Torontonians know the city has some pretty unique names for its neighbourhoods. From Long Branch to Cabbagetown, we’ve accepted these monikers as normal without realizing their true origin.
But one Reddit user took the liberty of diving into Toronto’s hidden etymologies to expose their true meanings.
From the infographic we can see that there are three ways a neighbourhood name was derived: from another language, a prominent person, or a geographical location or historical event.
I made an infographic explaining the origins behind some of Toronto's neighborhood names from r/toronto
Some standouts include Mimico, which comes from the Ojibwe word omiimiikaa meaning “with many wild pigeons,” Don Valley, which was named after a river in England that was named for a Celtic goddess, and Kensington Market, which was named after London, U.K.’s Kensington district.
Of course, not every single Toronto neighbourhood was included in the infographic by etymologynerd. One Reddit user was quick to point out that Roncesvalles and Sorauren were missed. Both neighbourhoods got their names from the Napoleonic wars— the battle of Roncesvalles Gorge and the battle of Sorauren.
“Obviously, there was no way I could include each of Toronto's 100+ neighborhoods, so I tried to include the most important and most interesting ones,” the creator wrote on Reddit. “This means many more obvious, boring, and obscure etymologies were omitted.”
The infographic should be taken with a grain of salt, too. Etymologynerd also noted that they are a high school senior from New York state, “so it's quite possible I screwed something up.”
The graphic, for example, incorrectly states the origin of the name Toronto. The city’s moniker actually comes from an Anglicized Mohawk word tkaronto or taronto, which was used to describe “where trees grow in shallow water,” according to BlogTO.
But regardless, the graphic is still an impressive look at the city’s neighbourhood names. After all, who knew Cabbagetown was actually named after the vegetable thanks to Irish immigrants?