Addicted to novelty since 2001

Nicknames for Canadian Towns

A friend of a friend needs help with a project:

I need help from those from away. I’m researching nicknames for canadian towns (e.g. Vancouver=Vansterdam,etc.; toronto=t.dot; Winnipeg=the ‘Peg). I’ve got a pretty good list, but it has holes. Can you scan the list and fill in if you’ve lived there or have connections there?

I’ve never heard anybody call Vancouver ‘Vansterdam’ nor Toronto “t.dot”, but maybe I’m not discussing Canadian urban geography with the right people. I’ve put the list of towns that she’s still seeking nicknames for after the jump. If the list ever makes it online, I’ll reference it.

Victoria
Kitimat
Prince Rupert
Nanaimo
Red Deer
Lethbridge
Banff/Canmore
Moose Jaw
Weyburn
Lloydminster
Flin Flon
Churchill
Portage la Prairie
Brandon
Selkirk
Thunder Bay
Sudbury
Windsor
London
Niagra Falls or On the Lake
Sarnia
Montreal
Quebec C.
Trois Rivieres
Chicoutimi
Shawinigan
Sherbrooke
Drummondville
Gatineau/Hull
Labrador City
Terrebonne
Saguenay
Moncton
St. John
Fredericton
Bathurst
Edmunston
Miramichi
Truro
Yarmouth
Annapolis Royal
Sackville
Happy Valley
Churchill Falls
St. John’s
Gander
Corner Brook
Mount Pearl
Whitehorse
Dawson City
Yellowknife
Hay River
Fort Smith
Tuktuyuktuk
Inuvik
Iqaluit
Rankin Inlet
Baker Lake
Spence Bay

107 Responses to “Nicknames for Canadian Towns”

  1. Andrea

    Nanaimo is the Harbour City or the Hub City, depending on your allegiances to scenery and transportation/shopping.

    erik Reply:

    we called it “le naims” back in high school

  2. Jeff

    Moose Jaw = Moose Lips
    (I don’t live there, but I speak with people in that town daily on the phone and often it is called that.

    2 Other Saskatchewan towns slang names:

    Saskatoon = Toon-Town, Saska-Bush, hub-city, river-city

    Swift Current = Speedy Creek

  3. gill

    I’ve got my mom asking about Kitimat, since she lives there… The only thing she could think of was that the odd person has called it “Old Snowy”, in regards to the town name meaning “The Town of the Snows”, or something like that.

    I sometimes refer to the place as “The Mat”, but I’m a non-resident who just goes there for Christmas. There may be some nickname in reference to Alcan Aluminum, the company that pretty much built the town 50-something years ago.

    If I hear anything, I’ll let you know.

  4. Martine

    Quebec City is “La Vieille Capitale”. Kind of boring, but that’s what they call it.

    Montreal is “La Métropole”.

  5. Darren

    Gill: I have a friend, a former Kitimat resident, who refers to it only as Shitimat. I’ve never been there myself, so I can’t speak to the veracity of that nickname.

  6. Richard

    You’ve never heard anybody call Toronto T-dot? You haven’t listened to a lot of Canadian rap music, have you?

    Also, I’ve heard Vancouver called “Hongcouver”.

  7. Cameron Bahan

    I can only really remember Victoria being referenced as “Vic”, Vancouver managed the non-politically (and slightly racist) nic of Hongcouver due to the significant Asian population growth over the last few years. And growing up in Revelstoke we typically referred to it as “the hole” … but I suppose that is the case of many small interior cities, so lets go with ‘Stoke.

    This is a good idea, makes for an interesting read!

  8. alexis

    Lloydminster is known as “Lloyd” or the “Border City.” I hate Lloyd. It’s a total hole.

  9. Chris

    Vansterdam is definitely in use. Google returns over 1600 hits. I’ve used it myself (not in casual conversation), and read it in news briefs.

    I don’t find Hongcouver particularly racist (disclaimer – I am not asian). It’s not like there’s an ethnic slur in there, or anything condescending. In the late 1990’s there was a huge influx of people from, you guessed it, Hong Kong. I’ve used Hongcouver before, and did not mean it in a derogitory way.

    Kitimat – yeah, I’ve heard Shitimat before. I went to high school in the nearest town to Kitimat. In high school, we usually called it some variant of “Horse-Fucker Central”, as there were a few incidents of people getting arrested for getting too friendly with their equine friends.

    Toronto – I’ve heard T-Dot a lot, and I don’t listen to canadian rap. Also, “Center of the Universe” gets brought up a lot.

    Prince Rupert – I know a few people from there, and have been there many times. Everyone I know just calls it “Rupert”.

    St. John’s / Mount Pearl – On Newfoundland TV/Radio, if you hear the term “Twin Cities”, it’s not referring to Minneapolis / St. Paul.

    Windsor – I’ve heard it referred to as “Detroit Junior” once or twice.

  10. Shane

    BC –
    Victoria (Vic, City of the Not-Quite-Dead)
    Vancouver (The Big Smoke)

    Sask –
    Saskatoon (S’toon,
    Moose Jaw (The Hole, The Jaw, MooseJavia, 45 Minutes or 45)
    Regina (The Queen City)

  11. 'nee

    When I was little I couldn’t believe that they’d actually named a town “Regina.” I mean, didn’t they know that it sounded exactly like “vagina”?!? Seven-year-old me couldn’t believe it. Thanks to seven-year-old me, I still can’t hear “Regina” without giggling. Thanks, me.

    Also, everybody who lives in Victoria knows Vancouver as “the mainland.”

    Taranna, “the GTA” to locals
    Snottawa, “the capital region” to locals.

  12. NorthVanDan

    Vancouver = Terminal City
    Vancouver = Lotusland
    Vancouver = VanCity

  13. 'nee

    … that list reads like a Tragically Hip album crossed with a Stompin’ Tom’s entire repetoir.

  14. Mista Bastard

    Although Regina is commonly referred to as the Queen City, I prefer to call it “The City That Rhymes With Fun”…

  15. Andrea

    Nanaimochuk? My family has lived there since the 1800s and I’ve never heard that term.

    I do often wonder why The Vancouver Sun refers to a combination of white shirt, white pants, white belt, white shoes as a “Full Nanaimo”, though. Is it something to do with lawnbowling seniors? (Oddly enough, Google returns just 8 results…on sites for theatrical terms, Wil Wheaton’s homepage, and a few forums.)

  16. Rebecca

    Sudbury – The Big Nickle
    Hamilton – Steeltown
    Sault Ste. Marie – The Soo

    I’ve also heard Halifax called “The ‘Fax”

  17. alexis

    Since someone is talking about Regina, I thought I should mention “Vagina, snaskatchewan.”

  18. Sue

    I concur with “Vic” for Victoria, although it’s also been called “Home of the Newly Wed and Nearly Dead” and “Behind The Tweed Curtain” (for Oak Bay, specifically).

    What an amusing project.

  19. Adriana

    I’ve seen and frequently use “Vic” and “Van”.

    Up north you’ve got ‘Rupert (already mentioned) and Charlotte (aka Queen Charlotte City – a village). Prince George is PG.

    You’ve got “Winterpeg”, or “the ‘Peg “in Manitoba
    and I’ve heard Toronto referred to as “T dot” as well “TO” (said T-oh).

  20. bree

    Don’t forget “the Wet Coast” when referring to either Van or Vic. Also: just as Van is referred to as “the mainland” in Vic, Vic is referred to as “the Island” in Van. Victoria news outlets also frequently use “the capital city” or “capital region” when talking about their city.

  21. Cheryl

    We refer to Nanaimo as “The Naimo” but I think that is just a family in-joke.

  22. Ian King

    Don’t forget “Cowgary” for Calgary, and “Deadmonton” or (as rightwingers tend to dismiss it) “Redmonton.” Red Deer sometimes gets the tag “Red Neck Deer.”

    As far as I know, I’ve only ever heard Prince Rupert referred to as “Rupert,” while Prince George gets “Prince.” Up there, you can refer to Vancouver as “Van” tout court, although that would get you run out of town down here.

    I remember “Hongcouver” from the early ’90’s at the height of the HK-to-Vancouver exodus, but that seems to have faded. Around the same time, the joke was that UBC stood for “University of a Billion Chinese.”

    And who could forget the Vancouver suburb of Slurrey? Local bus drivers used to grrumble about the curbs in Ditchmond until Richmond covered ’em all up. Torontonians, though, could turn their noses up at Scarberia until they got merged together.

    On the other hand, if you’re in Kitwancool, who needs a nickname?

    brett streeper Reply:

    Calgary is more commonly called “cowtown” by any of us in the area. also, edmonton is often called “e-town”. Ive heard and called toronto “t.o” but im not sure if it is at all common on the east coast

  23. Mike

    I’ve seen and used Monkeytown for Moncton. Despite having attended UNB Fredericton for 5 years, I never heard any nicknames for that city, although “we” did sometimes call it “Land of the Swivel Servants”.

    Truro has a big sign on the highway nearby saying “The Hub of Nova Scotia” – at least a few residents call it “The Armpit of Nova Scotia”.

  24. Mimi

    Fredericton = Freddiville

    St. John = the arm pit of New Brunswick (Irving refinery, though Nackawick also has a running start for that name (pulp and paper mill))

    Moncton’s tidal bore is called The total bore since they put the causeway up. (But I don’t think you’re looking for that.)

  25. Mimi

    Small correction – Saint John, NB is actually spelled out, not abbreviated … my friends from Saint John are very touchy about that

  26. Liz

    St. John’s is known as Sin John’s.
    There’s a request also for Mount Pearl, but I’ve never heard a nickname for it, but anyone who isn’t a townie may remember that Paradise was also called Donovan’s and St. Thomas’ Line was called the Line. (I know neither Paradise nor St. Thomas’ Line are on the list, but …)

    I’ve also heard Toronto called Hog Town, and Calgary called Cow Town.

    Shawinigan has also been called Shagginwagon.

  27. gwendolyn

    As a new transplant to Alberta, I’m not sure how much these terms are used, however, people here appear to call Lethbridge, “the Bridge” or L.A. (I didn’t ask.) and Edmonton is “the Ditch.”

  28. whozzat

    Lethbridge = Windy city
    Medicine Hat = the Hat, Gastown (the gassy city if you’re feeling a bit caustic)
    Edmonton = Edmonchuck
    Red Deer = Dead Beer

  29. Chris

    Halifax = Halfalax, The Fax, Hali-wood, Hali

    Dartmouth = The Darkside

    Sackville = Sucksville

    Port hawkesbury = the Hawk

    Sydney = The Tar Pond

  30. M.

    Toronto–T.O.
    And I once heard someone who’d been born in West Van refer to North Van as Surrey on a Slope.

  31. john

    Brandon = Wheat City
    Portage la Prarie = plap (yes pronounce it the way it is written)

    there is also a small town in MB that is called Gladstone that a lot of ppl refer to as Happy Rock. and yes they have a big rock with a smily face painted on it.

    I’ll also second the vote for Toronto being called T-oh. I never heard it called t-dot, but I guess that must be a more recent thing.

  32. robyn

    Vancouver = The ‘couv
    Edmonton = E-town
    Toronto = T-Oh

  33. cee

    Didn’t “Vansterdam” as a pejorative for Vancouver come from members of the Bush Administration, particularly their so-called drug Czar, all of whom were more than a little upset, to say the least, by the inauguration of Vancouver’s safe injection site?

  34. Richard

    Swift Current Saskatchewan is ”
    Speedy Creek”. Saskatoon is “Saskabush” Edmonton is Edmonchuck. Winnipeg is Winterpeg.Red Deer is Dead Rear.Portage la Prairie is PLAP.

  35. brent

    Miramichi New Brunswick is known as “The Chi”

  36. Sam

    Some additional votes:
    Moose Jaw – The Jaw
    Regina – The Queen City
    Saskatoon – Stoon
    Sudbury – Sudsbury
    Niagara Falls – The Falls
    Niagara On The Lake – N.O.T.L.
    Winnipeg – The Peg, Winterpeg, The Windy City
    Toronto – T., TO, Hogtown, The Center Of Canada

  37. Corey

    Fredericton – Freddie Beach
    Saint John – Port City
    Halifax – Hali

  38. Copycat

    To the person who said
    “The ‘Naimo” I don’t think this is just your family that used that term! My family did the same.

    Living in Vancouver I have heard many nicknames:

    Vangroovy (terrible nic)
    Vancity
    Van-citz
    Hongcouver
    Lotus Land
    Terminal City (eg Terminal City Club)

    Many people on the mainland call the island “The Rock”

    Many people on the coast in general call Calgary “Cow-Gallery” as it is most definitely a gallery of cows.

    Living in victoria I have heard it being called:

    Hick-toria
    Victizzle
    Vic
    Bikutoria (named for the multitude of Japanese tourists in the summer)

  39. sarah

    Halifax: along with the ones from above, ” Halifornia” is also common

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