Scottish Place Names
- Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

For comparability with other cities around the world, Hamilton has been defined as embracing most of the recently enlarged City of Hamilton, but excluding the predominantly rural areas in the west and far south of the municipality. The area included within this definition extends from Waterdown in the north and Copetown and Alberton in the west, to the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport and Woodburn in the south and Grimsby (a separate town) in the east. Of the names of the 188 communities and neighbourhoods that have been identified to date in Hamilton, 54 (28.7%) can be found in Scotland or are based on Scottish family names or Scottish words. Of course, some of the names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well but at least 33 of them (17.6%) are unique to Scotland or are readily identifiable with places in Scotland that are based on the same names. Hamilton itself is a Scottish place name as well as a family name.

Judging purely by its place names, Hamilton can justifiably claim to be one of the most 'Scottish' of all the Canadian cities, rivalling Winnipeg and Calgary in this regard. Hamilton's place names certainly illustrate the far-reaching effects of the Scottish diaspora, whether through direct immigration from Scotland or through migration from other parts of North America by people with Scots ancestry.

Picture of United Empire Loyalist Statue, Hamilton via Wikimedia.

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:

River Tweed at Peebles

As in other cities around the world, not all of the above place names are necessarily based directly on their namesakes in Scotland. The connection with Scotland may be more indirect in some instances, for example, honouring individuals whose ancestry may have been Scottish. This is clearly the case with place names in Hamilton, since most of them commemorate individuals whose family names are Scottish rather than actual places in Scotland.

Some of the following localities may also prove on further investigation to have a definite Scottish connection but these names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well:

The strong Scottish influence on the development of this city is further attested by the names of several parks and other landmarks. Community parks with Scottish sounding names include Bobby Kerr Park (Berrisfield), Bruce Park (Centremount), Colquhoun Park (Westcliffe), Dr William Bethune Park (Ryckmans Corners), Dundurn Park (Strathcona), Glendale Park (Corman), Highland Gardens Park (Kirkendall), McLaren Park (Beasley), McQuesten Park (Rushdale), Montgomery Park (Bartonville), Patrick Burns Park (Parkview East), Sam Manson Park (Kentley), Scott Park (Stipeley), Strachan Street Park (North End), Watson Park (Stoney Creek) and William McCulloch Park (Gilbert). In addition, there are several other parks with Scottish names but these bear the names of the neighbourhoods in which they are situated and have thus already been mentioned (e.g., Inch Park, Perth Park). Other place names with a strong Scottish flavour include:

The countryside to the immediate south and west of the suburban area also contains several towns and villages with Scottish names, including Kirkwall and Sinclairville (rural communities within the municipality of the City of Hamilton) and, of course, the town of Caledonia on the Grand River, about 25 kilometres (18 miles) south of downtown Hamilton. Well over ninety per cent of the streets in Caledonia have Scottish names, its main thoroughfares being Argyle Street, Caithness Street, Haddington Street, Stirling Street, and Wigton Street-McKenzie Road. The Edinburgh Square Heritage and Cultural Centre is located in the old Town Hall on the corner of Argyle and Caithness Streets. In addition, the City of Burlington, located a short distance to the north of downtown Hamilton on the far side of Hamilton Harbour, is often considered to be a suburb of Hamilton. Neighbourhoods in Burlington that have Scottish, or Scottish-sounding names include Glenwood Park, McDonald Court and Strathcona Gardens.


© Ian Kendall
Melbourne, Australia, April 2005
Revised January, 2009.

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

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