Scottish Place Names
- Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
For comparability with other cities around the world, Regina has been defined as the City of Regina itself together with some of the nearby communities in the Rural Municipalities of Sherwood and Edenwold which are fast becoming commuter suburbs. The area included within this definition extends from Waskana in the west to White City and Balgonie in the east and from Albatross and North Regina Industrial Park in the north to Rowatt in the south. Of the names of the 144 communities and neighbourhoods that have been identified to date in the Greater Regina area, 28(19.4%) can be found in Scotland or are based on Scottish family names. Of course, some of the names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well but at least 20 of them (13.9%) appear to have a definite or highly probable Scottish origin.
The illustration here is of the Regina skyline at dusk and the graphic is via Wikimedia Commons
Communities, neighbourhoods and subdivisions 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:
- Al Ritchie - Ritchie is a Scottish family name, a sept of Clan Mackintosh. The Regina neighbourhood was named for one of the city's foremost sportsmen, Alvin Ritchie. The following is an extract from the City of Regina website: "It is fair to say that if Alvin Horace (Al) Ritchie had never come to the Queen City, the sports scene in Regina would never have been the same. Al Ritchie, better known as "The Silver Fox", was a booster of amateur sports in the city for many years. He was the only coach ever to have won National Championships in both junior hockey and junior football, and was the Western Canada scout for the New York Rangers. He was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, the CFL Hall of Fame, and the Saskatchewan Roughrider Plaza of Honour. His name lives on as the name for a Regina street as well as for a Regina subdivision and a number of the facilities within that subdivision." (www.regina.ca/Page183.aspx) Al Ritchie was born in Ontario and died in 1966.
- Argyle Park - Argyle is an alternative spelling of Argyll, the large and ancient county that occupies much of the west of Scotland. Simmons (2000), an authority on Regina street names, states that "there is an unfortunate spelling error in this name, as it honours the 9th Duke of Argyll, Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883. Lorne Street is also named after him. He was the Marquess of Lorne and husband of Princess Louise who named Regina."
- Armour - Armour is a Scottish, English and Northern Irish family name, said to have originated in the former county of Berwickshire (now part of the Scottish Borders). The earliest record of this family name in Scotland is 1297. According to Ancestry.com the name has an occupational origin - a maker of arms and armour. A well-known Scottish bearer of this name was Jean Armour, Robert Burns' sweetheart. The name of this industrial locality at the intersection of Armour Grid Road and Provincial Highway 6 is presumably a reference to Hugh Armour, who became one of the major meat packers in western Canada (Simmons, 2000).
- Balgonie (Perth & Kinross; also Balgonie Cott and Balgonie South Parks in Fife). "The Balgonie post office was established in 1883, named after the 14th-century Balgonie Castle in the county of Fife, Scotland." (Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan). Balgonie Castle (pictured here) is near Milton of Balgonie in Fife.
- Crawford Estates - there are places in Scotland called Crawford, Crawforddyke and Crawfordjohn (South Lanarkshire), Crawfordton, Crawfordton Burn and Crawfordton Hill (Dumfries & Galloway), Crawford Hill (East Ayrshire) and Crawfordston (South Ayrshire). There are also a few places in northern England and Northern Ireland with Crawford as part of the name, probably having been taken there by Scottish settlers. Crawford (sometimes spelt Crauford) is a Lowland Scottish name. The name goes back to at least the 13th century. William Wallace's mother is believed to have been the daughter of Sir Hugh Crawford, Sheriff of Ayr. Crawford Estates, south of Pilot Butte, is one of the many new bedroom communities springing up in the Rural Municipality of Edenwold to the east of Regina (Switzer, 2010).
- Douglas Park and Douglas Place - there is a Douglas in Douglasdale, South Lanarkshire, the original territorial base of the powerful Douglas family. This Scottish surname also occurs as part of the name in many other places throughout Scotland and is found in England, Ireland and on the Isle of Man as well, possibly taken there by Scottish settlers. Simmons (2000) notes that the Douglas Park subdivision "appeared on a city map registered in 1905, but the identity of the original Douglas is lost to history." The streets named Douglas Avenue, Douglas Crescent and Douglas Road, on the other hand, were all named for Scots-born Thomas Clement Douglas, Premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961.
- Dreghorn (a village to the west of Kilmarnock in North Ayrshire; also a district of Edinburgh).
- Glencairn and Glencairn Village - Villages called Glencairn are found in Aberdeenshire and Highland. Glencairn is also the name of a district in Belfast, Northern Ireland, a city which has several Scottish place names.
- Glenelm, Glenelm Park and Glenelm Park South - although there are no towns or villages in Scotland called Glenelm, there are streets with this name (e.g. Glenelm Place, a residential street in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire) as well as buildings. Regina's Glenelm is possibly a borrowing from Winnipeg.
- Highland Park - possibly recalling the Highlands of Scotland, though this is one of the most commonly recurring place names in North American cities. Three of the side-streets in this neighbourhood are called Highland Green, Highland Mews and Highland Way. The illustration shows Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands.
- McNab - Clan MacNab claims descent from the abbots of Glendochart, at the west end of Loch Tay. The name is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic Mac-an-Aba (son of the abbot). The Regina neighbourhood presumably honours Archibald Peter McNab, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan from 1936 to 1944.
- Pinkie (Pinkie Braes and Pinkie House in East Lothian). In 1547, the English defeated the Scots at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, near Edinburgh. The battle was sparked by English demands that Edward VI of England (King Henry VIII's son, aged 10) should marry Mary Queen of Scots (aged 5), an event known as the 'Rough Wooing'. It is estimated that 15,000 Scots were killed and that 1,500 were captured, the English losses amounting to only 500. It therefore seems strange that Scottish settlers would want to commemorate such an ignominious defeat. Pinkie is also the Scots word (borrowed from Dutch) for 'little finger' - another strange reason for naming a place! It is possible, of course that an Englishman may have named the place as a gibe to the Scots (in the same way that the Toronto neighbourhood of Agincourt may have been named to rile a French Canadian post office bureaucrat - see Wikipedia article on Agincourt, Toronto). No information has been found on the reason for naming this locality on the western boundary of the Regina International Airport.
- Richardson - Apart from an archaeological site in Wiltshire, southern England which was presumably named after someone with the surname Richardson, there are no places anywhere in Britain called Richardson. Richardson is a Lowland Scottish and English family name meaning, quite literally, 'son of Richard'. In Scotland, the Richardson family is associated with clans Buchanan and Ogilvie. The tartan shown here is the modern Buchanan. One wonders whether the small community of Richardson, located to the south-east of Regina, was named for Judge Hugh Richardson, who sentenced Louis Riel in 1885, or the Richardson family who were prominent in the grain industry. Alternatively, it could be a tribute to Scots-born John Richardson (1787-1865), surgeon on two of John Franklin's Land Arctic Expeditions and who has been hailed as one of the greatest surgeon naturalists.
- Ross Industrial Park - Places called Ross can be found in the Scottish Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Highland and Perth & Kinross. There are also many other places throughout Scotland that have Ross as part of the name. However, the same is true for England (especially Cornwall) and Ireland, though less commonly so than for Scotland. Ross is of course a fairly common Scottish family name originating nearly 900 years ago from two very different sources: Yorkshire in northern England (the Ayrshire Ross's) and that part of the Highlands of Scotland once known as Ross-shire. Since most place names are named for individuals rather than towns and villages, the chances are high that the Regina industrial neighbourhood has a Scottish connection. That's the Ross tartan shown here.
- Rowatt - The Surname Data Base website gives the following explanation of the origin of this Scottish family name: "Black's 'Scottish Surnames' claims the surname to be a form of the French 'Rouat', but does not explain how the first recording came to be the Gaelic 'Makrowat', although this spelling was only fleetingly applied. There is little doubt that for many name holders the place of origin was the south west of Scotland." (http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Rowatt#ixzz1aRjSu27D)
- Transcona - this name honours Lord Strathcona (Donald Alexander Smith, born in Forres, Scotland in 1820), a pioneer of the Hudson's Bay Company and the Canadian Pacific Railway. It is a name that was made up from a combination of National TRANScontinental Railway and Lord StrathCONA. There is also a Transcona in Winnipeg, from which Regina possibly borrowed the name (or vice-versa).
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. Examples where this could be the case would be gratefully received from readers in Regina, for incorporation in future updates of this web page.
Other neighbourhoods and subdivisions with names that can be found in Scotland but that are not unique to Scotland are:
- Belvedere (West Lothian) also in England, and the famous Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria. Belvedere was a popular choice of name for localities during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines a belvedere as a "raised turret to view scenery from" (a word formed from the Italian words for 'beautiful' and 'see').
- Churchill Downs - Churchill is a district of the City of Edinburgh, but the name occurs far more frequently in England and is also found in Wales.
- Hillsdale - As a place name within the British Isles Hillsdale is found only in England. However, the Regina neighbourhood appears to have taken its name from Hillsdale Street, which was named, in turn for Walter H.A. Hill, a property developer in the early 20th century (Simmons, 2000). In 1903, Walter H.A. Hill, and his business partner E.A. McCallum, founded McCallum Hill Ltd. of Regina, a company which by 1912 had become the largest land developer in Western Canada (The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan). As a family name, Hill is equally likely to be Scottish or English.
- Mount Pleasant (Aberdeenshire, Argyll & Bute, Scottish Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire, Fife, Highland, Moray and the Orkney Islands) also all over England, Ireland and Wales, as well as Canada, the USA and Australia it would seem.
- Normanview and Normanview West - As a family name, Norman could be Scottish, English, Dutch, French or Jewish (Ancestry.com).
- Westhill Park - there are places called Westhill in Aberdeenshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Highland and Perth & Kinross; also Westhill Cott (Aberdeenshire) and Westhill Wood (Scottish Borders). Being a descriptive name, Westhill is commonly encountered in England as well.
- Woodland Grove - there is a place called Woodland in South Ayrshire as well as in five English counties.
Scottish influences on the development of Saskatchewan's capital city (which was founded as recently as 1882) are clearly evident in the names of many of its streets, parks and sports centres. Several thoroughfares and other main roads have Scottish sounding names. These are: Angus Road, Argyle Road (Lakeview South), Argyle Street North (Coronation Park and Argyle Park), Armour Grid Road, Bell Street, Dalgliesh Drive, Douglas Avenue and Road (both in Assiniboia East), Edinburgh Drive, Elphinstone Street, Gordon Road (Albert Park), Graham Road (Glencairn Village), Grant Drive and Road (both in Whitmore Park), Henderson Drive (Ross Industrial Park), MacPherson Avenue (Hillsdale), McAra Street, McDonald Street, McIntosh Street, McKinley Avenue and McMurchy Avenue. The picture shows Argyle Street in Glasgow.
The names of many ordinary streets throughout the city also have Scottish names. These are particularly numerous in the city centre, the Cathedral Area to its west and Broders Annex to its east. Of the 44 streets running from north to south within this central area, starting with Pasqua Street in the west and ending with Francis Street in the east, at least 16 (36%) bear Scottish names. From west to east one finds McTavish Street, Argyle Street, Elphinstone Street (major thoroughfare), Athol Street, Cameron Street, Rae Street, Angus Street, McIntyre Street, Lorne Street (that's the Firth of Lorne in Argyll shown here), Hamilton Street, Wallace Street, Elliott Street, Lindsay Street, McDonald Street (main road), McAra Street (main road) and MacKay Street. The other names in this particular series of streets are either English or Cornish (e.g., Retallack, Cornwall, Scarff and Atkinson) or honour Canadian capital cities or royalty. The Scottish theme is by far the most evident, however.
Parks include Argyle Park (Lakeview South), Douglas Park (Douglas Place), Glencairn Village Park (Glencairn Village), Grant Road Park (Whitmore Park), Leslie Park (part of the Regina Exhibition Park complex), McMurchy Park (Coronation Park), Richardson Park (Whitmore Park), Sheppard Park, Transcona Playground, Wilfrid Walker Park (Gardiner Park) and A.E. Wilson Park (Mount Royal). Sports venues include the Al Ritchie Memorial Arena, Caledonian Curling Club on Sandra Schmirler Way, Currie Field Ball Diamond, Highland Curling Club, Jack Hamilton Arena, Leslie Lawn Bowling Greens, Murray Balfour Arena in Massey Park, Scotty Livingston Field Ball Diamond and Tartan Curling Rink. In addition, two of the 12 golf courses in Regina have Scottish names: Craig Golf Course and Murray Golf Course and there is also a Maxwell's Amusements centre at the eastern end of Victoria Avenue. Civic Buildings with Scottish sounding names include the Dunlop Art Gallery, MacKenzie Art Gallery, T. C. Douglas Building and Walter Scott Building, while nearly 20% of the 78 public, private and separate schools in Regina appear to have Scottish names (Campbell, Cochrane, MacNeill, Scott and St Andrew among ten others). It can be concluded, from the above analysis, that Scottish settlers and administrators certainly left their mark on Regina.
- Black, George F. (1996). The Surnames of Scotland. (Birlinn Ltd, Edinburgh).
- Scarlett, James D. (1975). The Tartans of the Scottish Clans. (Collins, Glasgow and London).
- Simmons, Dale (2000). Regina, the Street Where You Live: The Origins of Regina Switzer, Tim (2010). East of Regina it's boom, boom, boom. The Leader-Post (Regina), Saturday 27th February, 2010.
- Street Names (Fourth Edition). Available online through Our Roots / Nos Racines: Canada's Local Histories Online
- Collins Gem Scots Dictionary (1995). (HarperCollins Publishers, Glasgow).
- The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan
- Regina Pocket Street Atlas, 2005. (MapArt Publishing, Oshawa).
- Wikipedia - list of Regina neighbourhoods
- Websites, place name gazetteers and published Ordnance Survey maps of British and Irish cities, towns, villages and counties.
© Ian Kendall
Melbourne, Australia, November 2005
If you wish to contact Ian about his research, his e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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