ABC’s of Scottish place names in North America

Sometimes our ties to Scotland are very noticeable. Place names around Nova Scotia (ahem, Latin for New Scotland) honoured homes of the Gaels who crossed the ocean centuries ago. We have our Aberdeen and New Aberdeen, Barra Glen and Skye Glen, Iona and Inverness.

What happened here in Nova Scotia, also happened across North America, as the Scots first immigrated, then migrated across the continent. These place names are so much a part of our North American culture, we don’t always recognize that they are Scottish in origin. There are Scottish named counties, towns and some of North America’s biggest cities.

So here’s a challenge – can you name a Scottish place name in North America – one for each letter of the alphabet?  I’ll start with a few obvious and not-so-obvious Scottish place names….

Aberdeen – There are two on Cape Breton Island – Aberdeen in Inverness County and New Aberdeen near Glace Bay. Communities named Aberdeen are found in Saskatchewan and in 14 US states.

Banff, Alberta was named in 1884 by the president of the Canadian Pacific Railway George Stephen. He was born in Banffshire, Scotland.

Calgary, Alberta was named by Col. James MacLeod to honour a place near Mull, Scotland. The name is based on the Gaelic words cala-gherraidh, which refers to a farm near the water. More information can be found here.

So here is an A(berdeen), B(anff), C(algary) of Scottish place names. Can you find the more North American Scottish-named places?

If you can find a Scottish place name for each letter of the alphabet, email me at I will include the selections in a later post.

(Photo Credit: Leah Noble)

ABC’s of Scottish place names in North America

Look out for our Experiences Map, available Island-wide

Our Celtic experience partners