8 Nicknames for Canada and the Reasons for Them

5 min read

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A lake with people kayaking on it near snow-capped mountains and trees
Canada's rich history and interesting geography birthed many nicknames

Canada sprawls across 10 provinces, from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, and includes three northern territories. The nation brings to mind many iconic images, including ice hockey, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canada goose, and maple syrup.

Did you know that there are multiple nicknames for Canada too? For example, Lumberjack Country references some of its economic imports, while Borealia and the North refer to Canada's geographic location on the continent. Read on to learn more about how a few popular Canada monikers came to be.

8 Canada Nicknames

Canada Nicknames Video

Check out our highlights video of Canada nicknames.

Northern lights over a small wooden house near trees
Borealia originated from Aurora Borealis, seen from rural parts of Canada


Canada's nickname Borealia is a nod to its global location. Borealia is a form of the Latin word Borealis, meaning northern. It was also one of the original names proposed for the official name of Canada.

Borealia also refers to the Aurora Borealis, or the northern lights, which are on display from early fall to spring. Skygazers should head to some of the more rural parts of Canada, especially Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories, to view this Canadian landmark event.

Lumberjack Country

The Lumberjack Country nickname has deep roots in Canadian history. Lumberjacks have played an important cultural role in Canada since the turn of the 18th century. The first lumberjacks, now more commonly known as loggers, harvested trees using rustic hand tools and oxen before the advent of modern equipment.

The theme of lumberjack is still seen widely in Canadian culture today. As Canada remains one of the top exporters of wood products in the world, the nickname is still fitting.

A small snow-covered cabin next to a lake, trees, and a snowy mountain
The Great White North relates to Canada's northern location and snowy landscape

The Great White North

The Great White North may be one of Canada's most well-known and popular nicknames. Canada spreads almost four million square miles, making its great landmass second only to Russia.

Nearly 40 percent of this land falls within the Arctic Archipelago, which experiences consistent snowfall for about half the year. Many of the most remote areas remain covered in snow and are essentially uninhabitable.

Canada also lies in the northernmost part of the continent, atop the United States. The Great White North nickname was later popularized by the hit television program "SCTV." It alluded to popular themes characterizing Canada, like ice hockey, snowy days, and warm, friendly people.

Nova Britannia

Another name for Canada is Nova Britannia, meaning New Britain. In 1763, the Treaty of Paris ended the Seven Years' War, officially transferring most of Canada into the realm of the British Empire.

The French explorer Jacques Cartier discovered the Saint Lawrence River and Prince Edward Island in the mid-1500s. He was the first explorer to head into the continent, allowing France to lay claim to the area. When the territory was ceded to England, the nickname Nova Britannia signified the emergence of this new protectorate in North America.

The Land of Maple is one of the nicknames for Canada alluding to its many maple trees
Due to the prevalence of maple trees in Canada, it's been called the Land of Maple

The Land of Maple

The Land of Maple is a Canadian slogan with two references. First, it refers to the maple leaf, the country's national symbol. The maple leaf adorns the Canadian flag, speaking to the prevalence of maple trees across the nation.

Second, the Land of Maple also refers to the production of maple syrup. Canada produced over 17 million gallons of maple syrup in 2022, with the majority of maple farms located in Quebec. This is a primary export and significant economic contributor to the nation, lending credence to its nickname as the Land of Maple.

The True North Strong and Free

The nickname the True North Strong and Free arises directly from the national anthem, written in the French and English languages. Robert Stanley Weir's 1908 version of "O Canada" includes the lyrics "with glowing hearts we see thee rise / the True North strong and free!"

This line was taken from the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson's endearment of Canada as "that true North whereof we lately heard." Not only does the True North refer to Canada's geography, but the word "true" at the time of the writing notes the country's loyalty to the British Crown.

A bear and a bear cub in the grass next to a forest
Nicknames for Canada, like Ursalia, refer to its rich biodiversity


Ursalia is derived from the Latin word "Ursus," for bear, translating to "Land of Bears." Canada comes by this moniker, honestly, given that it is home to almost 400,000 black bears alone. Ursalia was also one of the initially proposed names for Canada.

Three species of bear call Canada home. Grizzlies are found in the north and across western Canada, including Alberta. Black bears are the most common in Canada, often found ranging in the forested areas of British Columbia and New Brunswick. Polar bears can be spotted when the ice freezes in northern Manitoba when they can hunt for their favorite seals more easily.

The North

The North refers to Canada's geographical location as the country located in the north of the continent. It also became a rallying cry for the NBA's Toronto Raptors, who use the slogan We the North.

The northern parts of the country relate to this nickname the most. The three northernmost territories, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, are primarily isolated due to the harsh weather and terrain.

Canucks, or Canadians, who live in these northern regions, are known for their pride in their ability to withstand extreme conditions and remain largely self-sufficient, connecting to the North moniker.

In Summary

These slogans for Canada speak to the country's deep history, rich culture, worldwide economic import, and geographical location. Lumberjack Country brings to mind its signature logger and deep representation in the lumber industry. Ursalia speaks to one of the original country name considerations and the prevalence of bears across the land.

The Great White North may be the most famous nickname of all. It relates to the country's location, topography, and the grit and warmth of its people. Each nickname hints at the depth and pride of Canada. Whether you prefer maple syrup or the northern lights, you're sure to find the handle you feel most represents this beautiful country.

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Written by Jodi K Monroe

jodikmonroe FORMER WRITER Jodi is based in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, within easy reach of the beaches, mountains, and airport. Journal in hand, she has explored North America and parts of Europe so far.

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