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Why is Toronto Called The Six? Theories and Origins

Why is Toronto Called The Six? Theories and Origins

Do you know that Toronto has another name, ‘The Six’? You may be curious about uncovering the secret behind this big city’s traditional name. Well, you’re at the right place. Let’s discover the answer to the question ‘Why is Toronto called the Six?’ 

If you wonder why Toronto one of the biggest cities in Canada would be named the six you are in the right place. It is a fact that the name of cities has changed through history multiple times.

These names and nicknames may not sound as interesting as other magnificent Toronto Landmarks. However, they make a part of the history of Toronto and are worth knowing their origins.

But why is Toronto called the Six? Why this specific number? These are all questions that we will answer in this article. Let’s first explain the name Toronto and its location.

Origins of the Name of Toronto

The name Toronto has a history different from the city itself. Maps from as early as 1675 originally show the name “Tkaronto”, which means a narrow water channel between Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching. 

However, over time, the name became popular in the South and was finally used to refer to a new fort near the mouth of the Humber River. This fort which is the earliest European settlement in the region, is named Fort Toronto. This is where the city of Toronto that you all know is formed and risen.

Toronto and Its 6 Districts

There was a time when Toronto was not known as the city we know today. The city of Toronto was surrounded by six large districts.

  However, as a result of the Passage of the City of Toronto Act in 1998, metropolitan Toronto and its constituents were amalgamated into the current City of Toronto.

Let us go through these districts that made Greater Toronto and see why is Toronto called the Six:

1. Old Toronto

The town was founded in 1834 and was bordered to the north by York, to the west by Etobicoke, and to the east by East York, other districts of that time. 

Old Toronto includes some of the famous landmarks and areas that you already are familiar with such as Downtown Toronto, Yonge Dundas Square, the CN Tower, and the Royal Ontario Museum.

2. East York

East York has played a significant role in shaping Toronto’s current state. It is an essential component of Metropolitan Toronto. East York is valuable because of its great schools, reasonably priced housing, and breathtaking neighborhood.

Although East York is a quiet neighborhood, it is full of restaurants and shopping options. Some of the best places that most of the residents prefer to shop are Pape, Donlands, Greenwood, Coxwell, and Woodbine Avenues.

3. Etobicoke

In 1850, Etobicoke was incorporated as a town. Located between Mississauga and Brampton, Etobicoke is a stunning area bordered by the Humber River to the east, Lake Ontario to the south, and Etobicoke Creek to the west. 

Etobicoke is home to a large number of parks and green areas given its reputation for having lush landscapes with a hint of natural beauty. James Gardens, Centennial Park, and Humber Bay Park are among the locals’ favorites. 

One of the best golf clubs in the world, St. George’s Golf and Country Club, is located in Etobicoke. It has hosted the Canadian Open five times.

4. North York

The city of North York has always struggled for its existence, from the beginning Township of North York to its amalgamation into Metropolitan Toronto. These struggles have made the city a corporate and business hub. Toronto’s main economic district is North York City Centre.

Downsview Airport, which is a component of Centennial College’s aerospace campus, has a substantial impact on Toronto’s six important towns.

Why Toronto is called the six : North York District

5. Scarborough

The British built Scarborough was built based on a town north of Yorkshire. However, it didn’t become a town until 1850, which was way after the arrival of the English settlers in 1790. Because of its varied cultural heritage, it gained popularity among immigrants living in Canada. Then It became the Greater Toronto Area’s most sought-after multicultural metropolis.

You can find all kinds of restaurants of different nationalities and African and Indian shops. 

6. York

The oldest area of Toronto is the Village or Town of York. Col. John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, ordered its layout in 1793. 

The town has preserved its history through street names such as Princess, King, George, and Frederick.

However, These streets were usually in bad condition due to the clay soil and little to no care, earning the town the nickname Muddy York

Today, this neighborhood has a rich past with great developments throughout the time.

Why is Toronto Called the Six?

Now let us go back to our main question about one of the most popular Toronto nicknames. The reason for the popularity of the name Toronto the Six is the rapper Drake. 

Drake, the rapper and superstar, is mostly responsible for bringing The Six to the attention of non-Torontonians through his 2016 album Views from the 6.

However, he confessed that the idea came from the local rappers Jimmy Prime and Oliver North who called Toronto The Six Way before.

It is a theory that the rapper took the idea of Toronto the Six from two popular area codes, 416 and 647. Another possibility is that they named Toronto the Six based on the six districts that made the Greater Toronto that we know. 

In any case, the main reason why is Toronto called the Six is the influence of rapper Drake who made this nickname popular again.


Toronto is a Metropolis with a rich history and lots of names and nicknames. You can expect each era to have its unique nickname for the city and it helps the flowing culture of the city. Thanks to Drake, our era knows the answer to why is Toronto called the Six. 


1. Who popularized the nickname The Six?

Rapper Drake called Toronto the Six in his album Views from the 6 which popularized the nickname the Six. 

2. What Are the 6ix Cities?

This is a term that is used about six districts that made Greater Toronto in 1998 including Toronto City, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, York, and East York.

3. Who Came Up With 6ix?

Local rappers Jimmy Prime and Oliver North came up with the 6ix. However, rapper Drake made it popular with his album Views from the 6.

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