Scottish Place Names
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada

For comparability with other large cities around the world, Greater Toronto has been defined as the entire built-up area along the north-western shore of Lake Ontario from Oakville in the west to Newcastle in the east, with an inland corridor to Newmarket and Holland Landing in the north. The area included within this definition embraces all communities and neighbourhoods in the Cities of Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and Vaughan and the Towns of Oakville, Richmond Hill, Markham and Ajax. The area also includes the suburbanised sections of the Cities of Oshawa and Pickering, the Municipality of Clarington and the Towns of Whitby, Whitchurch-Stouffville, Aurora, Newmarket, Halton Hills and Milton, together with the SE corner of the Town of Caledon (centred on Bolton) and the southern and eastern sections of the Township of King. This is a vast and rapidly expanding metropolitan area - the fifth largest in North America.

Of the names of the 786 communities and neighbourhoods that have been identified to date in Greater Toronto, 161 (20.5%) 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 72 of them (9.2%) are uniquely Scottish or are readily identifiable with places in Scotland that are based on the same names.
Picture of Toronto 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:

Some of the following localities may also prove on further investigation to have a link with Scotland. Most of these names, however, have associations with other parts of the British Isles:

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

Canada was of course a major destination for Scottish settlers, resulting in many Scottish place names in most of its cities and surrounding countryside. Judging purely by the names of its suburbs and neighbourhoods, Greater Toronto does not appear to be as 'Scottish' as many of the other cities in Anglophone Canada. This is partly because of the preponderance of English names (many of which are based on Humber or York) and an abundance of purely descriptive names like Bayview Village, High Park and Riverdale. Toronto's cosmopolitan character has also resulted in many names like Chinatown, Little India, Corso Italia, Portugal Village, German Mills and Greektown. Another factor limiting the use of Scottish names is the elevated number of neighbourhoods with names of Irish origin. Irish names appear to account for about 6.5% of the names in Greater Toronto, which is exceptionally high in relation to most of the other cities around the world. French names, on the other hand, account for just over 2% of the total! There are at least 14 communities with Scottish names immediately beyond the limits of Greater Toronto's urban sprawl, and which, at the current rate of urban expansion, might well be absorbed into the metropolis at some point in the future. Some of these communities already serve as 'bedroom' or commuter communities. These communities are: Campbellville, Kelso and Kilbride (in the Town of Milton); Bannockburn, Scotch Block and Speyside (in the Town of Halton Hills); Brisbane (in the Town of Erin); Campbells Cross, Castlederg, Coulterville, Inglewood, McLeodville and Melville (in the Town of Caledon), New Scotland (in the Township of King); Glasgow (in the Town of Uxbridge) and Ashburn (in the Town of Whitby). In addition, the City of Burlington is often considered to be the western-most limit of Greater Toronto, though it is probably more a suburb of Hamilton. Neighbourhoods in Burlington that have Scottish-sounding names include Glenwood Park, McDonald Court and Strathcona Gardens.

Scottish influences on the development of Canada's largest city are also clearly evident when looking at the names of major thoroughfares throughout the metropolitan area. A few of these names could also be English (e.g., Shaw, Walker) or Irish (e.g., McLaughlin, Kennedy) but the vast majority are bound to have Scottish links.

Many parks, reserves and golf courses throughout the metropolitan area also have Scottish names. The following list is not necessarily exhaustive - there may be many smaller parks and reserves whose names were not given on the maps that were consulted.

The author of this article suspects that the Greater Toronto metropolis contains many more than 785 communities and neighbourhoods. Maps that have been consulted to date show far fewer names in the Cities of Mississauga and Oshawa, for instance, than are shown in the City of Toronto itself. This may well reflect reality but any assistance from readers in identifying additional names would be gratefully received.


© Ian Kendall
Melbourne, Australia, May 2008
Revised September 2013

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

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