Scottish Place Names
- Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

For comparability with other cities around the world, Greater Ottawa has been defined as embracing much of the recently enlarged City of Ottawa, together with Aylmer, Hull, Chelsea, Gatineau and Masson-Angers in Québec Province - an area known as the National Capital Region. Predominantly rural parts of the Cities of Ottawa and Gatineau have been excluded.

The picture on the right is Elgin Street in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, looking towards the Parliament Buildings from Queen Street. The Peace Tower can be seen in the background.

Of the names of the 495 communities and neighbourhoods that have been identified to date in the Ottawa-Gatineau urban area, 108 (21.8%) can be found as place names in Scotland or are based on Scottish or Ulster Scots family names. Of course, some of the names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well, but at least 62 (12.5%) of them are unique to Scotland or are readily identifiable with places in Scotland that are based on the same names. The percentage of neighbourhood names that are definitely Scottish or Ulster Scots is likely to be a little higher than 12.5% but, as this article demonstrates, it is difficult to determine, in the absence of definitive research into local family history, whether some of the names are ultimately of Scottish, Irish or English origin.

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

Some of the following neighbourhoods could prove on further investigation to have a link with Scotland.

A third category of neighbourhood and suburban names comprises places that definitely exist in Scotland, but the likelihood that the Ottawa-Gatineau counterpart was named for Scotland, even indirectly, is greatly diminished because these names are also commonly associated with other parts of the British Isles. None of these names looks or sounds particularly Scottish.

  • Bloomfield Estates - there are many places in Scotland called Bloomfield (in the Scottish Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Fife, Moray, Orkney Islands, and Perth & Kinross). The name is also used in England and Ireland, but less commonly than in Scotland. As a family name, however, Bloomfield is more likely to be English, or Jewish-American from the Yiddish/German words 'blum' and 'feld' meaning 'flowerfield'.
  • Cardinal Creek, Cardinal Glen and Cardinal Heights - there is a Cardinal Steps in Fife; also Cardinal's Green in Cambridgeshire, England. The Ottawa neighbourhood of Cardinal Glen is also known as Dunbarton Court (a Scottish name), from one of the principal streets in the area.
  • Fairfield Heights - there are places in Scotland called Fairfield (in Clackmannanshire, the Shetland Islands and Stirling) but this descriptive name is also used in England and Ireland.
  • Greenlands (Aberdeenshire) but found more commonly throughout England.
  • Harwood Plains - there is a Harwood in the Scottish Borders and West Lothian; also Harwood Burn in the Scottish Borders and East Ayrshire, Harwood Moss, Harwood-on-Teviot, Harwood Rig and Harwoodmill in the Scottish Borders, and Harwood Water in West Lothian. Places with Harwood as an element in the name are even more numerous throughout England, especially in the north, the best-known perhaps being Harwood Forest in Northumberland.
  • Mountain View (Scottish Borders) also in Cumbria, England. The name of this Aylmer neighbourhood is most likely to be purely descriptive, with no intended reference to any particular place in Scotland or England.
  • Queen's Park (City of Glasgow - see graphic on the right) but found more commonly in southern and central England.
  • Riverside South - there is a Riverside in Stirling as well as in England and Wales, while Riverside Park (another Ottawa neighbourhood) is found only in England.
  • Skyline - there is a Skyline Loch in the Scottish Highlands. It is highly unlikely, however, that the Nepean neighbourhood took this descriptive name from that of the Scottish loch.
  • Stanley Corners / Stanley's Corners - there is a Stanley in Perth & Kinross as well as in eleven English counties. This semi-rural community immediately south of Stittsville was known previously as Rathwell's Corners.
  • Westwood (Dumfries & Galloway, Highland, Perth & Kinross, Stirling and South Lanarkshire) but Westwood is also commonly found throughout England and is a favourite name for neighbourhoods in other Canadian and American cities.
  • Woodpark (Angus, Dumfries & Galloway, and Moray) also two places in England.

    A final category of neighbourhood and suburban names comprises places that can be found in Scotland but which, in the case of Ottawa-Gatineau, definitely or most probably have no Scottish connection.

  • Aylmer - there is an Aylmerbank Wood in Dumfries & Galloway. Aylmer is also found as an element in place names in East Anglia, England. The Gatineau district of Aylmer (formerly a municipality in its own right) was named for Matthew Whitworth-Aylmer, 5th Baron Aylmer (1775-1850) who was a Governor General of British North America and a Lieutenant Governor of Lower Canada from 1830 to 1835. The Aylmer Baronetcy is a title in the Peerage of Ireland, which suggests that Baron Aylmer's cultural heritage was Anglo-Irish.
  • Beacon Hill, Beacon Hill North and Beacon Hill South - there is a Beacon Hill in Dumfries & Galloway but the name is found far more commonly in England and is also found in Wales. The Wikipedia article on Beacon Hill (Gloucester), retrieved in February 2007, suggests that the name is purely descriptive: "It is most likely that the community drew its name from a lighthouse in the Ottawa River, downstream from Duck Island. It is thought that the light from the river could be seen from Naskapi Dr. (the top of the hill), hence Beacon Hill. Though the lighthouse is no longer in use, its foundation still remains visible from the bike path." Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
  • Bowesville - there is a Bowes in Scottish Borders and East Ayrshire, as well as in County Durham, England, plus several other places, mainly in northern England, with Bowes as an element in the name. The late Queen Mother (pictured here) was a member of the noble Scottish Bowes-Lyon family, her title being Lady Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon before her marriage to the future King George VI in 1923 (her parents being the 14th Earl and the Countess of Strathmore). The Gloucester Historical Society website suggests that Bowesville has an Irish connection: "In 1830, Richard Bowes and other members of his family arrived from County Monaghan, Ireland. Richard's part of lot 10 in the second concession became the centre of the community [Johnston 1988]."
  • Carleton Heights, Carleton Square and West Carleton Industrial - there is a Carleton, Carleton Croft and Carleton Port in Dumfries & Galloway, and a Carleton Bay, Carleton Fishering and Carleton Mains in South Ayrshire, but places with Carleton as an element in the name are more numerous in England, particularly in the north. The names of these neighbourhoods refer most likely to Irish-born Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester (1724-1808), twice Governor of Quebec and a British commander during the American Revolutionary War.
  • Chapel Hill and Chapel Hill South - several places in Scotland are called Chapel Hill (in Aberdeenshire, the Scottish Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Perth & Kinross and South Lanarkshire) but the name is also commonly used in England and Wales. The Ottawa neighbourhoods are so named because "Chapel Hill was originally developed around a Chapel that was situated at the top of the hill in close proximity to a convent." (
  • Ironside - there is a village in Aberdeenshire with this name. As a family name, Ironside could be either Scottish or English ( The following account of the origin of the name of the Hull neighbourhood clearly shows that there is no apparent connection with Scotland: "Ironside developed as a small community on the Gatineau River, originally being a shipping point for the iron ore that came from the Forsyth Mine (on the Mine Road). Room here was also found to pile logs from the operations of the lumber companies upriver. The site was as far as powered boats could proceed up the Gatineau River. Workers from both projects built their homes nearby, and thus the village came into being." (Patrick M.O. Evans, Up the Gatineau!, Vol 14: reprinted, with slight editorial alterations in
  • Jockvale - Scottish people have often in the past been referred to as 'Jocks' (a pet form of John or James) in the same way that the Irish and Welsh are sometimes called 'Paddys' and 'Taffys' respectively - all three terms are considered to be somewhat pejorative today. One might suppose, given the large number of Scots who settled in the Ottawa area, that the semi-rural neighbourhood of Jockvale was named for this reason. There is no Scottish connection, however. Jockvale takes its name from the Jock River, which was apparently named after Jacques, a French man who drowned in it in the early 19th century (Wikipedia article on Jock River, retrieved in September 2013).
  • Piperville - there are many places in Scotland featuring 'piper' in their names (Piper's Burn in Highland, Piper's Knowe in the Scottish Borders, Pipercroft in Dumfries & Galloway, Piperdam in Angus, Piperhall in Argyll & Bute, Piperhill in Highland, Piperstones Hill in Perth & Kinross and Piperton in Angus) but despite the association of "pipes" and "bagpipes" with Scotland, names beginning with 'Piper' or 'Pipers' are found just as commonly in England. As a family name, Piper is considered to be southern English, or an Americanization of German, Dutch or French names (, citing the Dictionary of American Family Names). The Ottawa neighbourhood most probably has a link with Ireland rather than with Scotland or England. The following account is given in the Gloucester Historical Society's website: "It was settled by people from Ulster, Ireland, who were later joined by people from southern Ireland. In 1875, a public school was built on the southwest corner of lot 10 in the eighth concession of the Ottawa Front. This log school house was located on land donated by the Piper family." It is nonetheless possible that the Piper family could have been Scottish, English, Ulster Scots or Anglo-Irish.
  • Sandy Hill (Aberdeenshire, Scottish Borders and Orkney Islands; also in Fife, spelt Sandyhill) but found in England as well, sometimes spelt Sandyhill. According to the article retrieved from Wikipedia, this neighbourhood "is named for its hilliness, caused by the river, and its sandy soil, which makes it difficult to erect large buildings." There is therefore no connection with either Scotland or England.
  • Wrightville - the name Wright occurs in several Scottish place names: Wright's Houses (Midlothian), Wright's Island (South Ayrshire), Wrighthill (East Ayrshire) and Wrightpark (Stirling). It is also fairly common in England. This neighbourhood in Hull was presumably named after Philemon Wright, the first European settler in the area on the Quebec side of the river, or one of his sons. Philemon Wright was born in Woburn, Massachusetts, his family coming originally from Kingston-upon-Hull in Yorkshire.

    Baie McLaurin, Jardins Mackenzie King and Seigneurie Glenwood are particularly interesting names since they represent the kind of Scottish-French fusion of place name elements that can be expected in a bilingual country. Scottish place names, as this article illustrates, can be found in both the predominantly Francophone (Gatineau, Quebec) and predominantly Anglophone (Ottawa, Ontario) areas, a legacy of the early colonisation of both sides of the Ottawa River by Scottish and Scots-Irish settlers. An account of early Scots settlement in the area is provided in the Bytown website, on a web page titled "Emigration from Scotland to the Ottawa, Canada area in the 1800's to Glengarry County, Ontario and Lanark County, Ontario also Scottish Settlement on Indian Lands in 1815 in Glengarry County, Ontario, Canada" (


    © Ian Kendall
    Melbourne, Australia, September 2004 (Revised, November 2013)

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

  • Use the "Back" button on your browser or click here to return to the Index of Scottish Place Names

    Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

    Separator line