Two-week-old Amelia Savannah Joy McLaughlin will thank her parents one day she wasn't given a name in honour of a fictional sea monster and an object from the Transformers series: Cthulhu All-Spark.
When Stephen McLaughlin and his wife Alysha, couldn't agree on a name for their baby, the self-described geek turned to the Internet in January for suggestions. His website, NameMyDaughter.com, would attract over 150,000 votes and a million visitors. The top vote-getter was Cthulhu, but the couple wound up choosing the runner-up, Amelia.
"I spend a lot of time on the Internet looking for answers," explained the Kelowna-based web developer. "So I thought maybe that I should ask an old friend and see what the Internet would come up with."
His wife was skeptical, but once she saw the reaction she was supportive, he says. Expecting a number of outlandish suggestions, Mr. McLaughlin posted a caveat on the website's front page: The final decision would be up to him and his wife.
"Unfortunately internet I know better than to trust you. We will ultimately be making the final decision. Alas my daughter shall not be named WackyTaco692," he wrote.
While some silliness materialized, Cthulhu-type suggestions were the exception. Mr. McLaughlin says he was surprised by the balance between the "crazy stuff and the genuine suggestions." Along with Amelia – the second most popular choice after Cthulhu – people also voted in droves for Charlotte and Leslie.
One of the popular names that stuck with him was Le–a (pronounced Le-dash-ah). "At first I thought it was made up, but it's apparently a real name," he said.
Mr. McLaughlin's colleagues bought him a hooded towel with an octopus, an allusion to the character introduced by H.P. Lovecraft in a 1928 short story. The Cthulhu is depicted as a large winged creature with an octopus head.
"They were fully behind the name Cthulhu," he says with a laugh.
The couple selected Amelia as their daughter's name three days after she was born. While they had previously discussed the name as an option, the name's online popularity swayed the choice.
Mr. McLaughlin will now store the website to show their daughter when she's older. The reaction has been generally positive, he says.
"I've had messages on Twitter and Reddit where people think it's an amazing idea that'll leave a legacy for her one day, and then you've got people who didn't read the headline about how we won't name her something crazy and they are really negative towards it," he said.
Even had she been named Cthulhu, young Amelia would one day find Canadians with names just as strange. According to a database maintained by the Alberta government, one student starting kindergarten this year was name Ericlindross, another was named Albertarose.
No evidence exists that the parents of either child can cite a popular vote for their choices.