Why is Toronto called the Six?

Why is Toronto called the Six?
Why is Toronto called the Six?

The mention of Toronto often brings to mind its skyline, dominated by the iconic CN Tower. Yet, there is a fascinating story that transcends its physical beauty – that of its popular nickname, “The Six”.

For years, Toronto has been popularly known as The Six. This nickname sprung up suddenly, making its way into common parlance and leaving some puzzled. Understanding “The Six” involves keenly peeling back layers of Toronto’s history, culture, and its intricate administrative make-up. Curious yet?

When it comes to the mystery behind “The Six”, one can’t ignore the influence of Grammy-winning hip-hop artist, Drake. Proud of his Toronto roots, Drake has played a significant role in bringing this moniker into the limelight. How? Keep reading to unravel the mystery…

Why is Toronto called the Six? The Origin of The Six

What could possibly have been the genesis of the nickname ‘The Six’ for a city as vibrant as Toronto? Here’s an enlightening peek into the various theories behind it.

Explanation of the number six and its significance to Toronto’s geography

The number six bears a unique geographic significance for Toronto. With two major rivers, the Humber River and the Don River, traversing and carving the city into distinct segments, the east, west, and central parts, Toronto essentially is divided into six regions.

Historical reference to Toronto’s six former municipalities

A look back into the city’s history delivers the second explanation for the term. Prior to the sweeping municipal consolidation in 1998, Toronto comprised six municipalities – Old Toronto, East York, North York, Etobicoke, Scarborough, and York. This historical reference further solidifies the connection of ‘The Six’ with Toronto.

Mention of Toronto’s area code, 416, and its association with the nickname

The nickname ‘The Six’ also matches with Toronto’s area code, 416. It seemingly serves as a sign of respect to the original area code for Toronto which was 416. The city now has added another area code, 647, but 416 still remains emblematic of the city’s identity.


These three theories together lend credibility to Toronto’s moniker as ‘The Six’.

Why is Toronto called the Six?
Map of Canada with Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, cities and national flag.

The Controversy Surrounding The Six

Despite its popularity, the nickname “The Six” for Toronto has faced substantial criticism and stirred debates over its authenticity. Some claim that it’s just a marketing gimmick, while others argue that it’s a modernized, inclusive term that reflects the city’s evolution. The arguments vary from those who see it as an homage to Toronto’s six original municipalities before amalgamation in 1998, to audiences associating it with Drake’s number-themed albums.

Alternative Theories About the Origin

Several alternative theories about the origin of the nickname also fuel the controversy. Some believe Toronto’s previous area-codes 416 and 905, both featuring the numeral ‘6’, could be a plausible source. Others concur that Drake chose “The Six” as a shout-out to his roots in Scarborough, which happens to be at the city’s six o’clock position on a map.

Torontonians’ Perspectives on The Six

Listening to the voices of actual residents paints a varied picture. Some Torontonians embrace “The Six” as a trendy, tourist-friendly nickname. Yet, others feel that it undermines the city’s historical significance and prefer traditional monikers like “TO” or “Hogtown”. Regardless of differing viewpoints, the nickname remains a powerful symbol of Toronto’s cultural dynamism, largely thanks to its endorsement by Drake.

Why is Toronto called the Six? The Impact of The Six

The moniker “The Six” has become so ingrained in Toronto’s identity that it has transcended being a mere nickname. Today, it serves as a symbol of unity and pride for the city’s diverse population, showcasing the vibrant and multifaceted character of Toronto.

How the nickname has become a symbol of Toronto’s identity

The term “The Six” has come to represent more than just a geographical area in Toronto. It’s an emblem of urban culture, mirroring Toronto’s rich mix of cultures, its dynamic arts scene, and innovative spirit. There’s a certain pride that comes with being from The Six, a strong sense of belonging that brings together natives and newcomers.

Mention of The Six’s influence on Toronto’s cultural scene

Throughout the years, the influence of “The Six” on Toronto’s cultural scene has been significant. It has become synonymous with the city’s thriving arts scene, particularly music, thanks to Drake. Today, “The Six” and Toronto’s cultural scene are essentially inseparable.

Examples of how businesses and organizations have embraced the nickname

Businesses and organizations alike have recognized the prominence of “The Six” and eagerly embraced it. We’ve seen countless examples, including:


– The Six Oyster House, a popular restaurant whose name pays tribute to the city.
– The Six Brewing Co., a microbrewery again named in honor of Toronto who also name their beers after local landmarks.
– Sports teams often refer to their fan bases as being part of “The Six”.


This clear adoption of the moniker reflects its importance and significance to the city’s identity, marking a clear sense of appreciation for Toronto’s unique character.


So Why is Toronto called the Six?

In conclusion, regardless of its exact origin, the term ‘The Six’ has become an enduring symbol for Toronto. Drake’s influence elaborated on the city’s vibrant hip-hop scene, further cementing the nickname in popular culture. Ultimately, ‘The Six’ represents not just a location, but a callback to Toronto’s history and an embodiment of its dynamic energy. Whether you’re a local, visitor, or Drake fan, referring to Toronto as The Six provides an immediate sense of identity, culture, and unity. No doubt, the nickname ‘The Six’ and its legacy will continue to thrive for many more years to come.

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