Scottish Place Names
- Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

For comparability with other cities around the world, Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, has been defined as the built-up urban area embracing, from north to south, the following 13 municipalities: North Saanich, Sidney, Central Saanich, Saanich, Highlands, Oak Bay, Victoria, Esquimalt, View Royal, Langford, Colwood, Metchosin and Sooke. Of the names of the 134 communities and neighbourhoods that have been identified to date in Greater Victoria, 29 (21.6%) can be found as place names in Scotland or are based on Scottish family names or Scottish words. Of course, some of these names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well, but at least 15 of them (11.2%) appear to have a unique connection with Scotland, whether directly or indirectly.

Picture of Hatley Castle, Victoria 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. However, these names are also associated with other parts of the British Isles:

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

Perhaps Victoria's most prominent 'Scottish' landmark is Craigdarroch Castle, the historic 4-storey mansion constructed in the 1890s by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir and which is now open to the public. (The picture of it here is via Wikipedia). A second landmark is Hatley Castle and Gardens, built in the Scottish Baronial style by Robert Dunsmuir's son, James, when he became Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia in 1906. It is not clear why James Dunsmuir gave his mansion an English name in preference to a Scottish one. The countryside surrounding Greater Victoria is rich in Scottish place names. Examples include Lake Maxwell, Maxwell Point, Mount Erskine and the Athol Peninsula on Saltspring Island to the north and places to the west such as McPhail Point on Saanich Inlet, Oliphant Lake, Finlayson Arm, McKenzie Bight, Mount Finlayson, Mount McDonald and Muir Point. The first major town to the north of Greater Victoria also has a Scottish name - Duncan.


© Ian Kendall
Melbourne, Australia, February 2007
Revised January 2013

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

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