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Should You Use a Toronto-based IG Username or Your Own Name?

In this article we discuss the pros and cons of using a Toronto-based username for your Instagram account or deriving a handle from your own name. Should you be known as your name or a nickname? What is best for marketing your photography?

In the end it’s up to you what you do. Nobody knows you better than you. We are writing this from the perspective of a feature account so keep that in mind.

What name should you use for your Instagram account?

It goes without saying that many common names are taken. Whether everyday words or common names, you cannot claim names like “dslr shooter” or “Paul Smith” – there are already people who came before you and registered these names. This is also true for domain names but we’ll tackle that in a separate article. 

What are the pros and cons of a city-based name?

So getting to the point of this article let’s discuss the merits or disadvantages to using words derived from your city’s name or nickname.


  • identifies you as a local
  • quick brand recognition
  • mass appeal


  • Restricts identity to your locality
  • Can have generic feel (unoriginal)
  • Confusion for other users

Common words for Toronto-based Instagram accounts

Our list of over-used or trendy words related to this city include: Toronto, 6ix, TO, Tdot, YYZ and other spellings such as Six or T-dot or T.O. There are probably others but these ones are common. Hey, we have even used the word “Tdot” right? Yes, but we are a Toronto feature page; it makes some sense for us to do this. And just for your info based on the use of the hashtags #toronto and #tdot the usage of Toronto is at least 10X more common than Tdot. So our name is semi-original.

This is not a rule – some people have dope TO-based handles 

In our Instagram stories today we mentioned a few locals who have city-derived names but we follow and feature: @to_shots and @6ix.angle – these are two of our favourite local photographers. In no way are we suggesting they made a poor mistake in choosing their names. Both are proud Torontonians and chose names that reflected their personality and content.

However from the point of view of very active Instagram users we can tell you there’s a trend in people naming their personal instagram accounts with Toronto-based keywords. They often get randomly tagged because people think “Toronto 6ix” anything is a likely feature page. And it usually is!

Nicknames vs real names

The well-known @mindzeye is an example of a clever nickname-based username. Super popular @petermckinnon comes to mind as well but Peter chose to use his real full name. He’s also heavy into self-marketing so that is part of the mission as well. Whether you choose a nickname or invented name or some variation of your real name, pick something you like and will be comfortable with for a while.

Stick with it!

Some people jump around with their usernames but if you are going to switch names try to do it only once. Sometimes even well-known feature accounts change their names. Once upon a time there was a big Toronto page called @6ix.grams – now they are known as @toronto.culture.

Originality is always key

In the end we are only encouraging you to seek an original name. It’s up to you whether your account relates to your name or nickname, your business or organization or your city, region or country. Seek uniqueness in both your style and your naming and some kind of success will follow.


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