Main Street Mama: Vancouver inspired baby names

By Jess Procter

You buy local. You eat local. Why don’t you name local?

It’s no secret that a lot of people hate Vancouver. Our hockey team is universally disliked. Our impenetrable, impossible real estate market has prompted many young people to write angry articles and move their families en masse to the suburbs. We’ve long held the distinguished title of “No Fun City” and been called boring and soulless. And to add some salt to that wound, our drinking is governed by some prohibition-era tax laws that make the price of booze exorbitant. It is said that we lack art, culture, and nightlife.

 But those of us who love this city love it a lot. Like wanna-live-here-forever a lot. Or wanna-marry-it a lot. Or wanna-name-our-baby-after-it a lot? This sounds crazy until you realize the wealth of baby name ideas strewn around this city in various places, if you only know where to look. Luckily I did the work for you, mining our fine city for the best Vancouver-themed baby names ever. And before you assume that I’m gonna suggest you name your offspring after a varietal of Pacific salmon, just hold on, because some of these suggestions are legit (but to be honest, King and Coho would be pretty cool names too, just sayin’. #welovesalmon).

 For the Nature Lover

For those of you who love to get lost in the trees, explore the gulf islands, and drop from a rope-swing into a glacial-fed lake, there is naming potential literally all over the map. Local islands like Bowen and Gabriola provide sweet options for less daring parents, while Saturna and Thormanby could be great names too. Saturna would for sure end up hula-hooping at a drum circle on the beach during Folk Fest, and I can totally see Thormanby becoming an East Van hipster with a really dope beard, amiright?

 Local mountains are well-loved by Vancouverites and tourists alike, and naming your kid Seymour could make that love even more evident than the 2012 lift pass that’s been left on your jacket so everyone knows that you totally shred. There are also mountains called Bishop and Elsay that are less well known (read: don’t have chair lifts on them) and, of course the famed Unnecessary Mountain, but we at Loose Lips can’t condone naming your child anything with the word “unnecessary” in it.

Vancouver-area lakes like Alice, Goldie, Ivey, Cat, and Ruby offer some great baby girl names while Harrison, Rolley, and Callaghan provide a lil’ masculinity. Once upon a time, the gorgeous Joffre Lake could also have had baby-naming potential, but Game of Thrones ruined that pretty succinctly. Side note: don’t hesitate to break free from my gender norm assumptions and name your babes with no regard whatsoever to the parts they were born with, it’s 2016 people.  

For those with Neighbourhood Pride

In a place that was “founded and settled” (aka stolen and named) by old white dudes from across the pond, you can pretty much count on an overindulgent amount of Anglo name inspiration. We’ve got King Edward, Lord Stanley, the Earl of Granville, Admiral George Hastings, John Robson, Henry Cambie, Simon Fraser, and about a million more.

Since I married a Brit and our impending offspring will have his surname, I think we’ll steer clear of naming our baby something additionally English, but if you want to pay homage to our self-professed founding forefathers, you can always just choose one of the street names in your favourite neighbourhood. East Van enthusiasts could use Fraser, Joyce, Rupert, Windsor, Clark, Sophia, or Riley. Downtown dwellers can choose from Georgia, Nelson, Keefer, Davie, or Nicola. Fans of Kits are out of luck as most of their neighbourhood streets are named for English battles or trees, but they could try something yoga-, coffee-, or donut-inspired, as those seem to be pretty well-loved activities around West 4th these days (baby Semperviva, anyone?).

For the Culinary Aficionado

We’ve established that there are plenty of male names to choose from in our fine city, but luckily, a few local brewers have evened out the scales by naming a ton of their beers for the gals. Strange Fellows has named some of their tastiest sours after old ladies’ names, Deloris and Roxanne (though it should be noted that the beer’s full name is Deloris the Tart), while Four Winds’ Phaedra offers a more whimsical appellation. Driftwood’s (Naughty) Hildegard pays homage to a Benedictine nun who was allegedly the first to acknowledge hops as a preservative, while Brassneck’s GingerBelle would provide a very pretty name for a local Southern sophisticate.

 Earnest Ice Cream enthusiasts could easily come up with some simple girls names as well, should they want to subtly commemorate their favourite flavours — perhaps Cara, Hazel, or Poppy if you’re a fan of their signature salted caramel, whiskey hazelnut, or lemon poppyseed? Or how about just Coco? You can also drop all subtlety and just name the kid Ernest. No one will even judge you ‘cause Vancouverites know that their ice cream is just that good.

 Still Looking?

If none of the above options struck your fancy, I’ve got just a few more suggestions up my sleeve. There’s always the inspiration of local celebrities, though I’m not sure we have many – there’s Gregor (the mayor), Finn (the Canucks mascot), and maybe Emery (our resident “Prince of Pot”). For all the Aritzia girls who want to wear forever their support of the brand that started here in the mid-80s, the names Wilfred and Talulah could be considerations. “Vansterdam” enthusiasts could name their kids Indica, Sativa, or simply Bud, but no good can come of this. I could suggest some beautiful First Nations-inspired names to pay tribute to Vancouver’s OG inhabitants but as we well know, the line between respectfully honouring and thoughtlessly appropriating can easily be misinterpreted, so I will thoughtfully decline.

 Did I miss any? Add to the list in the comments below!




Jess is a writer, new bride, and expectant mama who lives and loves in Yeast Van. She enjoys good cider, bad tattoos, and expensive yarn.