baby name AvonleaThe baby name Avonlea comes from one of the most beloved fictional places of all time.

Thanks to Kaeli for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.


Avonlea is, of course, the setting for Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery’s perpetually popular novel, as well as the sequels that followed.

The pronunciation is three syllables: ah von LEE.

Anne Shirley, the young orphan in the title, is a kindred spirit for any name fan. When she first arrives in her new home, she attempts to convince her new family to call her Cordelia. When they refuse, she tacks the “e” on to Ann. A recent television adaptation took the titlle Anne With an E.

Since the original novel’s 1908 publication, it has been translated into many languages, spawned sequels and stage and film adaptations, and sparked tourism on Prince Edward Island, the site that inspired so many of the fictional Avonlea locations.

There is a real village in Saskatchewan called Avonlea – but it was named after the books.

In the 1990s, a television series called Road to Avonlea was adapted from some of Montgomery’s other novels, the ones that started out with the arrival of Sara Stanley in Avonlea.


Known for its rugged, natural beauty, Prince Edward Island is one of Canada’s thirteen provinces. It sits in the Gulf of St. Lawrence,

It was also the birthplace of author Lucy Maud Montgomery. She drew inspiration from her home, including a real farm called Green Gables. The property was owned by relatives, and it’s now preserved as Green Gables Heritage Place.

While Avonlea might be imaginary, the tranquility of a small farming community and the appeal of the natural world are very real.


It’s clear where the author found the inspiration for her fictional community.

But how about the name Avonlea?

It’s not certain, but a few possibilities include:

  • Avon is an old Welsh word meaning river, and it’s a common river name throughout the UK. It’s a cousin to Afton. (So River Avon means, loosely, “river river.”)
  • Lea almost certainly comes from the Old English word leah, meaning woodland or clearing. It’s the source of the -ley ending in names like Ashley and so many many more.
  • It’s also similar to Avalon, the name for paradise in Arthurian legend.

The most obvious interpretation is to combine the first two distinct elements and arrive at “clearing by the river.” Even though Avonlea is a name rich with charm, that’s a surprisingly generic – and flexible – meaning.


Few cultural influences are as enduring as Anne of Green Gables. The books have been widely read for over a century.

And yet, at least in the US, it wasn’t until the 1990 television series based on the books debuted that parents started to choose Avonlea as a first name.

The name peaked in 2017, the same year Anne With an E debuted internationally. 95 newborn girls were named Avonlea.

While it’s fallen in recent years, 64 girls received the name in 2022.

In many ways, Avonlea blends multiple characteristics: it’s a place name borrowed from fiction, which makes it quite bold and modern. But the stories themselves are from a simpler time, a mix of nostalgia and classic literary appeal. It’s a different name, to be sure, but it’s one that suggests a sort of old-fashioned sensibility.


In many ways, the baby name Avonlea fits with popular names right now. We love girl names like Evelyn and Everly. Potential nicknames, including Ava and Lea, are current favorites, too.

Choosing the name clearly marks the parents as fans of Anne, in a way that Anne, Lucy, or even Cordelia wouldn’t achieve. It’s a bolder choice, one that makes clear a connection to the fictional world.

And yet, there’s a simple beauty to Avonlea. It’s not nearly as novel as Khaleesi or Mazikeen. Yes, it’s a borrowing from fiction, but it’s a classic work with years of history behind it, and solid real-world inspiration.

If you love the stories, and hope to blend the unexpected with the more traditional, Avonlea is the rare choice that hits the mark.

What do you think of the baby name Avonlea?

First published on May 15, 2013, this post was revised and re-published on November 14, 2023.

baby name Avonlea

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Avonlea Rose was the perfect name for our sweet two year old. It is as unique as she, and sounds both modern and vintage at the same time. We’ve had nothing but compliments on her beautiful name from people of all ages. Wherever she goes, she will be remembered. Never wanted a nickname. Avonlea is perfect as it is.

  2. My 3 month old little girl is named Avonlea Ivy. I’ve loved the name since the show The Road to Avonlea on the Disney channel in the 90s. When I pronounce the name aloud, I get SO many compliments. When people see it spelled out, they are confused and want to say AVON-LEE-AH. We pronounce it Ah-vin/von-lee (if you say von fast enough it tends to sound like vin). I think in time, everyone will get the hang of the spelling and pronounciation. I’m really happy with her name!

  3. My daughter was born in 2011. Her name is Avonlea. She was one of the 64 named in this article. Pretty cool! And we get compliments all the time on the beauty of her name.

    1. I knew when I was 17 that I would name my first daughter Avonlea.13 years later, I have an Avonlea…

  4. My 5 year old is named Avonlea Jade. We decided on the name after/during our first trip to PEI. We have since gone back and taken Avonlea to Avonlea Village on the island. That was quite fun for her to see her name everywhere. I have yet to meet someone who dislikes the name, in fact People often go out of their way to tell us how much they love it and how pretty it is. We do give her nicknames. Av-ee, or Jadie from her middle name. It did take a little too grow on me, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. If you are on the fence about naming your daughter Avonlea, I say go for it.

  5. My daughter Avonlea Anne is 2, I have always loved the Anne books and always thought it would be a beautiful name for a little girl. We will forever need to teach people how to spell it and pronounce it, and where it came from. We don’t shorten it or give her a nick name. I wonder if she will be a fan someday, she likes watching the animated series, but is confused that shes not seeing a character associated with the name (shes very into Abby Cadabby on Sesame Street because momma is Abby. Lol) I’m very excited to see others who have named their daughters Avonlea as well, we plan to take a trip to PEI someday.

    1. Now my second daughter is due VERY soon and we are at a complete loss for a name! How do you pick a name that holds up to the beauty and individuality of Avonlea Anne!?

  6. My 1 year old daughter is named Avonlea. I love the name! It is hard for people to pronounce but once they hear it, it sticks. My husband and I had the name for 11 years before our daughter was born. We actually thought of it as we were shopping in Boise, Idaho and saw a store named Avonlea. Most people love her name!

  7. About 30 years ago I fell in love with the “anne of Green Gables” books. I read them endlessly and watched the PBS mini-series everytime it came on. I told my mother that when I had a daughter she would be named after Anne. Sixteen years ago I had a daughter and I never forgot my promise…she was immediately named Avonlea Cambria.
    I love that no one I knew had the name and still no one in the area does. It makes her unique. She is not a fan of the books, but someday I hope she will appreciate the decison I made.

  8. Oh, I LOVE Avonlea and Marilla. I keep hearing in my head “Rilla-my-Rilla” from Rilla of Ingleside.

    Avonlea was short-listed for our latest daughter, until one of my friends said she knew a little Avonlea and my tween son invited over an older Avonlea. I know it’s still relatively uncommon–so far–but all two in Washington state were in my circle of acquaintance so I backburnered it. Alas. (we went with Cora Dove instead.)

    Avonlea does seem to be enjoying a small uptrend among Christian/traditional parents. I am still gunning for Marilla for a future daughter. Can we do that name next?

  9. I have a four-year-old daughter named Avonlea Jane, and she always gets complimented on her name, though we had a lot of mispronunciations in the beginning. It certainly does call you out as an Anne fan.