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Ontario

Province of Canada

Top 10 Ontario related articles

Ontario
Motto(s): 
Latin: Ut Incepit Fidelis Sic Permanet
("Loyal she began, loyal she remains")
Coordinates: 49°15′00″N 84°30′00″W / 49.25000°N 84.50000°W / 49.25000; -84.50000Coordinates: 49°15′00″N 84°30′00″W / 49.25000°N 84.50000°W / 49.25000; -84.50000
CountryCanada
ConfederationJuly 1, 1867 (1st, with Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick)
CapitalToronto
Largest metroGreater Toronto Area
Government
 • TypeConstitutional monarchy
 • BodyGovernment of Ontario
 • Lieutenant GovernorElizabeth Dowdeswell
 • PremierDoug Ford (PC)
LegislatureLegislative Assembly of Ontario
Federal representationParliament of Canada
House seats121 of 338 (35.8%)
Senate seats24 of 105 (22.9%)
Area
 • Total1,076,395 km2 (415,598 sq mi)
 • Land917,741 km2 (354,342 sq mi)
 • Water158,654 km2 (61,257 sq mi)  14.7%
Area rankRanked 4th
 10.8% of Canada
Population
 (2016)
 • Total13,448,494 [1]
 • Estimate 
(2021 Q1)
14,755,211 [3]
 • RankRanked 1st
 • Density14.65/km2 (37.9/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Ontarian[4]
Official languagesEnglish (de facto)[5]
GDP
 • Rank1st
 • Total (2015)CA$763.276 billion[6]
 • Per capitaCA$59,879 (7th)
HDI
 • HDI (2018)0.929[7]Very high (3rd)
Time zones
East of 90th meridian westUTC-05:00 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-04:00 (EDT)
West of 90th meridian west, except Atikokan and Pickle LakeUTC-06:00 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-05:00 (CDT)
Atikokan and Pickle Lake (No DST)UTC-05:00 (EST)
Postal abbr.
ON
Postal code prefix
K L M N P
ISO 3166 codeCA-ON
FlowerWhite trillium
TreeEastern white pine
BirdCommon loon
Rankings include all provinces and territories

Ontario is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada.[8][9] Located in Central Canada, it is Canada's most populous province, with 38.3 percent of the country's population, and is the second-largest province by total area (after Quebec).[10][11] Ontario is Canada's fourth-largest jurisdiction in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included.[2] It is home to the nation's capital city, Ottawa, and the nation's most populous city, Toronto,[12] which is also Ontario's provincial capital.

Ontario is bordered by the province of Manitoba to the west, Hudson Bay and James Bay to the north, and Quebec to the east and northeast, and to the south by the U.S. states of (from west to east) Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. Almost all of Ontario's 2,700 km (1,678 mi) border with the United States follows inland waterways: from the westerly Lake of the Woods, eastward along the major rivers and lakes of the Great Lakes/Saint Lawrence River drainage system. These include Rainy River, Pigeon River, Lake Superior, St. Marys River, Lake Huron, St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, Detroit River, Lake Erie, Niagara River, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River from Kingston, to the Quebec boundary just east of Cornwall. There is only about 1 km (0.6 mi) of land border, made up of portages including Height of Land Portage on the Minnesota border.[13]

Ontario is sometimes conceptually divided into two regions, Northern Ontario and Southern Ontario. The great majority of Ontario's population and arable land is in the south. In contrast, the larger, northern part of Ontario is sparsely populated with cold winters and heavy forestation.[14]

Ontario Intro articles: 31

Etymology

The province is named after Lake Ontario, a term thought to be derived from Ontarí:io, a Huron (Wyandot) word meaning "great lake",[15] or possibly skanadario, which means "beautiful water" in the Iroquoian languages.[16] Ontario has about 250,000 freshwater lakes.[17]

Ontario Etymology articles: 3

Geography

The province consists of three main geographical regions:

Despite the absence of any mountainous terrain in the province, there are large areas of uplands, particularly within the Canadian Shield which traverses the province from northwest to southeast and also above the Niagara Escarpment which crosses the south. The highest point is Ishpatina Ridge at 693 metres (2,274 ft) above sea level in Temagami, Northeastern Ontario. In the south, elevations of over 500 m (1,640 ft) are surpassed near Collingwood, above the Blue Mountains in the Dundalk Highlands and in hilltops near the Madawaska River in Renfrew County.

The Carolinian forest zone covers most of the southwestern region of the province. The temperate and fertile Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Valley in the south is part of the Eastern Great Lakes lowland forests ecoregion where the forest has now been largely replaced by agriculture, industrial and urban development. A well-known geographic feature is Niagara Falls, part of the Niagara Escarpment. The Saint Lawrence Seaway allows navigation to and from the Atlantic Ocean as far inland as Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario. Northern Ontario covers approximately 87% of the province's surface area; conversely Southern Ontario contains 94% of the population.

Point Pelee is a peninsula of Lake Erie in southwestern Ontario (near Windsor and Detroit, Michigan) that is the southernmost extent of Canada's mainland. Pelee Island and Middle Island in Lake Erie extend slightly farther. All are south of 42°N – slightly farther south than the northern border of California.

Climate

Ontario's climate varies by season and location.[18] Three air sources affect it: cold, dry, arctic air from the north (dominant factor during the winter months, and for a longer part of the year in far northern Ontario); Pacific polar air crossing in from the western Canadian Prairies/US Northern Plains; and warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.[19] The effects of these major air masses on temperature and precipitation depend mainly on latitude, proximity to major bodies of water and to a small extent, terrain relief.[19] In general, most of Ontario's climate is classified as humid continental.[19]

Ontario has three main climatic regions:

  • The surrounding Great Lakes greatly influence the climatic region of southern Ontario.[18] During the fall and winter, the release of heat stored by the lakes moderates the climate near the shores.[20] This gives parts of southern Ontario milder winters than mid-continental areas at lower latitudes.[20] Parts of Southwestern Ontario (generally south of a line from Sarnia–Toronto) have a moderate humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa), similar to the inland Mid-Atlantic states and the Great Lakes portion of the Midwestern United States. The region has warm to hot, humid summers and cold winters. Annual precipitation ranges from 750–1,000 mm (30–39 in) and is well distributed throughout the year. Most of this region lies in the lee of the Great Lakes, making for abundant snow in some areas. In December 2010, the snowbelt set a new record when it was hit by more than a metre of snow within 48 hours.[21]
  • The next climatic region is Central and Eastern Ontario, which has a moderate humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb). This region has warm and sometimes hot summers with colder, longer winters, ample snowfall (even in regions not directly in the snowbelts) and annual precipitation similar to the rest of Southern Ontario.[19]

In the northeastern parts of Ontario, extending south as far as Kirkland Lake, the cold waters of Hudson Bay depress summer temperatures, making it cooler than other locations at similar latitudes. The same is true on the northern shore of Lake Superior, which cools hot, humid air from the south, leading to cooler summer temperatures.[19] Along the eastern shores of Lake Superior and Lake Huron winter temperatures are slightly moderated but come with frequent heavy lake-effect snow squalls that increase seasonal snowfall totals to upwards of 3 m (10 ft) in some places. These regions have higher annual precipitation, in some places over 100 cm (39 in).

Cold northwesterly wind over the Great Lakes creating lake-effect snow. Lake-effect snow most frequently occurs in the snowbelt regions of the province.
  • The northernmost parts of Ontario – primarily north of 50°N – have a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc) with long, severely cold winters and short, cool to warm summers with dramatic temperature changes possible in all seasons. With no major mountain ranges blocking sinking Arctic air masses, temperatures of −40 °C (−40 °F) are not uncommon; snow remains on the ground for sometimes over half the year. Snow accumulation can be high in some areas.[18] Precipitation is generally less than 70 cm (28 in) and peaks in the summer months in the form of rain or thunderstorms.[18]

Severe thunderstorms peak in summer. Windsor, in Southern (Southwestern) Ontario, has the most lightning strikes per year in Canada, averaging 33 days of thunderstorm activity per year.[22] In a typical year, Ontario averages 11 confirmed tornado touchdowns. However, over the last 4 years, it has had upwards of 20 tornado touchdowns per year, with the highest frequency in the Windsor-Essex – Chatham Kent area, though few are very destructive (the majority between F0 to F2 on the Fujita scale). Ontario had a record 29 tornadoes in both 2006 and 2009. Tropical depression remnants occasionally bring heavy rains and winds in the south, but are rarely deadly. A notable exception was Hurricane Hazel which struck Southern Ontario centred on Toronto, in October 1954.

Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for selected locations in Ontario
City July (°C) July (°F) January (°C) January (°F)
Windsor (Windsor International Airport)[23] 28/18 82/64 0/−7 31/19
Niagara Falls (NPCSH)[24] 27/17 81/63 0/−8 30/18
Toronto (The Annex)[25] 27/18 80/64 −1/−7 30/20
Midland (Water Pollution Control Plant)[26] 26/16 78/61 −4/–13 25/8
Ottawa (Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport)[27] 27/16 80/60 −6/−14 22/6
Sudbury (Sudbury Airport)[28] 25/13 77/56 −8/−19 18/0
Emo (Emo Radbourne)[29] 25/11 77/52 −9/–22 15/–9
Thunder Bay (Thunder Bay International Airport)[30] 24/11 76/52 −9/−21 18/−5
Kenora (Kenora Airport)[31] 24/15 76/59 −11/−21 12/−5
Moosonee (UA)[32] 23/9 73/48 −14/–26 8/–15

Ontario Geography articles: 58

History

A 1755 map of the Pays d'en Haut region of New France, an area that included most of Ontario

Pre-European contact

Prior to the arrival of the Europeans,[33] the region was inhabited by Algonquian (Ojibwe, Cree and Algonquin) in the northern/western portions, and Iroquois and Wyandot (Huron) people more in the south/east.[34] During the 17th century, the Algonquians and Hurons fought the Beaver Wars against the Iroquois.[35]

European contact

The French explorer Étienne Brûlé explored part of the area in 1610–12.[36] The English explorer Henry Hudson sailed into Hudson Bay in 1611 and claimed the area for England.

Samuel de Champlain reached Lake Huron in 1615, and French missionaries began to establish posts along the Great Lakes. French settlement was hampered by their hostilities with the Iroquois, who allied themselves with the British.[37] From 1634 to 1640, Hurons were devastated by European infectious diseases, such as measles and smallpox, to which they had no immunity.[38] By 1700, the Iroquois had been driven out or left the area that would become Ontario and the Mississaugas of the Ojibwa had settled the north shore of Lake Ontario. The remaining Huron settled north of Quebec.

The British established trading posts on Hudson Bay in the late 17th century and began a struggle for domination of Ontario with the French. After the French of New France were defeated during the Seven Years' War, the two powers awarded nearly all of France's North American possessions (New France) to Britain in the 1763 Treaty of Paris, including those lands of Ontario not already claimed by Britain. The British annexed the Ontario region to Quebec in 1774.[39]

A monument in Hamilton commemorating the United Empire Loyalists, a group of settlers who fled the United States during or after the American Revolution

The first European settlements were in 1782–1784 when 5,000 United Empire Loyalists entered what is now Ontario following the American Revolution.[40] The Kingdom of Great Britain granted them 200 acres (81 ha) land and other items with which to rebuild their lives.[37] The British also set up reserves in Ontario for the Mohawks who had fought for the British and had lost their land in New York state. Other Iroquois, also displaced from New York were resettled in 1784 at the Six Nations reserve at the west end of Lake Ontario. The Mississaugas, displaced by European settlements, would later move to Six Nations also.

A second wave of Americans, not all of them necessarily loyalists moved to Upper Canada after 1790 until the pre-war of 1812, many seeking available cheap land, and at the time, lower taxation.

The population of Canada west of the St. Lawrence-Ottawa River confluence substantially increased during this period, a fact recognized by the Constitutional Act of 1791, which split Quebec into the Canadas: Upper Canada southwest of the St. Lawrence-Ottawa River confluence, and Lower Canada east of it. John Graves Simcoe was appointed Upper Canada's first Lieutenant governor in 1793.[41]

Upper Canada

American troops in the War of 1812 invaded Upper Canada across the Niagara River and the Detroit River, but were defeated and pushed back by the British, Canadian fencibles and militias, and First Nations warriors. However, the Americans eventually gained control of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The 1813 Battle of York saw American troops defeat the garrison at the Upper Canada capital of York. The Americans looted the town and burned the Upper Canada Parliament Buildings during their brief occupation. The British would burn the American capital of Washington, D.C. in 1814.

Depiction of the Battle of Queenston Heights, during the War of 1812. Upper Canada was an active theatre of operation during the conflict.

After the War of 1812, relative stability allowed for increasing numbers of immigrants to arrive from Europe rather than from the United States. As was the case in the previous decades, this immigration shift was encouraged by the colonial leaders. Despite affordable and often free land, many arriving newcomers, mostly from Britain and Ireland, found frontier life with the harsh climate difficult, and some of those with the means eventually returned home or went south. However, population growth far exceeded emigration in the following decades. It was a mostly agrarian-based society, but canal projects and a new network of plank roads spurred greater trade within the colony and with the United States, thereby improving previously damaged relations over time.

Meanwhile, Ontario's numerous waterways aided travel and transportation into the interior and supplied water power for development. As the population increased, so did the industries and transportation networks, which in turn led to further development. By the end of the century, Ontario vied with Quebec as the nation's leader in terms of growth in population, industry, arts and communications.[42]

Unrest in the colony began to chafe against the aristocratic Family Compact who governed while benefiting economically from the region's resources, and who did not allow elected bodies power. This resentment spurred republican ideals and sowed the seeds for early Canadian nationalism. Accordingly, rebellion in favour of responsible government rose in both regions; Louis-Joseph Papineau led the Lower Canada Rebellion and William Lyon Mackenzie, first Toronto mayor,[43] led the Upper Canada Rebellion. In Upper Canada, the rebellion was quickly a failure. William Lyon Mackenzie escaped to the United States, where he declared the Republic of Canada on Navy Island on the Niagara River.[44]

Canada West

A map highlighting the Canadas, with Upper Canada in orange, and Lower Canada in green. In 1841, the two colonies were united to form the Province of Canada.

Although both rebellions were put down in short order, the British government sent Lord Durham to investigate the causes. He recommended self-government be granted and Lower and Upper Canada be re-joined in an attempt to assimilate the French Canadians. Accordingly, the two colonies were merged into the Province of Canada by the Act of Union 1840, with the capital at Kingston, and Upper Canada becoming known as Canada West.[45] Parliamentary self-government was granted in 1848. There were heavy waves of immigration in the 1840s, and the population of Canada West more than doubled by 1851 over the previous decade. As a result, for the first time, the English-speaking population of Canada West surpassed the French-speaking population of Canada East, tilting the representative balance of power.

An economic boom in the 1850s coincided with railway expansion across the province, further increasing the economic strength of Central Canada. With the repeal of the Corn Laws and a reciprocity agreement in place with the United States, various industries such as timber, mining, farming and alcohol distilling benefited tremendously.

A political stalemate between the French- and English-speaking legislators, as well as fear of aggression from the United States during and immediately after the American Civil War, led the political elite to hold a series of conferences in the 1860s to effect a broader federal union of all British North American colonies. The British North America Act took effect on July 1, 1867, establishing the Dominion of Canada, initially with four provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. The Province of Canada was divided into Ontario and Quebec so that each linguistic group would have its own province. Both Quebec and Ontario were required by section 93 of the British North America Act to safeguard existing educational rights and privileges of the Protestant and Catholic minorities. Thus, separate Catholic schools and school boards were permitted in Ontario. However, neither province had a constitutional requirement to protect its French- or English-speaking minority. Toronto was formally established as Ontario's provincial capital.

Provincehood

Oliver Mowat, Premier of Ontario from 1872 to 1896

Once constituted as a province, Ontario proceeded to assert its economic and legislative power. In 1872, the lawyer Oliver Mowat became Premier of Ontario and remained as premier until 1896. He fought for provincial rights, weakening the power of the federal government in provincial matters, usually through well-argued appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. His battles with the federal government greatly decentralized Canada, giving the provinces far more power than John A. Macdonald had intended. He consolidated and expanded Ontario's educational and provincial institutions, created districts in Northern Ontario, and fought to ensure that those parts of Northwestern Ontario not historically part of Upper Canada (the vast areas north and west of the Lake Superior-Hudson Bay watershed, known as the District of Keewatin) would become part of Ontario, a victory embodied in the Canada (Ontario Boundary) Act, 1889. He also presided over the emergence of the province into the economic powerhouse of Canada. Mowat was the creator of what is often called Empire Ontario.

Beginning with Sir John A. Macdonald's National Policy (1879) and the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (1875–1885) through Northern Ontario and the Canadian Prairies to British Columbia, Ontario manufacturing and industry flourished. However, population increase slowed after a large recession hit the province in 1893, thus slowing growth drastically but for only a few years. Many newly arrived immigrants and others moved west along the railway to the Prairie Provinces and British Columbia, sparsely settling Northern Ontario.

Mineral exploitation accelerated in the late 19th century, leading to the rise of important mining centres in the northeast, such as Sudbury, Cobalt and Timmins. The province harnessed its water power to generate hydro-electric power and created the state-controlled Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario, later Ontario Hydro. The availability of cheap electric power further facilitated the development of industry. The Ford Motor Company of Canada was established in 1904 and the McLaughlin Motor Car Company (later General Motors Canada) was founded in 1907. The motor vehicle industry became the most lucrative industry for the Ontario economy during the 20th century.

In July 1912, the Conservative government of Sir James Whitney issued Regulation 17 which severely limited the availability of French-language schooling to the province's French-speaking minority. French Canadians reacted with outrage, journalist Henri Bourassa denouncing the "Prussians of Ontario". The regulation was eventually repealed in 1927.

Law enforcement confiscate stores of alcohol in Elk Lake in an effort to enforce prohibition. The prohibition measures were introduced in 1916 and were not repealed until 1927.

Influenced by events in the United States, the government of Sir William Hearst introduced prohibition of alcoholic drinks in 1916 with the passing of the Ontario Temperance Act. However, residents could distil and retain their own personal supply, and liquor producers could continue distillation and export for sale, allowing this already sizeable industry to strengthen further. Ontario became a hotbed for the illegal smuggling of liquor and the biggest supplier into the United States, which was under complete prohibition. Prohibition in Ontario came to an end in 1927 with the establishment of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario under the government of Howard Ferguson. The sale and consumption of liquor, wine, and beer are still controlled by some of the most extreme laws in North America to ensure strict community standards and revenue generation from the alcohol retail monopoly are upheld.

The post-World War II period was one of exceptional prosperity and growth. Ontario has been the recipients of most immigration to Canada, largely immigrants from war-torn Europe in the 1950s and 1960s and following changes in federal immigration law, a massive influx of non-Europeans since the 1970s. From a largely ethnically British province, Ontario has rapidly become culturally very diverse.

A monument commemorating the immigrant family in Toronto. The province saw a large number of migrants settle in Ontario in the decades following World War II.

The nationalist movement in Quebec, particularly after the election of the Parti Québécois in 1976, contributed to driving many businesses and English-speaking people out of Quebec to Ontario, and as a result, Toronto surpassed Montreal as the largest city and economic centre of Canada.[46] Depressed economic conditions in the Maritime Provinces have also resulted in de-population of those provinces in the 20th century, with heavy migration into Ontario.[47][48]

Ontario's official language is English, although there exists a number of French-speaking communities across Ontario.[49] French-language services are made available for communities with a sizeable French-speaking population; a service that is ensured under the French Language Services Act of 1989.

Territorial evolution

Until 1763, most of Ontario was considered part of New France by French claim. Rupert's Land, defined as the drainage basin of Hudson Bay, was claimed by Britain, and included much of today's Northern Ontario. The British defeated the armies of the French colony and its indigenous allies in the French and Indian War, part of the Seven Years' War global conflict. Concluding the war, the peace treaty between the European powers, known as the Treaty of Paris 1763, assigned almost all of France's possessions in North America to Britain, including parts that would later become Ontario not already part of Rupert's Land. Britain established the first Province of Quebec, encompassing contemporary Quebec and southern Ontario.

After the American War of Independence, the first reserves for First Nations were established. These are situated at Six Nations (1784), Tyendinaga (1793) and Akwesasne (1795). Six Nations and Tyendinaga were established by the British for those indigenous groups who had fought on the side of the British, and were expelled from the new United States. Akwesasne was a pre-existing Mohawk community and its borders were formalized under the 1795 Jay Treaty.

In 1788, while part of the Province of Quebec, southern Ontario was divided into four districts: Hesse, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, and Nassau. In 1792, the four districts were renamed: Hesse became the Western District, Lunenburg became the Eastern District, Mecklenburg became the Midland District, and Nassau became the Home District. Counties were created within the districts.

By 1798, there were eight districts: Eastern, Home, Johnstown, London, Midland, Newcastle, Niagara, and Western. By 1826, there were eleven districts: Bathurst, Eastern, Gore, Home, Johnstown, London, Midland, Newcastle, Niagara, Ottawa, and Western. By 1838, there were twenty districts: Bathurst, Brock, Colbourne, Dalhousie, Eastern, Gore, Home, Huron, Johnstown, London, Midland, Newcastle, Niagara, Ottawa, Prince Edward, Simcoe, Talbot, Victoria, Wellington, and Western.

In 1849, the districts of southern Ontario were abolished by the Province of Canada, and county governments took over certain municipal responsibilities. The Province of Canada also began creating districts in sparsely populated Northern Ontario with the establishment of Algoma District and Nipissing District in 1858.

Evolution of the borders of Ontario since Canadian Confederation in 1867

The borders of Ontario, its new name in 1867, were provisionally expanded north and west. When the Province of Canada was formed, its borders were not entirely clear, and Ontario claimed eventually to reach all the way to the Rocky Mountains and Arctic Ocean. With Canada's acquisition of Rupert's Land, Ontario was interested in clearly defining its borders, especially since some of the new areas in which it was interested were rapidly growing. After the federal government asked Ontario to pay for construction in the new disputed area, the province asked for an elaboration on its limits, and its boundary was moved north to the 51st parallel north.[50]

The northern and western boundaries of Ontario were in dispute after Canadian Confederation. Ontario's right to Northwestern Ontario was determined by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in 1884 and confirmed by the Canada (Ontario Boundary) Act, 1889 of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. By 1899, there were seven northern districts: Algoma, Manitoulin, Muskoka, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, and Thunder Bay. Four more northern districts were created between 1907 and 1912: Cochrane, Kenora, Sudbury and Timiskaming.[51]

Ontario History articles: 126