Why Is Toronto Called The 6? (5 Reasons Why)

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Morgan Stephens

Morgan Stephens has been to 43 countries and counting, and he's never content to stay in one place for too long. Right now, he's living in South Korea, but he's always on the lookout for his next adventure.

Locations around the world have unique nicknames that they go by. For example, New York is called The Big Apple, and Los Angeles is called The City of Angels.

But what about Toronto? Why is Toronto called The 6? We’re looking into five reasons why.

Why Is Toronto Called The 6?

1. Founder

The city was founded in 1793 by John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. He named the settlement after the Duke of York, who would later become King George VI.

As you can see, there is a direct correlation between the city’s founding and its nickname.

Thus, many believe that Toronto is called “The 6” because of the Duke of York, i.e., King George VI.

King George VI was the last British monarch to rule over Canada before it gained independence in 1867.

Since Toronto was founded by the British and was once part of the British Empire, it makes sense that its nickname would reference British royalty.

But we still have four other potential explanations to consider, so let’s continue to find out the most likely reason for Toronto’s nickname.

2. Location

Another popular theory is that the nickname is due to the city’s location. Toronto is situated on Lake Ontario’s western shore, one of the five Great Lakes.

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Thus, the city is often referred to as The 6 because it is one of the six largest cities in Canada. Whether or not this is the reason for the nickname is up for debate.

3. Area Code

Area Code

Yet another explanation for the nickname is the city’s area code, 416. It’s believed that the name originated from the fact that Toronto is the only Canadian city with an area code that ends with 6.

Toronto presently has two other area codes: 473 and 647. Given that the city has only one area code that ends with a “6,” it’s possible that this is why it’s called The 6.

4. Drake

Canadian rapper Drake is one of the most famous musicians in the world, and he’s from Toronto. He often refers to the city as The 6 in his songs, which has helped to popularize the nickname.

In fact, Drake even released an album in 2016 called Views From The 6. Given Drake’s immense popularity, it’s no surprise that many people believe he is responsible for the city’s nickname.

Or, at the very least, fans choose to go along with the nickname because Drake calls Toronto the 6 throughout this music.

There’s no denying the effect musicians can have on pop culture; the same goes for movies and TV. When famous stars like Drake call something by a specific name, fans follow suit.

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5. Six Municipalities

The city of Toronto comprises six municipalities: Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, East York, Downtown Toronto, and York.

These municipalities form “The 6.” This is likely the most accurate explanation for why Toronto is called The 6.

A little history about Toronto. The City of Toronto is the primary municipal government for the city, and Toronto has a long and rich history.

Toronto likely comes from Mohawk word “tkaronto,” which roughly translates to “place with trees standing in water.” This has to do with Lake Simcoe’s northern end.

Toronto’s area was first inhabited by the Iroquois and later the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations.

By the late 17th century, the Iroquois had displaced the Mississaugas across southern Ontario.

The city proliferated during the 19th century due to immigration, particularly from Ireland and Scotland.

Construction of the Grand Trunk Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway increased Toronto’s prominence as a major transportation hub.

Toronto has always been an important city in Canadian history, but it wasn’t until the late 20th century that it became one of the world’s major metropolitan areas.

In 1998, the City of Toronto and the municipalities of Metropolitan Toronto were amalgamated to form the current city, or, The 6.

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Whether you’re a long-time resident or just visiting, there’s no denying that Toronto is a great place to be. And now you know a little bit more about its interesting nickname.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why India was called the Jewel in the Crown, why Vermont is so liberal, and why New York is so popular.


So there you have five possible explanations for why Toronto is called The 6. Do you have a favorite theory? Or do you know of another reason that’s not on this list?

Whatever the reason is, the 6 is a beautiful, vibrant city with a lot to offer. So if you ever find yourself in Toronto, enjoy all the 6 has to offer!


  • Morgan Stephens

    Morgan Stephens has been to 43 countries and counting, and he's never content to stay in one place for too long. Right now, he's living in South Korea, but he's always on the lookout for his next adventure.

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