Yukon geographical place naming

The Heritage Resources unit maintains, manages the naming and renaming of Yukon geographical features such as lakes, rivers and mountains.

THe Yukon Toponymist reviews proposed geographic place names and the Yukon Geographical Place Names Board (YGPNB) makes recommendations to the Minister of Tourism and Culture. 

The Yukon Toponymist is responsible for facilitating the review of proposed geographic place names and provides assistance with:

  • establishing that the correct spellings have been included in applications
  • corroborating the reasons for place name requests
  • establishing accurate geographic locations
  • ensuring that the place names’ meaning and cultural significance has been documented

How do I apply to name a place?

If you would like to apply to name, or rename, a geographical feature please use the following application information.

Note: In your application, it is important to recognize the land jurisdiction (First Nation, territorial and federal) of the geographic feature you wish to name.

How does YGPNB assess geographical place name applications?

The YGPNB uses the following guidelines to assess applications:

  • First priority is given to names with long-standing use by the Yukon general public, particularly Indigenous names in the local First Nation language.
  • Names of rivers, lakes, creeks and other physical features are used for the entire feature. For example, the Yukon River has one name for its entire length, even though it is visible from many locations such as Whitehorse, Carmacks, Fort Selkirk and Dawson.
  • Proposals to name a place or geographical feature after a specific person need to reflect the person's contribution to the area where the feature is located. Normally, this happens only after the person's death.
  • In naming previously unnamed features where there are no local names, preference is given to:
    • names from First Nations languages,
    • names that describe the feature
    • names associated with historical events
    • names of people who have made an important contribution to the area.
  • Names need to be recognizable words or acceptable combinations of words, and shall be in good taste.
  • The spelling and accenting of names need to be consistent with the rules of the language in which they were written.

Note: YGPNB is not responsible for naming within municipalities, parks, territorial divisions, or other legal bodies. You can send proposals for name changes within a national park to Natural Resources Canada Geographical Names section.


Where can I find a list of Yukon geographical place names? 

The Gazetteer of Yukon contains the official listing of Yukon geographical names and alternate geographical names.

Where can I find a list of Canadian geographical place names?

Natural Resources Canada hosts a searchable database of official names of Canadian geographic places.


Are digital mapping resources available?

Geomatics Yukon provides a variety of digital mapping resources including imagery services and online map viewers.

Contact information

Garry Njootli
Job title: 
Yukon Toponymist
Heritage Resources
Cultural Services
Office location: 
100 Hanson Street
Whitehorse, YT
Tourism and Culture
800-661-0408 x3099
Mailing address: 
P.O. Box 2703 (L-1)
Whitehorse, YT Y1A 2C6