So sorry, Sophia.
While you two have been wildly popular in recent years, Ontario’s obsession with Olivia has already made it the top baby name over the past decade.
According to recent statistics released by the province’s Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, Olivia was in the number one spot again in 2018 — the most recent year available — as it has been all the way back to 2010.
“I love my name because it is super popular,” said nine-year-old Olivia Hamand of Scarborough, who has three friends and knows “a lot of girls at my school” with the same moniker.
Olivia has made a name for itself, with the provincial government registering more than 8,300 of them since 2010, saying “with nine years at the top of Ontario’s baby names list, Olivia could be the name of the decade.”
Consumer Services Minister Lisa Thompson said she too has a connection.
“Unsurprisingly, I know an Olivia! A close friend of mine named her first-born Olivia,” she said in a statement to the Star. “It is always fun to see names that have stood the test of time and remained popular through the decades. I will be looking forward to next year to see if Olivia retains the top spot.”
Sasha Miller, international managing editor of parenting site BabyCenter, said “Olivia has been a favourite name in Canada throughout the last decade, along with Sophia and Emma.”
Parents in BabyCenter’s community describe Olivia “as a very pretty and feminine name and its connection to the word olive means that it feels natural and fresh,” she added.
In Ontario in 2018, the top girl names after Olivia were Emma, Charlotte, Amelia and Ava. For boys — Liam, Noah, Lucas, William and Benjamin.
However, there were some regional variations — in Barrie, Colton and Austin made the top five for boys, and Evelyn and Mila for girls. Waterloo registered a number of Laylas, putting it at number four for females, and in Windsor, Ali was the third most popular name for baby boys.
Suzanne Gomes, a Durham Region mom of now eight-year-old Olivia — who has been vocal in her fight against the Ford government’s delay in implementing the province’s new autism funding program — said she had “narrowed it down to two names, Olivia and Sophia,” when pregnant.
Both, she said, “were beautiful but wanted to wait until she was born before choosing. As soon as I looked at her little face, I knew she was meant to be Olivia. I still love Sophia — but Olivia is perfect.”
“Our Olivia is so unique to our family,” said East York mom Laura Wright of her two-year-old. “It doesn’t bother me that there are a ton of Olivias out there — they are all different and have their own little spunk to them.”
Wright, whose Olivia was born in 2017, said she and her husband, Dave, had a difficult time finding a name they both liked.
“What’s so funny is one of the reasons we both liked Olivia is because neither of us knew one … we hadn’t heard it, none of our friends had an Olivia,” she said, joking that it has become “the Ashley of my generation.”
They liked that it can be a cute kid name — Liv, Livvy — “but also very professional. People gravitate to it because it is soft, but it’s also very professional and can be used later in life.”
Deborah Wilson’s Olivia was born in 2006, before the name took off. At first, she and husband Robert Richardson had liked Lily.
“My husband and I are both fair, and the baby came out with black hair and black eyes, and we didn’t think she looked like much of a Lily,” Wilson said. “We thought she looked like a little olive.”
Olivia is also a character in Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” which made it more appealing as Richardson is a theatre producer.
Their Olivia, now 13 and in Grade 9, said it wasn’t until Grade 6 or 7 that she started noticing “so many Olivias” — and on her swim team, five of 25 share her name.
“I like it but sometimes it can be frustrating” now that there are so many, she said. But “it’s kind of nice, it’s kind of cool” that it’s the name of the decade.
Natalie Rosenthal had a son Nathaniel in 2006, and another, Noah, in 2010. After bringing Noah home from the hospital, Nathaniel went to daycare and — for unknown reasons — kept telling everyone there he had a baby sister, Olivia.
When Rosenthal became pregnant soon after with a girl, “we had to name her Olivia. He kept saying he had a sister Olivia, and now he does.”
Rosenthal said she thinks “it’s one of those older names that kind of just lost itself over a period of time, and has just come back.”
Olivia Hamand’s mom Sharon Mumford said “I love that she’s Olivia H. I don’t regret naming her Olivia — there are different ways you can play with it,” she said.
Loriann Facchini, an elementary teacher in York Region who lives in Maple, said she hasn’t come across many Olivias — in her school of 700, there are two — and her 10-year-old daughter Olivia knows only a few others with that name.
“Although the records show that it’s popular, we don’t hear it that much,” she added.
Most popular baby names in Ontario, by region
Here are the top 2018 baby names in Ontario, by region. Note, Cambridge and Waterloo don’t have as many names — not enough same names to get to a top five.
Boys: Liam, Noah, Ethan, Lucas, Daniel
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Girls: Olivia, Emma, Sophia, Mia, Charlotte
Boys: James, Noah, Alexander, Jacob, Lucas
Girls: Olivia, Evelyn, Ella, Lily, Amelia
Boys: Leo, Mason, Noah, Oliver, Alexander
Girls: Charlotte, Emily, Olivia, Amelia, Sophia
Boys: Lucas, Colton, William, Austin, James
Girls: Evelyn, Amelia, Mila, Charlotte, Emma
Boys: Liam, Mason, William, Benjamin, Noah, Oliver
Girls: Olivia, Amelia, Ava, Emma, Charlotte, Maya
Boys: Liam, Lucas, Noah
Boys: Lucas/Oliver, Liam, Logan, Benjamin, Alexander
Girls: Olivia, Evelyn, Ella, Abigail, Charlotte
Boys: Lucas, Benjamin, Alexander, Jack, William
Girls: Charlotte, Olivia, Elizabeth, Layla
Boys: Lucas, Benjamin, Ali, Daniel, Nathan
Girls: Ava, Emma, Isabelle, Avery, Mila
Boys: Owen, Jacob, Noah, Wyatt, James
Girls: Charlotte, Emma, Olivia, Amelia, Ava
Boys: Noah, William, Adam, Benjamin, Liam
Girls: Olivia, Emma, Charlotte, Evelyn, Mila
Kristin Rushowy is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow her on Twitter: @krushowy
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