Today’s name game is to choose a new name for yourself from the names of all the Canadian prime ministers and their spouses! 

Here are the rules:

  • You must pretend that you are really choosing a new given name for yourself (take the game seriously and choose the best name given the constraints)
  • It must be the name of a Canadian prime minister or prime minister’s spouse (who they were married to while in office)
  • The name you choose will be used as your given name, but it can come from a middle name or family name or maiden name (e.g. you can choose to name yourself Macdonald)
  • You can’t change the spelling of the name, but you can pick a nickname to go by (so if you chose Macdonald, you can go by Mac)

Here is the list of Canadian prime ministers and their spouses (1,2). The married women on the list seem to all have used their husband’s family name after marriage, but instead of writing it twice I listed their family names pre-marriage:

  • John Alexander Macdonald & Susan Agnes Bernard
  • Alexander Mackenzie & Jane Sym
  • John Joseph Caldwell Abbott & Mary Martha Bethune
  • John Sparrow David Thompson & Annie Emma Affleck
  • Mackenzie Bowell
  • Charles Tupper & Frances Amelia Morse
  • Henri Charles Wilfrid Laurier & Zoé Lafontaine
  • Robert Laird Borden & Laura Bond
  • Arthur Meighen & Jessie Isabel Cox
  • William Lyon Mackenzie King
  • Richard Bedford Bennett
  • Louis Stephen St. Laurent & Jeanne Renault
  • John George Diefenbaker & Olive Evangeline Freeman
  • Lester Bowles Pearson & Maryon Elspeth Moody
  • Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau & Margaret Joan Sinclair
  • Charles Joseph Clark & Maureen Anne McTeer
  • John Napier Wyndham Turner & Geills McCrae Kilgour (Geills sounds like “Jill”)
  • Martin Brian Mulroney & Milica Pivnički
  • Avril Phaedra Douglas Campbell
  • Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien & Aline Chaîné
  • Paul Edgar Philippe Martin & Sheila Ann Cowan
  • Stephen Joseph Harper & Laureen Ann Teskey
  • Justin Pierre James Trudeau & Sophie Grégoire

My choice: Sparrow

Ok, it’s gotta be Sparrow, right? My current name is a classic English feminine name, so there’s plenty of opportunities on this list to make a lateral move to a similar name, but if I’m going to go through all the bother of changing my name as an adult, I want something a little more unique.

Sparrow is uncommon as a first name, but I think it has enough history as a family name that it sounds namelike. The major downside to Sparrow is that it’s currently trending up (although it’s still quite rare), so it does run the risk of sounding like it’s from the wrong generation for my age. I think that would make me choose a different name if I was choosing from all the names in the world, but given the constraints of this list, I think I would go with Sparrow anyway and just live with that flaw.

Other names I considered

  • Elspeth: A fun Scottish variation on Elizabeth,  this is my second choice
  • Phaedra: I was initially thinking Phaedra, but I decided I like the spelling but not the sound
  • Martha: I do like this name, but I just don’t think I’m a Martha
  • Wilfrid: More masculine than I want for myself, but if the game was naming a baby, I think this might be my pick. Or Yves…
  • Caldwell: I usually don’t love surname names, but this one tempted me a little

What is your Canadian prime minister name?

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