EDMONTON — When it comes to naming baby girls in Alberta, it seems no one can knock Olivia off its throne.
Olivia was the most popular name for female newborns in 2019, the sixth year in a row it has ranked No. 1, Service Alberta Minister Nate Glubish announced Monday.
There were 229 tots named Olivia last year. Charlotte came second at 188, followed by Sophia, Emma, and Ava.
On the boy side, the names Noah and Liam have been battling it out for supremacy in recent years. In 2016 it was Liam at No. 1, then Noah the year after, then Liam, and now, in 2019, it’s Noah again, with 275 birth certificates bearing that name.
After Liam, the names Oliver, Ethan and Jack round out the top five.
“It looks like Olivia’s reign continues,” said Glubish as he announced the latest compilation of statistics on newborn nomenclature on Monday.
Olivia, whose meaning extends back into Latin word for olive, was popularized around 1600 based on the wealthy countess in William Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night.”
The list comprises nomenclature for more than 51,000 babies and contains a number of intriguing, colourful and memorable names from Aadam to Zzayden.
On the Shakespeare theme, Olivia will be right at home with seven Romeos, nine Juliets and three Rosalinds.
If you’re looking for Hero, there are three, along with 84 Mavericks, one Starlett, seven Princesses, five Royals and two newcomers named Royalty.
There are echoes of the great outdoors, with names like Forest and Forrest, Aspen and Maple, Cypress, Cedar, and Ivy, not to mention, 14 Robins, two Birdies and a BlueJay.
Three of the seasons are covered: Autumn, Summer and Winter.
HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” a fantasy series of dragons and swordplay, gets a hat tip with newborns named Sansa, Danerys, and Brienne.
There are echoes of geography: Rome, Zaire, Scotland, Tennessee, Ocean, Oakland, Havana, Alaska, and India.
Baby-namers flexed their creative muscles to find new forms for traditional handles. Just witness Jackson, or Jacson, or Jaxs, Jaxx, Jaxson, Jaxon, Jaxin, Jaxen, Jaxxen, Jaxxson. And there’s Lexi, Lexy, Lexie, Lexxi, Lexis and Lexus.
You can also find Purity and Love, Harmony and Grace, Ebony and Ivory, not to mention a Hallelujah.
It is anyone’s guess if politics played a part but, for the record, there were 38 Jasons, 34 Rachels and 14 Justins.
There were two girls named Deena in 2019, and name watchers will be keeping an eye on 2020 after Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, has become a calming voice of calm and compassion during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
On the literary front, there are 63 newborns named Stella, echoing the famous wife of the bellowing lovelorn Stanley Kowlaski in “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
And finally let’s not forget the newborn given one wonderful whale of a name when his parents decided to call him Ishmael.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 22, 2020
Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press