comparisons feel a bit unbalanced. For example, population size varies hugely. 85% of Canadian babies are born in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta or British Columbia. The raw numbers of baby names from the rest of the country are a drop in the ocean, so is it worth combining them?

And then there’s the EnglishFrench divide. Although some names are popular everywhere in Canada (as we’ll see below), the charts in Quebec are quite different from any other province. The Top 10 includes Beatrice, Rosalie, Raphael and Edouard. Combine the figures with the rest of the country and these names slip down to the 30s and 40s, obscuring how popular they are for French Canadians.

With all these things in mind, there’s still plenty to say about baby names in Canada. We’ve rounded up the nation’s most popular names, and the Top 10 in each province and territory.

Popular all-round Canadian names

Top 10

Three names are in the most recent Top 10 for every province: Olivia and Charlotte for girls, and Liam for boys.

In the Top 10 for most provinces are Amelia, Ava, Emma and Sophia; and Benjamin, Ethan, Jack, Jacob, Noah, Oliver and William. So we can certainly count all of these as favorite Canadian baby names.

Top 100

Looking more widely, despite local differences there are 26 girl names and 37 boy names in the Top 100 for all four of Canada’s most populous provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia). These are not too different from American parents’ taste: the only ones not in the US Top 100 are Rose for girls, and Felix and Zachary for boys.

Girls:

Alice
Amelia
Anna
Aria
Charlotte
Chloe
Clara
Elizabeth
Ella
Ellie
Emma
Eva
Julia
Lily
Maya
Mia
Mila
Olivia
Rose
Sarah
Sofia
Sophia
Sophie
Stella
Victoria
Zoe

Boys:

Adam
Benjamin
Caleb
Charles
David
Dylan
Eli
Elias
Ethan
Evan
Felix
Gabriel
Isaac
Jack
Jackson
Jacob
James
Jayden
Jordan
Joshua
Leo
Liam
Logan
Lucas
Mason
Mateo
Maverick
Michael
Nathan
Noah
Nolan
Ryan
Samuel
Theodore
Thomas
William
Zachary

Distinctively Canadian names

The following names are in the Top 100 in two or three of the largest provinces, but not in the US. This means that, if you meet a North American child with one of these names, the odds are slightly in favor of them being Canadian.

Blake and Charlie are on both lists, so you could call them the most Canadian unisex names.

Girls:

Alyssa
Alexandra
Athena
Ayla
Brielle
Blake
Charlie
Georgia
Freya
Isabelle
Jasmine
Lyla
Mackenzie
Maria
Mya
Norah
Sara

Boys:

Ali
Arthur
Beau
Bennett
Blake
Charlie
Emmett
Gavin
George
Harrison
Hayden
Jake
Jasper
Marcus
Matteo
Max
Maxwell
Muhammad
Rowan
Ryker
Sawyer
Theo
Tristan
Weston

Top names in Canadian provinces and territories

We’ve rounded up the most recent baby name charts for each province and territory. Some publish a huge amount of data that’s well worth delving into, so do follow those links for more Canadian namey goodness!

Ontario 2018

Ontario, the most populous province (over a third of Canadians live there), releases its annual baby name data near the end of the following year, so we don’t have the 2019 figures yet. It includes all names given to six or more girls or boys. Names with accents are considered different spellings — so Chloe, Chloé and Chloë are counted separately.

Girls:

1. Olivia
2. Emma
3. Charlotte
4. Amelia
5. Ava
6. Sophia
7. Evelyn
8. Mia
9. Emily
10. Chloe

Boys:

1. Liam
2. Noah
3. Lucas
4. William
5. Benjamin
6. Ethan
7. Logan
8. Oliver
9. Jacob
10. James

Quebec 2019

Quebecois names are a real treat. Not only do they have a unique style, with elements of French and North American trends, but the government publishes every name registered each year. Even those given to just one child. Even the triple-barreled ones. Enjoy!

Girls:

1. Olivia
2. Emma
3. Alice
4. Charlie
5. Charlotte
6. Lea
7. Florence
8. Livia
9. Rosalie
10. Beatrice

Boys: 

1. Liam
2. William
3. Thomas
4. Leo
5. Noah
6. Logan
7. Nathan
8. Felix
9. Raphael
10. Edouard

Alberta 2019

Alberta is another name-lover’s dream, publishing every single name used each year. Right down to the two children named Zyva and Zzayden.

Girls:

1. Olivia
2. Charlotte
3. Sophia
4. Emma
5. Ava
6. Amelia
7. Emily
8. Abigail
9. Hannah
10. Elizabeth

Boys:

1. Noah
2. Liam
3. Oliver
4. Ethan
5. Jack
6. William
7. Lucas
8. Owen
9. Benjamin
10. Jacob

British Columbia 2019

BC publishes every name given to five or more girls or boys.

Girls:

1. Olivia
2. Charlotte
3. Emma
4. Ava
5. Sophia
6. Amelia
7. Chloe
8. Mia
9. Isla
10. Ella

Boys: 

1. Oliver
2. Liam
3. Lucas
4. Ethan
5. Noah
6. William
7. Benjamin
8. Theodore
9. Leo
10. Logan

Manitoba 2018

Manitoba only releases its top ten baby names, within its annual report for the next year.

Girls:

1. Olivia
2. Emily
3. Charlotte
4. Amelia
5. Sophia
6. Chloe
7. Abigail
8. Ava
9. Isabella
10. Sophie

Boys:

1. Liam
2. Noah
3. Lucas
4. Logan
5. Ethan
6. Benjamin
7. William
8. Jacob
9. Alexander
10. Mason

Saskatchewan 2018

Saskatchewan is another province of limited data: they only published the top 20 baby names for 2018, and we haven’t seen 2019’s names yet. We’re talking much smaller population sizes now, so to make the Top 20, a name had to be given to just 39 boys, or 29 girls.

Girls:

1. Olivia
2. Emma
3. Harper
4. Ava
5. Sophia
6. Ella
7. Charlotte
8= Emily
8= Lily
8= Scarlett

Boys:

1. Liam
2. Oliver
3. Benjamin
4. Noah
5. Jacob
6. Lincoln
7= Jack
7= Logan
9. James
10= Hudson
10= Levi

Nova Scotia 2019

Girls:

1. Charlotte
2. Olivia
3. Amelia
4. Emma
5. Abigail
6. Violet
7. Isla 
8. Ava
9. Sadie 
10= Ella
10= Isabella
10= Sophie

Boys:

1= Jack 
1= Owen 
3. Noah 
4. Benjamin 
5. Liam 
6. Oliver 
7. William 
8. Levi 
9= Ethan 
9= Henry 

New Brunswick 2019

This Atlantic province released only the Top 12 names for 2019, so we’ve included them all.

Girls:

1. Olivia
2. Emma
3. Charlotte
4. Amelia
5. Ava
6. Evelyn
7. Chloe
8. Scarlett
9. Violet
10. Sophia
11. Emily
12. Madison

Boys:

1. William
2. Liam
3. Noah
4. Logan
5. Benjamin
6. Jacob
7. Jack
8. Thomas
9. Owen
10. Lucas
11. Oliver
12. Jackson

Newfoundland and Labrador 2018

We only have the Top 10 names for 2018, which combine all spellings. For a deeper dive, you can find Top 100 lists for earlier years here.

Girls:

1. Charlotte
2. Lily/Lilly
3. Emma
4. Olivia
5. Layla/Laylah/Leila/Laila
6. Norah/Nora
7. Callie/Cali/Kaley/Kailee/Kaylee/Kallie
8. Sophia/Sofia
9. Sadie/Saydee
10. Emily

Boys:

1. Jack
2. William
3. Liam
4. Grayson/Graysin/Greyson
5. Jackson/Jaxyn/Jaxxon/Jaxsin/Jaxson/Jaxon
6. Owen
7. Benjamin
8. Jacob/Jakob
9. Parker
10. Luke

Prince Edward Island 2019

In this tiny province, it doesn’t take many babies to make a top-ranking name. The raw numbers are included here.

Girls:

1. Sophie (12)
2. Charlotte (11)
3. Olivia (9)
4. Ella, Lucy (8, tied)
5. Amelia, Mia, Paisley (7, tied)
6. Brielle, Brooklyn, Emma, Evelyn (6, tied)

Boys:

1. Liam (10)
2. Benjamin (9)
3. Carter, Hunter, Oliver, William, Wyatt (8, tied)
4. Ethan, Jack, Mason, Noah (7, tied)

Northwest Territories 2019

In the sparsely-populated territories, we really get into the low name figures.

Girls:

1. Zoey (4)
2. Emily, Hazel, Kinsley, Lily (3)

Boys:

1. Elias, John, Joseph, Michael (3)

Yukon 2019

Girls:

1. Ava, IslaLiviaQuinn (3)

Boys:

1. Henry (4)
2. 
CharlesJasonLeoNoahOliver (3)

Nunavut 2015

The last we heard from Nunavut was in 2015, when there was a three-way tie for the top spot for both sexes.

Girls:

Anna, Samantha, Sarah

Boys:

Liam, Mason, Sandy

Did any of these names surprise you? Canadian Berries, which names do you see a lot where you live?

About the author

Clare Green

Clare Green writes Nameberry's weekly round-up of the latest baby name news, including celebrity announcements, unusual naming stories, and new statistics from around the world . Clare, who has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, lives in England, where she has worked in libraries and studies linguistics. You can follow her personally on Instagram and Twitter.

View all of Clare Green's articles

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