Canada is a beautiful country with natural landscapes and unique traditions. Did you know that it’s common for Canadians to have two surnames? Canadian last names are mostly of European origin. This is because the ethnicity and culture of Canada are huge. During the colonization in the 18th century, the country witnessed high immigration, and most of these immigrants were from Europe, especially France (1). This is the reason most Canadian last names have French roots. Canadian names follow the structure consisting of a first name, a middle name, and a surname. Our list features unique surnames that are both meaningful and powerful. They are diverse, and we hope that these names and their significance resonate with you. Explore our list of the popular Canadian surnames with history and meanings. We hope you find the perfect pick for yourself or your loved one.
Popular Canadian Surnames Or Last Names
It is a variant of the Scottish patronymic surname “MacAdam,” meaning “son of Adam.” Although common to England, this surname is quite popular around the world.
The surname Allen is said to have derived from the Celtic word Ailin meaning “little rock.” Allen is also common in England, Scotland, and Wales. It is also the variant of the surname MacAllen.
The Greek origin surname is said to have derived from the Greek name “Andreas.” It means “manly” and “son of Andrew.”
Armstrong is a patronymic Scottish surname, meaning “son of a strong man.”
Of Old English origin, the occupational surname baker means “earner of the bread.”
It is a common surname among fishermen, and was derived from the French word “barbel” meaning “fish.”
“Beau” in French means “fair.” Itis a habitational name for someone “living near a lovely place.”
The popular Canadian name of French origin means “beautiful or divine anger.”
The surname Bell is said to have many origins. It is said to be a topographic name for those living by a bell or an occupational name to bell-makers.
Bennett is a surname of English origin, meaning “blessed.”
Derived from the French word “Berger,”this surname means “shepherd.” The root word “Berg” also means “mountain” in Old German.
The French surname Bernier is an occupational meaning “huntsman.” It also has its origin in English, meaning “son of Bernier.”
“Bouche” in French means “big mouth,”thus giving this expressive name a meaning “someone with a big mouth.” The surname Bouchard also has Norman origins with a German touch as Bourgh means “fort” and heard means “brave.”
The French origin name means “butcher.”
The English origin descriptive name refers to a person with “brown hair or complexion.”
Quite a popular surname in Canada. But did you know that Cameron is a Gaelic-derived word meaning “crooked nose?”
The root word “cam” in Gaelic means “crooked” and “bell” means “mouth,”giving this popular surname its meaning “one with a crooked mouth.”
Itis a French habitational name for someone hailing from Cairon in France.
As obvious as it sounds, this French origin surname means “carpenter.”
Correlated to the word Clerk, this Old English surname derived from Latin refers to “scribe” or “secretary.”
It is the Cantonese version of Chen, and means “ancient.”
A common East Asian Surname around the world, Chen, means “ancient.”
In French, “clou” means “nail,” thus giving the meaning of “nailer” to Cloutier.
The British name means “son of Colin,”where Colin is the diminutive form of Nicholas.
As simple as a surname could get, this Old English name means “one who cooks.”
A professional English surname, Cooper, has been derived from the German name Kiefer.
The French habitational surname, Cormier, means “someone living near a sorb tree.”
It is a French topographic name for those “who live near a slope or a riverbed.”
Derived from the Latin name “consutra,” meaning “seam,”this was the family name for “tailors.”
The French name Cyr, inspired by the Latin version “Cyricus,”means “master.” It was a name given to the educated.
Davis is a patronymic surname meaning “son of Davis.” It is said to be the English version of the Welsh surname Dyfed.
The topographic and occupational French origin name means “gardener.”
The surname Dube is of French origin and refers to someone from Douba.
The patronymic surname, Edwards, is of English, Scottish, and Welsh origins, meaning “son of Edward.”
It is the English version of the Welsh origin name meaning “son of Ifan.” Ifan later became the English Evan.
The name Ferguson has Scottish origin meaning “son of Ferguson,”and also means “son of the angry one.”
From the French word “forte” meaning “strong,” this surname finds its root in English and it means “a strong man.”
It is the French surname for “bakers.”
The popular Canadian surname is of Scottish origin and is said to be passed on from the Scottish “Clan Fraser” and “Fraser of Lovat.”
It is a Norman French surname meaning “joke.”
The occupational surname means “farmer” in French. Gagnon is another variant.
Gagnon is a metonymic surname of French origin referring to the powerful dog family “mastiff.”
Composed of German words “to govern” and “armed,”Gauthierwas a surname given to lumberman. It is also a common French surname meaning “forest.”
The habitational surname Gill of Old Norse origin refers to “someone living near a ravine.”
Derived from the German Gerhard, Girard means “brave spear.”
The topographical Old English name refers to someone hailing from Grantham in England.
With origins in Old English, French, and Latin, Grantis a descriptive name referring to a “tall” or “large” individual. Also, it is the anglicized version of the Irish MacGranny.
Of Gaelic origin, the surname Gray is the anglicized version of McGraw or McGrath.
The topographical surname has Old English origin means”one who lives near grasslands.”
It is an occupational Old French surname for “a person working in a mill.”
The popular surname Hall of English and Scottish origin is an occupational surname referring to “someone working in a manor.”
This surname was carried on by the descendants of Hamilton, a town in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. In Old English, Hamilton means “crooked nose.”
This patronymic Irish surname means “son of Harry.”
Derived from the Old Breton name, Harvey means “blazing iron.”It is a name given to warriors. Although popular, this name went off the records in the 12th and 13th centuries but made an indefinite comeback in the 14th.
In French, it means “son of Hubert.” It is also the English version of the German surname Heber.
Thehabitational Old English surname means “one living near a hill.”
A popular surname in Canada, Huppe, is of German origin. It means “the bird.”
Jackson is a popular English origin name in Canada, meaning “son of Jack.”
The name says it all! Jackson meaning “son of Jack” is of Scottish origin.
It is a habitational surname for a person hailing from “St. John’s town.”
Of Welsh origin, Jones is a patronymic surname meaning “son of John.”
It is the English version of the well-known Irish name O’Ceallaigh meaning “descendent of war.” In Gaelic, the word O’ in front of a name meant “male descendent of” whereas Ceallaigh meant “to strife.”
Kennedy, a surname of leaders, is derived from the Gaelic word O’Cinneide or O’Ceanneidigh, meaning ” furious chief.”
The Turkish name Khan, popularized by the ruler Genghis Khan is derived from Khagan, means “ruler.”
The Korean surname Kim means “gold.”
The surname King has been derived from the English word cyning, meaning “tribal leader.”
The English, French, and German origin surname means “bright land.”
Landry has a German etymology. It is derived from the German word with Landric meaning “landlord.”
This common Canadian name has origins in French. The word pointe in French means “point of a lance” and was used as a nickname for soldiers.
Lavoie is a common surname in Canada and France. The surname was used to refer to an “unemployed” person, who “lived by the road.”
The root word “blanc” in French means “white.” Thus, the surname Leblanc says “one with fair complexion.”
It is a French surname meaning “the clerk.”
The surname Lee finds its etymology in the Old English word Leah, meaning “meadow.”
Itis an occupational surname, as “fevre” in Old French means “blacksmith.”
The topographical surname Lessard has been passed on by the localities from the region of Provence, France.
Itis a prestigious Old French origin name. The root word “eveske” means “bishop.”
It is the name of several etymologies. In English, this name is inspired by the Old Norman name Ludovicus meaning “an athletic champion.” The name also has German origins.
The popular Chinese surname Li refers to “someone living near a plum tree.”
Of middle Chinese origin, Lin, the common surname in Canada means “forest.”
The surname Liu of Mandarin origin was carried by the descendants of the Han dynasty. Also, in the Ngoni tribe, it means “voice.”
The Irish and Scottish origin surname means “Son of Domhnall.”
A common surname in most countries is an occupational surname referring to “the marshals.”
The root word “martel” in Old French means “hammer.” Thus, giving this surname a metonymic meaning of “smith.”
Martin, a common primary or surname of Latin origin has been popularized after the Roman God Mars. It is a patronymic name meaning “descendent of Mars.”
It is a Gaelic surname meaning “son of Gilleon.”
It is both an occupational and toponymic surname. The surname Miller has English and Scottish origins, meaning “one who works in a mill” or “one who hails from Glasgow locale.”
Itis a noble surname of French origin, meaning “a Godly or Holy person.” Its origins date back to Languedoc, France, where the Michaud family ruled in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The surname Mitchell has Hebrew origins and is the modern version of Micheal, meaning “son of God.” It also has Middle English and French etymology.
The name has many origins. In Old English, it refers to “someone living near an open land,” while in Gaelic, it finds its root in the word “mordha,” which means “a noble person.”
Derived from the Old French word “morin,” the surname captivates the essence of moor and means “dark and swarthy.”
The patronymic surname means “son of Morris.” It also has origins from the Scottish Clan Morrison.
It is the contemporary Irish name for the Gaelic “O’Murchadha,” meaning “descendent of sea warrior.”
In Scottish, Murray is a habitational name for “someone settled near the sea.” Whereas, in Irish, it means “son of Mary.”
The name means “Christmas” and originated from the Poitou region of France.
It is a baptismal surname of Irish origin, meaning “son of Eleanor.” The name also has Irish origins meaning “son of Niall or Neil.”
The Vietnamese name means “musical instrument.”
Ouellet is a common surname among French Canadians and refers to the “source of spring.”
It is a metonymic name of a “seller” as “paque,” which in Old French meant “parcel.”
The residential English surname means “one who lives near a park.”
The English origin name means “keeper of the park.”
It is a patronymic surname that means “Parson’s son” and an occupational name meaning “Parson’s servant.”
The Indian origin surname means “landlord.”
The common English surname became popular in Britain during the Norman conquest of England. In French origin, it means “countrymen.”
The root word “Pellet” in French means “skin,” thus giving this surname an occupational meaning “fur trader.”
The Dutch origin name means “Peter’s son.” It also has Latin origins where the root word “petras” means “stones.”
Poirier is a French habitational surname referring to someone “living near a pear tree.”
Composed of the French element “poul” meaning “chicken,”Poulinis a metonymic occupational name for an “animal breeder.”
Taken from the Welsh, the English name means “son of Hywel.”
Reid is a descriptive surname of Scottish origin referring to a person “with red hair.”
Derived from the native German word, Reginald, this surname means “powerful ruler.”
The French name Richard has origins in two German words “ric” and “hard,” meaning ‘powerful” and “brave.”
It is a common German origin name derived from the ancient version Hrodebert that means”brave.”
The patronymic Scottish surname means “son of Robert.”
It means “son of Robin,” where Robin means “bright” in Old English.
The Irish name, Rogen, means ‘a red-haired person.”
Ross has both Gaelic and German origins. In Gaelic, it typically refers to “promontory” while in German, it means “a horse.”
Common to England, France, Bengal, and Scotland, the surname Roy means “king” and has Old Norman origins.
The Anglo-Norman surname Russell means “red” and used to refer to someone with “red hair.”
Derived from the Latin word sartor, this French surname means “tailor.”
The name Scott means “wanderer.”
Derived from French, the occupational surname means “blacksmith.”
It is a habitational Old English name given to people “living near the woods.”
Of German origin, Simard means “famous victory.”
It is a patronymic English and Scottish surname meaning “son of Simon.”
The name Singh means “lion” in Farsi and is a metonymic name for “brave.”
The Old English surname refers to “blacksmith.”
It is a habitational name for the descendants from the region of St.Jean in France or Belgium.
Derived from the Old German word stigeweard, Stewart refers to the “guardian of a house or Steward.”
The French origin name means “one who stitches clothes.”
The French surname of Germanic origin means “bold people.”
It means”son of Thomas,” and is also a popular surname in England, Germany, and the Netherlands.
It is a patronymic British name meaning “son of Thomas.”
Tous meaning “all,” this surname of French origin was used to name a child born on All Saints Day.
Also written as Tremblay, the surname is of French origin, referring to someone living near an Aspen tree.
Of English and French origins, Turner means “one who works with the lathe.”
The root word being ”urban,” Urbain is a habitational French surname referring to a person “from a city.”
The French origin name originated from the regions of Lorraine, Northern France. It is a topographic name meaning “low-lying farms.”
Van is more of a prefix for surnames in Dutch but used as a surname in Canada. It means “from” and is placed before the native habitational surname.
The surname means “new settlement” in French and was common among new settlers in a place.
The surname has English, Scottish, and German etymology. It was an occupational surname given to “forest guard or inspector.”
The surname Walsh originated after the Norman invasion of Ireland. It means “Briton” or “foreigner,” and is given to the soldiers who were brought by Britain.
It is a surname of rulers as in Old Chinese Wang, it meant “king.”
It is an Old English and Old Gaelic surname, given to the “keeper of the gates” or “guardian.”
The popular surname means “son of Walter.”
The English surname was given to a person “with white complexion.”
The surname Williams originated in England, France, and Italy. It is a patronymic name meaning “descendent of William.”
“Wil” means “desire” in English and Scottish. This name also means “son of William.”
The popular English and Scottish habitational name refers to someone ‘living near the forest or wood.”
The surname Young originated to distinguish the younger progeny of a family. It is also the anglicized version of the French name Dion.
It is a surname for warriors, as it means “archer” in Chinese.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do last names work in Canada?
Canadian last names are patrilineal, meaning children inherit their father’s last name. Some parents might choose to continue with their mother and father’s last names. In such cases, the last names are separated with a hyphen.
2. Can I give my baby a different last name in Canada?
Yes, Canadians may choose a surname for their baby entirely different from theirs (2). As long as the name is registered and approved by the parents, it is acceptable.
Most common Canadian last names are of European origin since many people migrated to Canada from Europe long ago. The last name is usually taken from either one parent or both, joined by a hyphen. Women can also retain their surname after marriage, and it is not a common practice or mandatory to adopt the husband’s surname. Canadians have given names, and last and middle names are not often used. However, it is purely a personal choice. Last names with individual titles are used to address someone in Canada formally. However, given names are used for informal purposes.
Infographic: Habitational Canadian Surnames
Being the second-largest country in the world, Canada is widely extended into ten provinces and three territories. Therefore, the best way to identify a person’s origin is to look up their habitational surname. Check out the infographic below to discover some surnames that reflect their origin.
2. Rules for choosing a surname; Health and Social Services.