Popular Baby Names Canada: What Were 2012's Most Popular Names?

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BABY NAMES 2012
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All you soon-to-be parents, listen up — it's time to suss out whether your child will be awash in a sea of Matthews and Sarahs, or if they'll be stuck remembering names like Corleone and Draper for the whole of their school days.

According to Today's Parent, who collected information from provincial vital Statistics departments (apart from Prince Edward Island), the number one most popular names in Canada for 2012 were .... William and Maya.

Less out there than you expected? Then you'll be interested to see that the rest of the list doesn't run too wild either, and contains the kinds of names that you probably heard at least once on your class roll call. In fact, it was uncovered earlier this year that the most popular names of all time looked right to our monarchy: William and Elizabeth, according to iVillage.com.

In fact, we were a bit surprised that we didn't see Kate anywhere near the top of the list — but perhaps everyone's just waiting for that Royal Baby name to be announced. Some other pop culture monikers that were missing included Taylor and Justin, so 2013, we're already looking at you.

SEE: The 25 most popular names for boys and girls in Canada for 2012, along with our guesses as to why they might be at the top. Miss some of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below:

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#1
Name: William
Rank in 2011: #1
Why we think it's trendy: In case the picture didn't give it away, His Royal Highness Prince William has likely been inspiring plenty of parents since his wedding in April 2011.

#1
Name: Maya
Rank in 2011: #2
Why we think it's trendy: All this talk of the apocalypse on December 21 seems to have ignored one key thing — take away the "n" from Mayans, and you have yourself a pretty gorgeous name.

#2
Name: Jacob
Rank in 2011: #2
Why we think it's trendy: Those Twilights flicks keep rolling out, and with them, the reminder that Jacob is a strong, fighting name that lends itself well to some pretty good short forms.

#2
Name: Sofia/Sophia
Rank in 2011: #3
Why we think it's trendy: She became the darling of the comedy world this year, so why wouldn't parents want their daughters named after this strong, hilarious, gorgeous woman? Or course, there's also some alternative reasoning, like the royal heritage or even the meaning of the name: "wisdom."

#3
Name: Liam
Rank in 2011: #4
Why we think it's trendy: Likely stemming from the same kind of popularity as William (it is a shortened version, after all), Liam is also a classic British name for the Anglophiles in the crowd.

#3
Name: Olivia
Rank in 2011: #1
Why we think it's trendy: Over the past few years, Olivia has remained popular, staying in line with the trend toward old-fashioned names that seem brand new when given to a baby.

#4
Name: Nathan
Rank in 2011: #4
Why we think it's trendy: Given that this is a Canadian list, it may not be too much of a stretch to think that people are taking inspiration from Canadian actor Nathan Fillion (shown here).

#4
Name: Emma
Rank in 2011: #4
Why we think it's trendy: Much like Ella five years ago, Emma is a nice, quick name that speaks to both adorable little girls and sophisticated young ladies.

#5
Name: Noah
Rank in 2011: #7
Why we think it's trendy: Biblical, short and even gaining in popularity as a name for girls, Noah might just see an uptick on the list when the "Noah's Ark" film comes out in the next couple of years.

#5
Name: Emile/Emily
Rank in 2011: #5
Why we think it's trendy: HUGELY popular from the mid-1990s to 2000s, Emily may have lost some of her lustre, but perhaps the fabulous Emily VanCamp (shown here), who plays Emily Thorne on 'Revenge" is enough to keep it in the top 5 for a while longer.

#6
Name: Ethan
Rank in 2011: #5
Why we think it's trendy: There were a lot of famous Ethans during the early 1990s (Hawke, shown here, Ethan Embry, etc.), so we're thinking that stuck in the heads of those child-bearers who came of age during that time.

#6
Name: Chloe/Khloe
Rank in 2011: #7
Why we think it's trendy: A leap up the list for Chloe/Khloe could, yes, very well be attributed to the Kardashians. While parents may not want to raise their kids the same way, the cuteness of the name probably outweighed the negatives.

#7
Name: Lucas/Lukas
Rank in 2011: #6
Why we think it's trendy: There hasn't really been a huge star with the name "Lucas" ever. Instead, we suspect this comes from the dads of the world, who've always dreamed of saying, "Luke, I am your father."

#7
Name: Ava
Rank in 2011: #9
Why we think it's trendy: Both Heather Locklear and Reese Witherspoon have daughters named Ava — but we're guessing the short, straightforward nature of the moniker could have something to do with it as well.

#8
Name: Benjamin
Rank in 2011: #9
Why we think it's trendy: A Biblical name that means "the father's favourite," this is what Giselle Bundchen and Tom Brady called their son — which might make things awkward for the next kid.

#8
Name: Isabella/Isobella
Rank in 2011: #8
Why we think it's trendy: Yes, that's right, "Twilight" has struck again, with parents opting for the formal version of "Bella" for more choice, we imagine.

#9
Name: Samuel
Rank in 2011: #10
Why we think it's trendy: We're looking at you, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck — with their son Samuel born this year, there will be Sams and Sammys running around aplenty.

#9
Name: Sarah/Sara
Rank in 2011: #6
Why we think it's trendy: Everyone knows a Sarah thanks to its 1980s heyday, but the name remains popular now likely because of its simplicity and (now) classic style.

#10
Name: Logan
Rank in 2011: #11
Why we think it's trendy: The X-Men could be to blame for this one, thanks to Wolverine's actual name. But actor Logan Lerman (shown here) could carry out that superhero legacy, as a star of the kids' flick Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

#10
Name: Lea/Leah
Rank in 2011: #10
Why we think it's trendy: One more thing to thank Glee for getting stuck in your head — Lea Michele (shown here) has probably pushed this name even more into the zeitgeist.

#11
Name: Gabriel
Rank in 2011: #14
Why we think it's trendy: The biggest jump so far for a name from last year, it has some pretty religious connotations, which could make it attractive more devout families.

#11
Name: Sophie
Rank in 2011: #12
Why we think it's trendy: Not all that different from the #2 pick, Sophie gives a slight British inflection to the name, possibly for those seeking some royal weight.

#12
Name: Thomas
Rank in 2011: #13
Why we think it's trendy: We're going to come right out and say it — thank you Thomas the Tank Engine for creating a generation of Toms.

#12
Name: Lily/Lilly/Lili
Rank in 2011: #14
Why we think it's trendy: Its French popularity likely accounts for why it's beloved in Canada, but Lily also harkens back to "Lillian," an old-fashioned name just looking for an update.

#13
Name: Alexander
Rank in 2011: #8
Why we think it's trendy: With one famous Alexander leading the Yankees and another born to thespians Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber, this "A" name has a long history of success.

#13
Name: Abigail/Abbigail
Rank in 2011: #13
Why we think it's trendy: Interestingly, Abigail is a name used by royal in Hawaii — so perhaps the current President has something to do with it?

#14
Name: Matthew/Mattieu
Rank in 2011: #12
Why we think it's trendy: There are a lot of actors of a certain named Matthew (like McConaughey, Fox, Broderick) ... so we're not saying some moms named their kids after their crushes, but we're also not saying they didn't.

#14
Name: Ella
Rank in 2011: #11
Why we think it's trendy: Feminine and lovely, Ella is also a riff on Twilight's "Belle," which could be a clever way for parents to get around that trend and still enjoy the name.

#15
Name: Aiden/Aidan
Rank in 2011: #16
Why we think it's trendy: Yep, that's right — we are directly correlating the increase in Aidens being born with John Corbett's character on "Sex and the City."

#15
Name: Elizabeth/Elisabeth
Rank in 2011: #15
Why we think it's trendy: Well, it's not trendy, actually — Elizabeth has been a popular option for girls since the 1800s, and has been remained up there since. The French spelling ("Elisabeth") could give Anglophones a new option.

#16
Name: Joshua
Rank in 2011: #17
Why we think it's trendy: For some reason, Joshua seems to be beloved in many Commonwealth countries. It is U2's classic album's fault? Did British Columbia's Joshua Jackson, of Dawson Creek fame, have a hand in it? Either way, it remains up top.

#16
Name: Charlotte
Rank in 2011: #16
Why we think it's trendy: Unlike Aiden, we're not putting this one on SATC. Instead, we're guessing the adorable way Charlotte can be shortened to Charlie, if parents so choose, plays a role. And just for kicks, we're pointing back to "Revenge" and the character of Charlotte, played by Christa Allen (shown here).

#17
Name: Owen
Rank in 2011: #20
Why we think it's trendy: Are Boardwalk Empire fans growing in number? He's one of the characters on HBO's hit series, but Owen is also considered a solid, strong name, without too many ways to make embarrassing nicknames.

#17
Name: Madison
Rank in 2011: #17
Why we think it's trendy: The name Madison reached the height of its popularity around 1999, but has stayed up in the top 20 since. it could be that Daryl Hannah's classic turn in "Splash" is to thank for that time period, or just people who are really into advertising.

#18
Name: Ryan
Rank in 2011: #19
Why we think it's trendy: Canada is a proud nation of Ryans (Gosling, shown here, Reynolds ...), and with Lochte coming on the scene during the Olympics, it only just drove the point home.

#18
Name: Victoria
Rank in 2011: #18
Why we think it's trendy: Another perpetual favourite started by the royals, monarchists don't intend to lessen their hold on this one anytime soon.

#19
Name: Daniel
Rank in 2011: #15
Why we think it's trendy: The bilingual aspect of this name has always helped its cause, though its slip down the list could mean Danny Boy has stopped seeming quite as intriguing.

#19
Name: Zoey/Zoe
Rank in 2011: #26
Why we think it's trendy: As the New Girl gains love in TV land, so too does her real life namesake, Zooey Deschanel — though parents are opting for a more traditional spelling.

#20
Name: James
Rank in 2011: #23
Why we think it's trendy: Interestingly, many of the James you already know aren't Jameses at all, but instead, Jimmys (Fallon) and Jamies (Oliver). So that could be it — parents like a name with a little bit of choice in it.

#20
Name: Hannah/Hanah
Rank in 2011: #22
Why we think it's trendy: Long after Hannah Montana (real life counterpart Miley Cyrus shown here) was finished, her name lived on — maybe for parents who enjoy a good palindrome?

#21
Name: Nicholas/Nicolas
Rank in 2011: #21
Why we think it's trendy: We'd lay this one on Homeland's Nick Brody (played by Damien Lewis, shown here) if it hadn't already been equally popular the year before. Instead, we'll just chalk it up to the name's history and strength.

#21
Name: Alexis
Rank in 2011: #19
Why we think it's trendy: Both a famous Greek name and a famous '80s character, Alexis doesn't have the same cache it once did — parents could be hanging on for nostalgia purposes.

#22
Name: Jack
Rank in 2011: #28
Why we think it's trendy: Could Jack Sparrow really be the cause of so many young Jacks? Well, it come back into fashion around 2006, at the height of the franchise's popularity. Why not keep it up there until the next one (in approximately 2015)?

#22
Name: Grace
Rank in 2011: #20
Why we think it's trendy: A classic name with some religious links, it's one of those names that also happens to describe a positive characteristic — what more could a parent want?

#23
Name: Zachary
Rank in 2011: #18
Why we think it's trendy: Most popular in Quebec, Zachary has gone down in trends (what, no Zach Morris fans?) but could still remain a winner for a few years yet.

#23
Name: Brooklyn/Brooklynn
Rank in 2011: #27
Why we think it's trendy: We're not going to lie, this one was a bit of a surprise, so we can only point to model Brooklyn Decker (shown here) as part of the inspiration — after all, the Beckham's Brooklyn is a boy.

#24
Name: Carter
Rank in 2011: #37
Why we think it's trendy: More commonly a last name than a first name, this could be parents' chance to break away from the norm ... without going too far out there.

#24
Name: Julia
Rank in 2011: #28
Why we think it's trendy: This could just be us, but perhaps the resurgence of love for the wonderful Julia Child inspired a few of those parents. Here's hoping their daughters got their namesake's cooking chops.

#25
Name: Jayden/Jaden
Rank in 2011: #27
Why we think it's trendy: This one is pretty much fully from the Pinkett-Smiths (son Jaden shown here). And in case you're wondering, yes, it can also be a girl's name.

#25
Name: Hailey/Hayley
Rank in 2011: #21
Why we think it's trendy: The previous generation of Hayleys were named after actress Hayley Mills. But this one? We're looking at you, gold medallist Hayley Wickenheiser.

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