Scottish Place Names
- Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

For comparability with other cities around the world, Greater Halifax has been defined as those urban and semi-urban parts of Halifax Regional Municipality centred on Halifax, Dartmouth and Bedford and their respective outlying commuter communities. This includes the entire Chebucto Peninsula in the south, the Pockwock Lake area in the west, Wellington and Halifax International Airport in the north and the Porter's Lake area in the east.

Of the names of the 248 communities and neighbourhoods that have been identified to date in Greater Halifax, 72 (29.0%) can be found as place names in Scotland or are based on Scottish family names. Of course, some of these names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well, but at least 31 of them (12.5%) appear to be unique to Scotland.

Communities and neighbourhoods with names that occur only in Scotland and not elsewhere in the British Isles, and/or are definitely, or most probably, of Scottish origin are:

Some of the following communities and subdivisions are also likely to have a direct or indirect Scottish connection, but these names can be found in other parts of the British Isles as well:

A final category of neighbourhood and suburban names comprises places that can be found in Scotland but which, in Halifax's case, definitely or most probably have no connection with Scotland.

Other evidence of Scottish influences on the development of Nova Scotia's capital city can be found in the names of streets and roads, parks and reserves, lakes, islands and coastal features throughout the metropolitan area. Well-known roads in the city centre and suburbs include:

Parks and sports grounds with Scottish sounding names include Ashburn Golf and Country Club, Charles L. McDonald Sportspark, McCormacks Beach Provincial Park, Sir Sandford Fleming Park and Waverley Provincial Game Sanctuary. Geographic features include Anderson Lake, Armstrongs Island, Bell Lake, Burns Cove, Burns Runs, Cochrans Island, Davidsons Brook, Davidsons First Pond, Davidsons Second Pond, Davidsons Third Pond, Drysdales Bog, Duncans Cove, Duncans Cove Pond, Ferguson Island, Fergusons Cove, Finlay Cove and McNabs Cove (both on McNabs Island), Fletchers Lake, Frasers Lake, Frasers Pond, Gunn Ponds, Hamilton Lake, Hamilton Pond, Jim Grant Ponds, Leslie Island, MacDonalds Cove, MacLellans Island, McDonald Lake and Little McDonald Lake, McDonalds Point, McGrath Lake, McGregor Brook, McIntosh Run, McKay Lake, McKay Pond, McQuade Lake, Melville Island, Melvin Cove, Moirs Pond, Muirs Point, Patterson Lake and Wilsons Lake. The names of the two bridges linking Halifax with Dartmouth are distinctly Scottish: the A. Murray MacKay Bridge over The Narrows and the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge over Halifax Harbour. And of course many Nova Scotians are graduates of Dalhousie University situated in downtown Halifax, which was founded by George Ramsay, the 9th Earl of Dalhousie and Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia.

The Clearances

Nova Scotia was a major destination for Scottish settlers, its very name meaning 'New Scotland'. A Scottish connection with this maritime eastern Canadian province dates back to 1621 when King James VI of Scotland (King James I of England) granted a charter to the Scottish poet and statesman William Alexander (1st Earl of Stirling) for the establishment of a colony in Canada. This venture never really got off the ground owing to French rivalry and expansion in the area, which resulted in Nova Scotia being part of the French colony of Acadia for much of the 17th century. Most of Nova Scotia was finally ceded to Britain in 1713, with large-scale Scottish settlement occurring mainly during the 18th and 19th centuries due to a combination of enforced "Clearances" and economic migration. To this day, the Gaelic language and many performing arts and other Scottish customs have survived on Cape Breton Island some 250 kilometres (about 150 miles) to the north-east of Halifax.

© Ian Kendall
Melbourne, Australia, October 2004
Revised September 2012

If you wish to contact Ian about his research, his e-mail address is

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