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The Province of Ontario

Flag from the Province of Ontario, CanadaOntario is the second largest Province in Canada, behind Québec. Ontario stretches all the way from the Great Lakes on the US border to the frozen shores of Hudson Bay in the north. Most people live in the southern part of Ontario. Toronto is Canada’s biggest city, and it is Ontario’s Capital. Just like Québec, Ontario has a very lively and extensive history. See our map of the Province of Ontario

The largest concentration of people and cities is in the "Golden Horseshoe" along the western end of Lake Ontario including the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.

The "Greater Golden Horseshoe" describes the metropolitan area outside the core region and one of the fastest growing areas in North America. The wider region spreads inland in all directions away from the Lake Ontario shoreline, southwest to Brantford, west to the Kitchener–Waterloo area, north to Barrie, and northeast to Peterborough. Over eight million people live in the "Greater Golden Horseshoe".

Here area some quick facts:

  • Total land area – 1,076,395 km²
  • Population – 13,210,667
  • Coastline – 1,210 km
  • Capital – Toronto
  • Language – English (see below)

Toronto skyline at nightIf you compare the size of the Province of Ontario with the country of Sweden, Ontario is 2.4 times larger. It is 27 times lager then Switzerland, 4.5 times larger then Great Britain, and 1.5 times larger then the State of Texas in the USA.

Population wise, Ontario has 1.4 times more people then Sweden, 1.7 times more then Switzerland. Great Britain has 4.6 times more people and the State of Texas 1.9 times more people.

Ontario History

Ontario became a province of Canada in 1867. Artifacts and archaeological excavation show human habitation of what is today's Ontario, dated back at least 7,000 years. Many distinct native cultures and languages flourished here.

In the north, Algonquin, Cree and Ojibwa people fished and hunted. The first farmers in the south were the Huron, Tobacco, Neutrals, and Iroquois. The Iroquois Five Nations included the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida and Mohawk. The Tuscarora joined the Five Nations in 1722 and henceforth they were known as the Six Nations.

Ottawa CanalThe Iroquois lived mostly in what is now northern New York State until after the American Revolution when many of them moved to Ontario as Loyalists. Distinct native cultures and languages have continued and evolve to this day.

The first Europeans to visit Ontario arrived by boat. French explorers Etienne Brul  and Samuel de Champlain followed the St. Lawrence River into Lake Ontario in 1610 and 1615. Henry Hudson further sailed into Ontario from the north and claimed the Hudson Bay area for Britain in 1611.

The French and British were rivals in the New World as well as in the Old World and fought each other in North America intermittently beginning in the early 1600's. The final war for what is now Canada was fought between the French and the British, the Seven Years War, which began in 1754.

When the war ended, a treaty was signed "The Treaty of Paris", in 1763. France gave up its claims for this land to Great Britain. British settlement was increased by the American Revolution of 1775. This war ended in 1783, with many people who wanted to remain loyal to Britain flocked to Ontario.More on the history on Ontario.


Killarney Provincial Park in Ontario, CanadaThe English language is dominant in Ontario with 83% claiming it as their mother tongue. Many of the people in Ontario are also bilingual.

French is spoken in Ontario by 3%, Chinese by 7%, Italian by 4% and then there are of course many others like Portuguese, Arabic, German, Native and more.

Ontario Tourist Information

There is something to do in Ontario for everyone. How about doing some wine tasting or go shopping in Toronto and a tour of the CN Tower. Don't miss the Byward Market, it is a must. More tourist information

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