Bestowed with traditional British names, Prince George, 3, and Princess Charlotte, 17 months, must feel at home in Canada, which has a veritable bounty of similar sounding names. There’s Princess Charlotte Island in eastern Ontario, Queen Charlotte Sound off the West Coast, a Mount Prince George in British Columbia and the King George Islands in Nunavut.
A search of the Geographical Names Board of Canada’s database reveals a cornucopia of towns, lakes, mountains, historic sites and even shoals bearing the name George or Charlotte. Include variants—Georgian Bay, Charlottenburgh—and there are 70 Charlottes and more than 700 George references.
Some have obviously royal origins, including a park in B.C.’s Kootenay region, named after his great-great-grandfather, George VI, and the B.C. trading post named Fort George after George III that would later be changed in a referendum to Prince George, for Queen Elizabeth II’s uncle. George III’s wife, Charlotte, was the inspiration for the capital of Prince Edward Island while her namesake granddaughter, who died in childbirth in 1817, appears to be the inspiration for Princess Charlotte Island.
Other places have more common names, including Black George Head in Newfoundland and Charlottes Bog in Nova Scotia. Sometimes it seems people just ran out of distinct names. The Kenora area of northwestern Ontario has four lakes named George Lake. Not to be outdone, Nipissing, Ont., has George Lake, Wee George Lake and Big George Lake.
Other regal names have vanished. In 2010, the Queen Charlotte Islands were officially changed back to the archipelago’s original name, Haida Gwaii, meaning “islands of the people.” On Sept. 30, the great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson of Queen Charlotte begins his visit to Haida Gwaii in a fitting mode of transport: he and wife, Kate, will paddle ashore in a traditional canoe.