How did a small community in Southern Alberta get the name “Midnapore” ?

Midnapore is a community within the City of Calgary in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is bounded to the north and east by Fish Creek Provincial Park, to the south by Sun Valley Boulevard and to the west by Macleod Trail.

The area had been named Fish Creek until 1883, when it was renamed Midnapore. The name originally comes from the city and region of Midnapore, in West Bengal, India. Midnapore is a pretty unique name. It is an anglicization of the Sanskrit work “Medinipur” or “Midnapur”, much as Singapore is an Anglicization of Singapura.

Midnapore, South Alberta

There are several stories regarding how the exotic name found its way to the other side of the planet. The most common story is that a parcel or letter destined for Midnapore, India was misdelivered to Fish Creek, where the first pioneer, John Glenn, handed it to his literate neighbour Samuel Shaw. Sam Shaw received it and named the area, becoming postmaster at the same time.

A second is that Samuel Shaw, looking to name the community, had his daughter place her finger on a random spot on a map; she pointed towards India, and Midnapore was chosen.

A final story, less common than the others, is that the name came from a former British Naval Officer, Captain Boynton, who resided in the Fish Creek area and had served with the British Army in India, bringing the name from his worldly travels.

Regardless of which story is true, it is always palatable to see Indian name in foreign country. Somehow it gives a feeling of India’s omnipresence in the globe!

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