top baby names

Parents crowdsource baby names on chalkboard outside Toronto bar

A Toronto couple may have found a name for their baby thanks to a few of their neighbours.

Natasha Carew said she and her husband, Sean Ritchie, are expecting a baby in January and had two names in the running.

To poll the neighbourhood on the best baby name, Carew decided to use one of the chalkboards around the now shuttered Foggy Dew pub on King West.

"I always walk by these chalkboards and they used to be filled with drink specials and all the other events going on at the bar and now they are just kind of empty and sad looking," Carew told blogTO. The pub closed down before the pandemic.

She thought the chalkboard could be a fun way for people to interact that is socially distant and isn't online.

"I thought maybe I could crowdsource some name ideas and votes for a baby name."

Carew brought some pieces of chalk and wrote: "Help name our baby boy, due January 2021" and her name choice – Finnegan and her husband's pick — Koen on the board on Thursday morning.

She returned on Friday and found the board filled with name suggestions and check marks indicating the public’s choice of name.

"Finnegan is actually winning right now."

Ritchie is American and currently working in the United States but plans to be back before the baby is born. Carew sent him a photo of the board.

"He is upset that Finnigan is losing to Koen," she said.

But the couple also likes a few of the suggested names such as Otis and Dextyn.

"We think Mordicai is funny but we probably wouldn't actually go with that."

Every name slot was filled including the last slot with "Kaboose."

"I was surprised that it filled up in a day — I was so happy," she said. "All these people contributed."

The couple also has an 18-month daughter named Mick after Mick Jagger.

"It was the first rock concert I ever saw and I love his spirit and we want her to be a rock star."

The neighbourhood picks won't nail down the couple's final name choice but they could influence it.

"If the neighbourhood goes with Finnigan over Koen, then that is probably going to push it over the edge and I will that one," she said.

Carew left the poll on the board and she wonders if the boards might be used for other neighbourhood interactive activities.

Lead photo by

Natasha Carew


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