150 Common Canadian Last Names Or Surnames, With Meanings

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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.

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Popular Canadian Surnames Or Last Names

1. Adams

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.

2. Allen

Allen is a Canadian last name meaning little rock
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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. Genealogy researcher Daniel started ‘The Allen Project’ to trace the surname in the Colwell region of England in 2016. He says in his blog, “I began ‘The Allen Project’ in 2016 with the aim of sharing information about the Allen family of Colwall, England, and its many branches. My late grandmother was born in Colwall in 1917, and all her male-line ancestors from the 17th century onward were born in the same village.”

Sharing a chart with his family line, Daniel further adds, “My direct relationship to my first ancestor on the Allen line, Richard Allen (born circa 1651, possibly in Colwall), covers ten generations… Richard Allen’s origins are, as yet, obscure, but one of his sons is described as a ‘Gentleman’ on the latter’s grave headstone, so Richard’s social standing may well have been similar (i).”

3. Anderson

The Greek origin surname is said to have derived from the Greek name “Andreas.” It means “manly” and “son of Andrew.”

4. Armstrong

Armstrong is a patronymic Scottish surname, meaning “son of a strong man.”

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The first mention of this surname dates back to 1223 in Ousby, Cumberland. When the first Armstrong or his father were born, presumably between 1135 and 1157, the region was regarded as Scottish (4). The P-Celtic form, an indigenous language, was used to create the adjective “Arm Strong.”

5. Baker

Of Old English origin, the occupational surname baker means “earner of the bread.”

6. Barbeau

It is a common surname among fishermen, and was derived from the French word “barbel” meaning “fish.”

7. Beaulieu

Beau” in French means “fair.” Itis a habitational name for someone “living near a lovely place.”

8. Belanger

The popular Canadian name of French origin means “beautiful or divine anger.”

9. Bell

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.

10. Bennett

Bennett is a surname of English origin, meaning “blessed.”

11. Bergeron

Derived from the French word “Berger,”this surname means “shepherd.” The root word “Berg” also means “mountain” in Old German.

12. Bernier

The French surname Bernier is an occupational meaning “huntsman.” It also has its origin in English, meaning “son of Bernier.”

13. Bouchard

“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.”

14. Boucher

The French origin name means “butcher.”

15. Brown

The English origin descriptive name refers to a person with “brown hair or complexion.”

16. Cameron

Quite a popular surname in Canada. But did you know that Cameron is a Gaelic-derived word meaning “crooked nose?”

17. Campbell

The root word “cam” in Gaelic means “crooked” and “bell” means “mouth,”giving this popular surname its meaning “one with a crooked mouth.”

18. Caron

Itis a French habitational name for someone hailing from Cairon in France.

19. Charpentier

As obvious as it sounds, this French origin surname means “carpenter.”

20. Clark

Correlated to the word Clerk, this Old English surname derived from Latin refers to “scribe” or “secretary.”

21. Chan

It is the Cantonese version of Chen, and means “ancient.”

22. Chen

A common East Asian Surname around the world, Chen, means “ancient.”

23. Cloutier

In French, “clou” means “nail,” thus giving the meaning of “nailer” to Cloutier.

24. Collins

The British name means “son of Colin,”where Colin is the diminutive form of Nicholas.

25. Cook

As simple as a surname could get, this Old English name means “one who cooks.”

26. Cooper

A professional English surname, Cooper, has been derived from the German name Kiefer.

27. Cormier

The French habitational surname, Cormier, means “someone living near a sorb tree.”

28. Cote

It is a French topographic name for those “who live near a slope or a riverbed.”

29. Couture

Derived from the Latin name “consutra,” meaning “seam,”this was the family name for “tailors.”

30. Cyr

The French name Cyr, inspired by the Latin version “Cyricus,”means “master.” It was a name given to the educated.

31. Davis

Davis is a patronymic surname meaning “son of Davis.” It is said to be the English version of the Welsh surname Dyfed.

32. Desjardins

Desjardins is of French origin and means gardener
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The topographic and occupational French origin name means “gardener.”

33. Dube

The surname Dube is of French origin and refers to someone from Douba.

34. Edwards

The patronymic surname, Edwards, is of English, Scottish, and Welsh origins, meaning “son of Edward.”

35. Evans

It is the English version of the Welsh origin name meaning “son of Ifan.” Ifan later became the English Evan.

36. Ferguson

The name Ferguson has Scottish origin meaning “son of Ferguson,”and also means “son of the angry one.”

37. Fortin

From the French word “forte” meaning “strong,” this surname finds its root in English and it means “a strong man.”

38. Fournier

It is the French surname for “bakers.”

39. Fraser

The popular Canadian surname is of Scottish origin and is said to be passed on from the Scottish “Clan Fraser” and “Fraser of Lovat.”

40. Gaboury

It is a Norman French surname meaning “joke.”

41. Gagne

The occupational surname means “farmer” in French. Gagnon is another variant.

42. Gagnon

Gagnon is a metonymic surname of French origin referring to the powerful dog family “mastiff.”

43. Gauthier

Composed of German words “to govern” and “armed,”Gauthierwas a surname given to lumberman. It is also a common French surname meaning “forest.”

44. Gill

The habitational surname Gill of Old Norse origin refers to “someone living near a ravine.”

45. Girard

Derived from the German Gerhard, Girard means “brave spear.”

46. Graham

The topographical Old English name refers to someone hailing from Grantham in England.

47. Grant

Lefebre is a Canadian last name meaning blacksmith
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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.

48. Gray

Of Gaelic origin, the surname Gray is the anglicized version of McGraw or McGrath.

49. Green

The topographical surname has Old English origin means”one who lives near grasslands.”

50. Grenier

It is an occupational Old French surname for “a person working in a mill.”

51. Hall

The popular surname Hall of English and Scottish origin is an occupational surname referring to “someone working in a manor.”

52. Hamilton

This surname was carried on by the descendants of Hamilton, a town in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. In Old English, Hamilton means “crooked nose.”

53. Harris

This patronymic Irish surname means “son of Harry.”

54. Harvey

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.

55. Hebert

In French, it means “son of Hubert.” It is also the English version of the German surname Heber.

56. Hill

Thehabitational Old English surname means “one living near a hill.”

57. Huppe

A popular surname in Canada, Huppe, is of German origin. It means “the bird.”

58. Jackson

Jackson is a popular English origin name in Canada, meaning “son of Jack.”

59. Johnson

The name says it all! Jackson meaning “son of Jack” is of Scottish origin.

60. Johnstone

It is a habitational surname for a person hailing from “St. John’s town.”

61. Jones

Of Welsh origin, Jones is a patronymic surname meaning “son of John.”

62. Kelly

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.”

63. Kennedy

Kennedy, a surname of leaders, is derived from the Gaelic word O’Cinneide or O’Ceanneidigh, meaning ” furious chief.”

64. Khan

The Turkish name Khan, popularized by the ruler Genghis Khan is derived from Khagan, means “ruler.”

65. Kim

The Korean surname Kim means “gold.”

66. King

The surname King has been derived from the English word cyning, meaning “tribal leader.”

67. Lambert

The English, French, and German origin surname means “bright land.”

68. Landry

Landry has a German etymology. It is derived from the German word with Landric meaning “landlord.”

69. Lapointe

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.

70. Lavoie

Lavoie is a common surname in Canada and France. The surname was used to refer to an “unemployed” person, who “lived by the road.”

71. Leblanc

The root word “blanc” in French means “white.” Thus, the surname Leblanc says “one with fair complexion.”

72. Leclerc

It is a French surname meaning “the clerk.”

73. Lee

The surname Lee finds its etymology in the Old English word Leah, meaning “meadow.”

74. Lefebre

Itis an occupational surname, as “fevre” in Old French means “blacksmith.”

75. Lessard

The topographical surname Lessard has been passed on by the localities from the region of Provence, France.

76. Levesque

Itis a prestigious Old French origin name. The root word “eveske” means “bishop.”

77. Lewis

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.

78. Li

The popular Chinese surname Li refers to “someone living near a plum tree.”

79. Lin

Of middle Chinese origin, Lin, the common surname in Canada means “forest.”

80. Liu

The surname Liu of Mandarin origin was carried by the descendants of the Han dynasty. Also, in the Ngoni tribe, it means “voice.”

81. Macdonald

The Irish and Scottish origin surname means “Son of Domhnall.”

82. Marshall

A common surname in most countries is an occupational surname referring to “the marshals.”

83. Martel

The root word “martel” in Old French means “hammer.” Thus, giving this surname a metonymic meaning of “smith.”

84. Martin

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.”

85. McLean

It is a Gaelic surname meaning “son of Gilleon.”

86. Miller

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.”

87. Michaud

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.

88. Mitchell

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.

89. Moore

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.”

90. Morin

Derived from the Old French word “morin,” the surname captivates the essence of moor and means “dark and swarthy.”

91. Morrison

The patronymic surname means “son of Morris.” It also has origins from the Scottish Clan Morrison.

92. Murphy

It is the contemporary Irish name for the Gaelic “O’Murchadha,” meaning “descendent of sea warrior.”

93. Murray

In Scottish, Murray is a habitational name for “someone settled near the sea.” Whereas, in Irish, it means “son of Mary.”

94. Nadeau

The name means “Christmas” and originated from the Poitou region of France.

95. Nelson

It is a baptismal surname of Irish origin, meaning “son of Eleanor.” The name also has Irish origins meaning “son of Niall or Neil.”

96. Nguyen

The Vietnamese name means “musical instrument.”

97. Ouellet

Ouellet is a common surname among French Canadians and refers to the “source of spring.”

98. Paquette

It is a metonymic name of a “seller” as “paque,” which in Old French meant “parcel.”

99. Park

The residential English surname means “one who lives near a park.”

100. Parker

The English origin name means “keeper of the park.”

101. Parsons

It is a patronymic surname that means “Parson’s son” and an occupational name meaning “Parson’s servant.”

102. Patel

The Indian origin surname means “landlord.”

103. Payne

The common English surname became popular in Britain during the Norman conquest of England. In French origin, it means “countrymen.”

104. Pelletier

The root word “Pellet” in French means “skin,” thus giving this surname an occupational meaning “fur trader.”

105. Peters

The Dutch origin name means “Peter‘s son.” It also has Latin origins where the root word “petras” means “stones.”

106. Poirier

Poirier is a French habitational surname referring to someone “living near a pear tree.”

107. Poulin

Composed of the French element “poul” meaning “chicken,”Poulinis a metonymic occupational name for an “animal breeder.”

108. Powell

Taken from the Welsh, the English name means “son of Hywel.”

109. Reid

Reid is a descriptive surname of Scottish origin referring to a person “with red hair.”

110. Reynolds

Derived from the native German word, Reginald, this surname means “powerful ruler.”

111. Richard

The French name Richard has origins in two German words “ric” and “hard,” meaning ‘powerful” and “brave.”

112. Roberts

It is a common German origin name derived from the ancient version Hrodebert that means”brave.”

113. Robertson

The patronymic Scottish surname means “son of Robert.”

114. Robinson

It means “son of Robin,” where Robin means “bright” in Old English.

115. Rogen

Rogen means a person with red hair
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The Irish name, Rogen, means ‘a red-haired person.”

116. Ross

Ross has both Gaelic and German origins. In Gaelic, it typically refers to “promontory” while in German, it means “a horse.”

117. Roy

Common to England, France, Bengal, and Scotland, the surname Roy means “king” and has Old Norman origins.

118. Russell

The Anglo-Norman surname Russell means “red” and used to refer to someone with “red hair.”

119. Sartre

Derived from the Latin word sartor, this French surname means “tailor.”

120. Scott

The name Scott means “wanderer.”

121. Serrurier

Derived from French, the occupational surname means “blacksmith.”

122. Shaw

It is a habitational Old English name given to people “living near the woods.”

123. Simard

Of German origin, Simard means “famous victory.”

124. Simpson

It is a patronymic English and Scottish surname meaning “son of Simon.”

125. Singh

The name Singh means “lion” in Farsi and is a metonymic name for “brave.”

126. Smith

The Old English surname refers to “blacksmith.”

127. St.Jean

It is a habitational name for the descendants from the region of St.Jean in France or Belgium.

128. Stewart

Derived from the Old German word stigeweard, Stewart refers to the “guardian of a house or Steward.”

129. Taylor

The French origin name means “one who stitches clothes.”

130. Thibault

The French surname of Germanic origin means “bold people.”

131. Thomas

It means”son of Thomas,” and is also a popular surname in England, Germany, and the Netherlands.

132. Thompson

It is a patronymic British name meaning “son of Thomas.”

133. Toussaint

Tous meaning “all,” this surname of French origin was used to name a child born on All Saints Day.

134. Trembley

Also written as Tremblay, the surname is of French origin, referring to someone living near an Aspen tree.

135. Turner

Of English and French origins, Turner means “one who works with the lathe.”

136. Urbain

The root word being ”urban,” Urbain is a habitational French surname referring to a person “from a city.”

137. Vaillancourt

The French origin name originated from the regions of Lorraine, Northern France. It is a topographic name meaning “low-lying farms.”

138. Van

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.

139. Villeneuve

The surname means “new settlement” in French and was common among new settlers in a place.

140. Walker

The surname has English, Scottish, and German etymology. It was an occupational surname given to “forest guard or inspector.”

141. Walsh

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.

142. Wang

It is a surname of rulers as in Old Chinese Wang, it meant “king.”

protip_icon Trivia
Wang is not only one of the most common surnames in Canada but also one of the most popular worldwide. The surname Wang, which means “prince or king” in Mandarin, is borne by over 106 million individuals (3).

143. Ward

It is an Old English and Old Gaelic surname, given to the “keeper of the gates” or “guardian.”

144. Watson

The popular surname means “son of Walter.”

145. White

The English surname was given to a person “with white complexion.”

146. Williams

The surname Williams originated in England, France, and Italy. It is a patronymic name meaning “descendent of William.”

147. Wilson

“Wil” means “desire” in English and Scottish. This name also means “son of William.”

148. Wood

Wood used to be the surname of people living near the forest
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The popular English and Scottish habitational name refers to someone ‘living near the forest or wood.”

149. Young

The surname Young originated to distinguish the younger progeny of a family. It is also the anglicized version of the French name Dion.

150. Zhang

It is a surname for warriors, as it means “archer” in Chinese.

Discover More Names

When you have to choose a name for your baby, a few hundreds of names may not be just enough. Keep digging our mine of baby names until you find that one precious gem.

canadian last names_illustration

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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.

3. How have Canadian last names changed over time?

Canadian last names have gradually changed due to immigration, intermarriage, cultural assimilation, and legal modifications. Before European settlement, Indigenous peoples in Canada had their naming conventions. However, with the arrival of Europeans, many individuals adopted European surnames. As immigration from various countries increased, Canadian last names now encompass diverse cultural backgrounds, such as Italian, Chinese, Indian, Filipino, and Ukrainian. Furthermore, hyphenated last names and the adoption of new titles through legal changes have become more common, resulting in a more diverse and multicultural landscape of Canadian last names.

4. Can Canadian last names be used as first names?

Canadian last names can be used as first names. It is a common practice found in various cultures worldwide. Bennett, Fraser, Anderson, and Mitchell are some surnames that highlight the versatility and adaptability of Canadian last names when used as first names.

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.

habitational canadian surnames (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

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Learn how to pronounce the 100 most common surnames in Québec! From Bouchard to Tremblay, this video will help you master the French language.

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MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Immigration to Canada; The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  2. Rules for choosing a surname; Health and Social Services.
  3. Melanie Radzicki McManus; What Are the Most Common Last Names in the World?
  4. Armstrong Clan History.
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