Canadian Provinces: Names and Meaning カナダ語学留学10年の実績


Canadian Provinces: Names and Meaning

Hi everyone. Clement here.


This past weekend, we celebrated Canada’s 15th Canada Day. Today, I would like to take this article to celebrate a part of this amazing year by sharing some Canadian history and geography. Let’s take a look at the meanings of the province names in Canada!


Canada is divided into ten provinces and three territories. Let’s look at the list of names for these provinces and territories and see what they mean! This will not only teach you about Canadian geography and place names, but also show the diversity and diverse cultures that come together to make this country so amazing!



This word comes from the language of one of the First Nations, the Huron Iroquois. When the French explorers came to what is now Quebec city, they were told by the local natives to go to “Kanada”, meaning village. This is where the name came from. The village was located in the same place as the modern Quebec City.


British Columbia (BC)

The province we now know as British Columbia had two different names before 1858.The southern half of the province was called Columbia, and the area which is now central BC was called New Caledonia. Queen Victoria named the whole area British Columbia when it was colonized in 1858 to avoid confusion with the nation of Colombia and the island of New Caledonia.


Alberta (AB)

This province is named after Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta. Originally a part of the Northwest Territories, it kept its name when it became its own province in 1905.


Saskatchewan (SK)

The name Saskatchewan is a modification of a word from the language of the Cree peoples, which meant swift-flowing river, the name of the Saskatchewan River in that region. Another province that was originally a part of the Northwest Territories, the name was kept when Saskatchewan became a province in 1905.


Manitoba (MB)

Another modification of a Cree expression, this name, which means “narrows of the great spirit”, describes Lake Manitoba and how narrow it becomes at its center. Manitoba became a province in 1870, and the name was chosen for its nice sound and connection to its aboriginal inhabitants.


Ontario (ON)

The name Ontario comes from the Iroquois language and is a modified form of a word that means “sparkling water”. In 1867, the province formerly known as Upper Canada got the name when it and Quebec officially became separate provinces.


Quebec (QC)

Quebec comes from the Iroquois word which means “narrow passage”. This was given as a description of the way the St. Lawrence River becomes narrow near what is now Quebec City.


Prince Edward Island (PE)

This island was named in 1799 after the duke of Kent and Strathearn, Prince Edward.


New Brunswick (NB)

Originally, this province was part of Nova Scotia, until 1784 when it became a separate province. It was given its name after King George III, whose other title was the Duke of Brunswick.


Nova Scotia (NS)

The name of this province is Latin for “New Scotland”. The British nobleman who named this land was given the province by the king of Scotland in 1621.


Newfoundland and Labrador (NL)

This was the name given to the newly discovered, or found, land by King Henry VII after John Cabot discovered it in 1497. Labrador is most likely after one of the explorers on the expedition, who was known as “El Llavorador”.


Northwest Territories (NT)

This is simply the description of the location of the territory.


Yukon (YT)

A word meaning great river, this territory was first known as the Yukon Territory, then had it changed to simply Yukon in 2003.


Nunavut (NV)

Coming from the language of one of the Inuit nations, this name, meaning “our land”, was given to it when it separated from the Northwest Territories and became its own territory in 1999.


As you can see, Canada is made up of many different cultures and ethnic groups. Let’s celebrate the 150th year of this diverse and multicultural country!!