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Ontario (; ) is one of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada and is located in east-central .Ontario is located in the geographic , but it has historically and politically been considered to be part of (along with ). It is Canada's most populous province accounting for 38.3 percent of the country's population, and is the second-largest province in total area. Ontario is fourth-largest in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and are included. It is home to the nation's capital city, , and the nation's most populous city, , which is also Ontario's provincial capital.

Ontario is bordered by the province of to the west, and to the north, and to the east and northeast, and to the south by the U.S. states of (from west to east) , , , and New York. Almost all of Ontario's border with the United States follows : from the west at Lake of the Woods, eastward along the major rivers and lakes of the /Saint Lawrence River drainage system. These are the Rainy River, the Pigeon River, , the St. Marys River, , the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, the , , the , and along the St. Lawrence River from Kingston, Ontario, to the Quebec boundary just east of Cornwall, Ontario. There is only about of land border made up of portages including Height of Land Portage on the Minnesota border.

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


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


Geography
The province consists of three main geographical regions:
  • The thinly populated in the northwestern and central portions, which comprises over half the land area of Ontario. Although this area mostly does not support agriculture, it is rich in and in part covered by the Central and Midwestern Canadian Shield forests, studded with lakes and rivers. is subdivided into two sub-regions: Northwestern Ontario and Northeastern Ontario.
  • The virtually unpopulated Hudson Bay Lowlands in the extreme north and northeast, mainly swampy and sparsely forested.
  • which is further sub-divided into four regions; (although not actually the province's geographic centre), , and Southwestern Ontario (parts of which were formerly referred to as Western Ontario).

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 at above sea level in , Northeastern Ontario. In the south, elevations of over are surpassed near Collingwood, above the Blue Mountains in the Dundalk Highlands and in hilltops near the Madawaska River in .

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 where the forest has now been largely replaced by agriculture, industrial and urban development. A well-known geographic feature is , part of the Niagara Escarpment. The Saint Lawrence Seaway allows navigation to and from the as far inland as in Northwestern Ontario. occupies roughly 87 percent of the surface area of the province; conversely Southern Ontario contains 94 percent of the population.

Point Pelee is a peninsula of Lake Erie in southwestern Ontario (near Windsor and ) 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 .


Climate
The climate of Ontario varies by season and location. It is affected by three air sources: 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 ; and warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. 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. In general, most of Ontario's climate is classified as humid continental. Ontario has three main climatic regions.

The surrounding Great Lakes greatly influence the climatic region of southern Ontario. During the fall and winter months, heat stored from the lakes is released, moderating the climate near the shores of the lakes. This gives some parts of southern Ontario milder winters than mid-continental areas at lower latitudes. Parts of Southwestern Ontario (generally south of a line from Sarnia-Toronto) have a moderate humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa), similar to that of the inland Mid-Atlantic states and the portion of the Midwestern United States. The region has warm to hot, humid summers and cold winters. Annual precipitation ranges from 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 set a new record when it was hit by more than a metre of snow within 48 hours. 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.

In the northeastern parts of Ontario, extending far as south as , 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. Along the eastern shores of and winter temperatures are slightly moderated but come with frequent heavy squalls that increase seasonal snowfall totals upwards of in some places. These regions have higher annual precipitation in some case over . 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 , temperatures of are not uncommon; snowfall remains on the ground for sometimes over half the year. Snowfall accumulation can be high in some areas. Precipitation is generally less than and peaks in the summer months in the form of showers or thunderstorms.

Severe thunderstorms peak in summer. London, situated in (Southwestern) Ontario, has the most lightning strikes per year in Canada, averaging 34 days of thunderstorm activity per year. In a typical year, Ontario averages 11 confirmed touchdowns. However, over the last 4 years, it has had upwards of 20 tornado touchdowns per year, with the highest frequency occurring in the Windsor-Essex – Chatham Kent area, though few are very destructive (the majority between F0 to F2 on the ). Ontario had a record 29 tornadoes in both 2006 and 2009. remnants occasionally bring heavy rains and winds in the south, but are rarely deadly. A notable exception was which struck Southern Ontario centred on Toronto, in October 1954.

+ Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for selected locations in Ontario
31/19
30/18
30/20
25/8
22/6
18/0
15/–9
18/−5
12/−5
8/-15


History

Territorial evolution
Land was not legally subdivided into administrative units until a treaty had been concluded with the Aboriginal people ceding the land. In 1788, while part of the Province of Quebec, southern Ontario was divided into four districts: Hesse, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, and .

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, , and Western.

By 1826, there were eleven districts: Bathurst, Eastern, Gore, Home, Johnstown, London, Midland, Newcastle, Niagara, , and Western.

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

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

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 and . 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.

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.


European contact
Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the region was inhabited by Algonquian (, and ) in the northern/western portions, and and Wyandot (Huron) people more in the south/east. During the 17th century, the Algonquians and Hurons fought the against the Iroquois. The French explorer Étienne Brûlé explored part of the area in 1610–12. The English explorer sailed into 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. From 1634 to 1640, Hurons were devastated by European infectious diseases, such as and , to which they had no immunity. By 1700, the Iroquois had seceded from 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 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 () 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. The first European settlements were in 1782–1784 when 5,000 American loyalists entered what is now Ontario following the American Revolution. The Kingdom of Great Britain granted them land and other items with which to rebuild their lives. The British also set up reservations in Ontario for the 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.

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 : southwest of the St. Lawrence-Ottawa River confluence, and east of it. John Graves Simcoe was appointed Upper Canada's first Lieutenant governor in 1793.


Upper Canada
American troops in the War of 1812 invaded Upper Canada across the and the , but were defeated and pushed back by the British, Canadian and militias, and warriors. However, eventually, the Americans 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 the brief occupation. The British would burn the American capital of Washington, D.C. in 1814.

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 decades that followed. 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 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.

Unrest in the colony began to chafe against the aristocratic 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 led the Upper Canada Rebellion.


Canada West
Although both rebellions were put down in short order, the British government sent Lord Durham to investigate the causes of the unrest. He recommended that self-government be granted and that Lower and Upper Canada be re-joined in an attempt to assimilate the . 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. Parliamentary 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 , 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 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 - and -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 Protestant and the Catholic minority. 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
Once constituted as a province, Ontario proceeded to assert its economic and legislative power. In 1872, the lawyer 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 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 (1879) and the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (1875–1885) through Northern Ontario and the Canadian Prairies to , 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.

exploitation accelerated in the late 19th century, leading to the rise of important mining centres in the northeast, such as , Cobalt and . The province harnessed its water power to generate hydro-electric power and created the state-controlled Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario, later . The availability of cheap electric power further facilitated the development of industry. The Ford Motor Company of Canada was established in 1904. General Motors Canada was formed in 1918. 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 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 denouncing the "Prussians of Ontario". The regulation was eventually repealed in 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 distill 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 . The sale and consumption of liquor, wine, and beer are still controlled by some of the most extreme laws in North America to ensure that strict community standards and revenue generation from the alcohol retail monopoly are upheld. In April 2007, Ontario Member of Provincial Parliament suggested that local brewers should be able to sell their beer in local corner stores; however, the motion was quickly rejected by Premier .

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 , a massive influx of non-Europeans since the 1970s. From a largely British province, Ontario has rapidly become culturally very diverse.

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 as the largest city and economic centre of Canada. Depressed economic conditions in the have also resulted in de-population of those provinces in the 20th century, with heavy migration into Ontario.

Ontario's official language is English. Numerous French-language services are available under the French Language Services Act of 1990 in designated areas where sizeable populations exist.


Demographics

In the 2011 census, Ontario had a population of 12,851,821 living in 4,887,508 of its 5,308,785 total dwellings, a 5.7 percent change from its 2006 population of 12,160,282. With a land area of , it had a population density of in 2011. In 2013, Statistics Canada estimated the province's population to be 13,537,994.

The percentages given below add to more than 100 percent because of dual responses (e.g., "French and Canadian" response generates an entry both in the category "" and in the category "Canadian").

The majority of Ontarians are of English or other European descent including large Scottish, Irish and Italian communities. Slightly less than 5 percent of the population of Ontario is , that is those whose native tongue is French, although those with French ancestry account for 11 percent of the population. In relation to natural increase or inter-provincial migration, immigration is a huge population growth force in Ontario, as it has been over the last two centuries. More recent sources of immigrants with large or growing communities in Ontario include South Asians, Caribbeans, Latin Americans, Europeans, Asians, and Africans. Most populations have settled in the larger urban centres.

In 2011, 25.9 percent of the population consisted of visible minorities and 2.4 percent of the population was Aboriginal, mostly of and Métis descent. There was also a small number of people in the province. The number of Aboriginal people and visible minorities has been increasing at a faster rate than the general population of Ontario.


Religion
In 2011, the largest religious denominations in Ontario were the Roman Catholic Church (with 31.4% of the population), the United Church of Canada (7.5%), and the Anglican Church (6.1%). 23.1% of Ontarians had no religious affiliation, making it the second-largest religious grouping in the province after Roman Catholics.

The major religious groups in Ontario in 2011 were:

31.4

23.1

21.1

9.7

4.6

2.9

2.4

1.5

1.4

1.3

0.5


Language
The principal language of Ontario is English, the province's official language, which is spoken natively by about 70% of the province's population, according to the 2011 census. There is also a French-speaking population concentrated in the northeastern, eastern, and extreme Southern parts of the province, where under the French Language Services Act, provincial government services are required to be available in French if at least 10% of a designated area's population report French as their native language. Roughly 4% of Ontarians speak French as their mother tongue, and 11% are bilingual, speaking both English and French, according to the 2011 census. Other languages spoken by residents include Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Dutch, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Urdu and Vietnamese.


Economy
Ontario is Canada's leading manufacturing province, accounting for 52% of the total national manufacturing shipments in 2004. Ontario's largest trading partner is the American state of . , Moody's bond-rating agency rated Ontario debt at AA2/stable, while S&P rated it AA-. Dominion Bond Rating Service rated it AA(low) in January 2013. Long known as a bastion of Canadian manufacturing and financial solvency, Ontario's public debt-to-GDP ratio is projected to be 37.2% in 2019–2020, compared to 26% in 2007–2008.

Ontario's rivers make it rich in hydroelectric energy. In 2009, Ontario Power Generation generated 70 percent of the electricity of the province, of which 51 percent is , 39% is and 10% is derived. By 2025, nuclear power is projected to supply 42%, while fossil-fuel-derived generation is projected to decrease slightly over the next 20 years. Much of the newer power generation coming online in the last few years is natural gas or combined-cycle natural gas plants. OPG is not, however, responsible for the transmission of power, which is under the control of . Despite its diverse range of power options, problems related to increasing consumption, lack of energy efficiency and aging nuclear reactors, Ontario has been forced in recent years to purchase power from its neighbours Quebec and Michigan to supplement its power needs during peak consumption periods. Ontario's basic domestic rate in 2010 was 11.17 cents per kWH; by contrast. Quebec's was 6.81. In December 2013, the government projected a 42 percent hike by 2018, and 68 percent by 2033. Industrial rates are projected to rise by 33% by 2018, and 55% in 2033.

An abundance of , excellent transportation links to the American heartland and the inland Great Lakes making ocean access possible via , have all contributed to making manufacturing the principal industry of the province, found mainly in the Golden Horseshoe region, which is the largest dustrialized area in Canada, the southern end of the region being part of the North American . Important products include motor vehicles, iron, steel, food, electrical appliances, machinery, chemicals, and paper.

Ontario surpassed Michigan in car production, assembling 2.696 million vehicles in 2004. Ontario has plants in Windsor and Bramalea, two plants in Oshawa and one in Ingersoll, a assembly plant in , plants in Oakville and St. Thomas and assembly plants in Cambridge and Woodstock. However, as a result of steeply declining sales, in 2005, announced massive layoffs at production facilities across North America including two large GM plants in and a facility in St. Catharines resulting in 8,000 job losses in Ontario alone. In 2006, Ford Motor Company announced between 25,000 and 30,000 layoffs phased until 2012; Ontario was spared the worst, but job losses were announced for the St Thomas facility and the plant. However, these losses will be offset by Ford's recent announcement of a facility slated to begin production in 2007 at its Oakville plant and GM's re-introduction of the which will be produced in Oshawa. On December 4, 2008 announced the grand opening of the RAV4 plant in Woodstock, and also has plans to add an engine plant at its facility in Alliston. Despite these new plants coming online, Ontario has not yet fully recovered following massive layoffs caused by the global recession; its unemployment rate was 7.3% in May 2013, compared to 8.7 percent in January 2010 and approximately 6% in 2007. In September 2013, the Ontario government committed CAD$70.9 million to the Ford plant in Oakville, while the federal government committed CAD$71.1mn, to secure 2,800 jobs. The province has lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs in the decade from 2003, and the Bank of Canada noted that "while the energy and mining industries have benefitted from these movements, the pressure on the manufacturing sector has intensified, since many firms in this sector were already dealing with growing competition from low-cost economies such as China."

Ontario's steel industry once centred on Hamilton. Hamilton harbour, which can be seen as one drives the Skyway bridge, is an industrial wasteland; U.S. Steel-owned announced in the autumn of 2013 that it would close in 2014, with the loss of 875 jobs. The move flummoxed a union representative, who seemed puzzled why a plant with capacity of 2 million tons per annum would be shut while Canada imported 8 million tons of steel the year before. maintains a plant in Sault Ste Marie.

, the capital of Ontario, is the centre of Canada's financial services and banking industry. Neighbouring cities are home to product distribution, IT centres, and various manufacturing industries. Canada's Federal Government is the largest single employer in the National Capital Region, which centres on the border cities of Ontario's Ottawa and Quebec's . "Federal government employment, wages and salaries, by census metropolitan area – (Employment)", 2006–2010 , Statistics Canada "Labour force characteristics, unadjusted, by census metropolitan area (3 month moving average) – (Ottawa-Gatineau (Ont.-Que.), Ottawa (Ont.)-Gatineau (Que.), Ontario part, Ottawa (Ont.)-Gatineau (Que.), Quebec part)", 2010/2011 , Statistics Canada

The information technology sector is important, particularly in the Silicon Valley North section of , as well as the Waterloo Region, where the world headquarters of Research in Motion (the developers of the smartphone) is located. BlackBerry once provided more than 19 percent of the local jobs and employed more than 13% of the entire local population before it supplied 9,500 layoffs in 2013. and ATS Automation Tooling Systems of Cambridge make their homes in the area too. , one of the founders of RIM, founded in 1999 the Perimeter Institute, then in 2002 the Institute for Quantum Computing, then in 2013 Quantum Valley Investments, to plow a portion of the benefits of RIM back into research and development.

In 2014, the section of Highway 401 between Toronto and Waterloo became the world's second-largest innovation corridor after California's , employing nearly 280,000 tech workers from around the world and containing over 60% of Canada's industry.

Hamilton is the largest steel manufacturing city in Canada followed closely by Sault Ste. Marie, and is the centre for production. Construction employed more than 6.5% of the province's work force in June 2011. "Employment by major industry groups, seasonally adjusted, by province (monthly) – (Ontario)", June 2011, Statistics Canada

Mining and the forest products industry, notably pulp and paper, are vital to the economy of Northern Ontario. There has been controversy over the Ring of Fire mineral deposit, and whether the province can afford to spend CAD$2.25 billion on a road from the Trans-Canada Highway near to the deposit, currently valued at CAD$60 billions.

Tourism contributes heavily to the economy of Central Ontario, peaking during the summer months owing to the abundance of fresh water recreation and wilderness found there in reasonable proximity to the major urban centres. At other times of the year, , and are popular. This region has some of the most vibrant fall colour displays anywhere on the continent, and tours directed at overseas visitors are organized to see them. Tourism also plays a key role in border cities with large casinos, among them Windsor, Cornwall, Sarnia and Niagara Falls, the latter of which attracts millions of US and other international visitors.


Agriculture
Once the dominant industry, agriculture occupies a small percentage of the population. However, much of the land in southern Ontario is given over to agriculture. As the following table shows, while the number of individual farms has steadily decreased and their overall size has shrunk at a lower rate, greater mechanization has supported increased supply to satisfy the ever-increasing demands of a growing population base; this has also meant a gradual increase in the total amount of land used for growing crops.

Common types of farms reported in the 2001 census include those for cattle, small grains and dairy. The fruit- and grape-growing industry is primarily on the Niagara Peninsula and along Lake Erie, where farms are also situated. Market vegetables grow in the rich soils of the near Newmarket. The area near Windsor is also very fertile. The Heinz plant in Leamington was taken over in these autumn of 2013 by and a Brazilian partner, following which it put 740 people out of work. Government subsidies followed shortly; Premier offered CAD$200,000 to cushion the blow, and promised that another processed-food operator would soon be found. On December 10, 2013, Kellogg's announced layoffs for more than 509 workers at a cereal manufacture plant in London. Kellogg's plans to relocate jobs to Thailand.

The area defined as the covers much of the southwestern area of the province, extending as far north as close to Goderich, but corn and soy are grown throughout the southern portion of the province. Apple orchards are a common sight along the southern shore of (part of Georgian Bay) near Collingwood and along the northern shore of Lake Ontario near Cobourg. Tobacco production, centred in Norfolk County, has decreased, allowing an increase in alternative crops such as and . The Ontario origins of , once one of the largest farm-implement manufacturers in the world, indicate the importance agriculture once had to the Canadian economy.

's limited supply of agricultural land is going out of production at an increasing rate. and farmland severances contribute to the loss of thousands of acres of productive agricultural land in Ontario each year. Over 2,000 farms and of farmland in the GTA alone were lost to production in the two decades between 1976 and 1996. This loss represented approximately 18%". of Ontario's Class 1 farmland being converted to urban purposes. In addition, increasing rural severances provide ever-greater interference with agricultural production.


Energy
The Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009 (GEA), takes a two-pronged approach to commercializing renewable energy:

  1. bringing more renewable energy sources to the province
  2. adopting more energy-efficiency measures to help conserve energy

The bill envisaged appointing a Renewable Energy Facilitator to provide "one-window" assistance and support to project developers to facilitate project approvals.

The approvals process for transmission projects would also be and (for the first time in Ontario) the bill would enact standards for renewable energy projects. Homeowners would have access to incentives to develop small-scale renewables such as low- or no-interest loans to finance the capital cost of renewable energy generating facilities like solar panels.

Ontario is home to , which supplies a large amount of electricity to the province. The Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, the largest operational plant in the world, is also in Ontario and uses 8 to generate electricity for the province.


Government, law and politics

The British North America Act 1867 section 69 stipulated "There shall be a Legislature for Ontario consisting of the Lieutenant Governor and of One House, styled the Legislative Assembly of Ontario." The assembly has 107 seats representing ridings elected in a system across the province.

The legislative buildings at Queen's Park are the seat of government. Following the Westminster system, the leader of the party holding the most seats in the assembly is known as the "Premier and President of the Council" (Executive Council Act R.S.O. 1990). The Premier chooses the cabinet or Executive Council whose members are deemed ministers of the Crown.

Although the Legislative Assembly Act (R.S.O. 1990) refers to "members of the assembly", the legislators are now commonly called MPPs (Members of the Provincial Parliament) in English and députés de l'Assemblée législative in French, but they have also been called MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly), and both are acceptable. The title of Prime Minister of Ontario, correct in French ( le Premier ministre), is permissible in English but now generally avoided in favour of the title "Premier" to avoid confusion with the Prime Minister of Canada.


Law
Ontario has grown, from its roots in , into a modern jurisdiction. The old titles of the chief law officers, the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General, remain in use. They both are responsible to the Legislature. The Attorney-General drafts the laws and is responsible for criminal prosecutions and the administration of justice, while the Solicitor-General is responsible for law enforcement and the police services of the province.


Politics
Ontario has numerous political parties which run for election. The four main parties are the centre-right Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, the social democratic Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP), the centre-left Ontario Liberal Party and the centre-left Ontario Green Party. The Progressive Conservatives, Liberals and New Democrats have each governed the province, while the Greens elected their first-ever member to the Legislative Assembly in 2018.

The 2018 provincial election resulted in a Progressive Conservative majority under , who was sworn in to office on June 29.


Urban areas
Statistics Canada's measure of a "metro area", the Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), roughly bundles together population figures from the core municipality with those from "commuter" municipalities.

Toronto CMA (, )4,682,897 5,113,149 5,583,064 5,928,0406.2
Ottawa CMA (, Clarence-Rockland)1,067,800 1,130,761 1,254,9191,323,7834.4
Hamilton CMA (Burlington, Grimsby)662,401 692,911 721,053 747,5453.7
Kitchener CMA (Cambridge, Waterloo)414,284 451,235 496,383523,8945.5
London CMA (St. Thomas, Strathroy-Caradoc)435,600 457,720 474,786 494,0694.1
St. Catharines CMA (Niagara Falls, )377,009 390,317 392,184 406,0743.5
CMA (Whitby, )296,298 330,594 356,177 379,8486.6
Windsor CMA (Lakeshore, LaSalle)307,877 323,342 319,246 329,1443.1
CMA (, Springwater)148,480 177,061 187,013 197,0595.4
CMA (Whitefish Lake, Wanapitei Reserve)155,601 158,258 160,770 164,6891.0
Kingston CMA146,838 152,358 159,561 161,1751.0

*Parts of Quebec (including ) are included in the Ottawa CMA. The population of the Ottawa CMA, in both provinces, is shown.

Ten largest municipalities by population
2,481,4942,503,2812,615,0602,731,571
774,072812,129883,391934,243
612,925668,549713,443721,599
325,428433,806523,911593,638
Hamilton490,268504,559519,949536,917
London336,539352,395366,151383,822
Markham208,615261,573301,709328,996
182,022238,866288,301306,233
Kitchener190,399204,668219,153233,222
Windsor209,218216,473210,891217,188


Education
In , education falls under provincial jurisdiction. Publicly funded elementary and secondary schools are administered by the Ontario Ministry of Education, while colleges and universities are administered by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. The Minister of Education is , and the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities is Merilee Fullerton.


Higher education
Higher education in Ontario includes postsecondary education and skills training regulated by the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities and provided by universities, colleges of applied arts and technology, and private career colleges. The minister is . The ministry administers laws covering 22 public universities, 24 public colleges (21 Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAATs) and three Institutes of Technology and Advanced Learning (ITALs)), 17 privately funded religious universities, and over 500 private career colleges. The Canadian constitution provides each province with the responsibility for and there is no corresponding national federal ministry of higher education. Within Canadian federalism the division of responsibilities and taxing powers between the Ontario and Canadian governments creates the need for co-operation to fund and deliver higher education to students. Each higher education system aims to improve participation, access, and mobility for students. There are two central organizations that assist with the process of applying to Ontario universities and colleges: the Ontario Universities' Application Centre and Ontario College Application Service. While application services are centralized, admission and selection processes vary and are the purview of each institution independently. Admission to many Ontario postsecondary institutions can be highly competitive. Upon admission, students may get involved with regional student representation with the Canadian Federation of Students, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, or through the College Student Alliance in Ontario.


Culture

Songs and slogans
In 1973 the first slogan to appear on licence plates in Ontario was "Keep It Beautiful". This was replaced by "Yours to Discover" in 1982, apparently inspired by a tourism slogan, "Discover Ontario", dating back to 1927. Plates with the French equivalent, "Tant à découvrir", were made available to the public beginning in May 2008. (From 1988 to 1990, "Ontario Incredible" gave "Yours to Discover" a brief respite.)

In 2007, a new song replaced "A Place to Stand" after four decades. "There's No Place Like This" is featured in television advertising, performed by Ontario artists including , , Keshia Chanté, as well as and .


Notable residents

Professional sports
The province has professional sports teams in , , Canadian football, , , and soccer.

Belleville SenatorsIce hockeyAHLBelleville
SoccerCPLHamiltonTim Hortons Field
Hamilton Tiger-CatsFootballCFLHamiltonTim Hortons Field
NBLCKitchenerKitchener Memorial Auditorium
BasketballNBLCLondonBudweiser Gardens
Ice hockeyCWHLMarkhamThornhill Community Centre
Niagara River LionsBasketballNBLCSt. Catharines
Can-AmRaymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park
Ottawa FurySoccerUSLOttawaTD Place Stadium
FootballCFLOttawaTD Place Stadium
Ice hockeyNHLOttawaCanadian Tire Centre
Raptors 905BasketballNBA G LeagueParamount Fine Foods Centre
BasketballNBLCSudbury Community Arena
Toronto ArgonautsFootballCFL
Toronto Blue JaysBaseballMLBToronto
SoccerMLSTorontoBMO Field
Toronto FC IISoccerUSLToronto
Ice hockeyCWHLTorontoMastercard Centre
Ice hockeyAHLToronto
Toronto Maple LeafsIce hockeyNHLToronto
BasketballNBATorontoScotiabank Arena
NLLTorontoScotiabank Arena
ChampionshipTorontoLamport Stadium
BasketballNBLCWindsor
York 9 FCSoccerCPLYork RegionYork Lions Stadium


Transportation
Transportation routes in Ontario evolved from early waterway travel and First Nations paths followed by European explorers. Ontario has two major east-west routes, both starting from Montreal in the neighbouring province of Quebec. The northerly route, which was a major route, travels west from Montreal along the , then continues northwestward towards Manitoba. Major cities on or near the route include Ottawa, North Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, and Thunder Bay. The southerly route, which was driven by growth in settlements originated by the United Empire Loyalists and later other European immigrants, travels southwest from Montreal along the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie before entering the United States in Michigan. Major cities on or near the route include Kingston, Belleville, Peterborough, Oshawa, Toronto, Mississauga, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton, London, Sarnia, and Windsor. This route was also heavily used by immigrants to the Midwestern US particularly in the late 19th century.


Roads
400-series highways make up the primary vehicular network in the south of province, and they connect to numerous border crossings with the US, the busiest being the Detroit–Windsor Tunnel and Ambassador Bridge and the Blue Water Bridge (via Highway 402). Some of the primary highways along the southern route are Highway 401, Highway 417, and Highway 400, while other provincial highways and regional roads inter-connect the remainder of the province.


Waterways
The Saint Lawrence Seaway, which extends across most of the southern portion of the province and connects to the Atlantic Ocean, is the primary water transportation route for cargo, particularly and grain. In the past, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River were also a major passenger transportation route, but over the past half century passenger travel has been reduced to ferry services and sightseeing cruises.


Railways
operates the inter-regional passenger train service on the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor, along with The Canadian, a transcontinental rail service from Southern Ontario to , and the Sudbury–White River train. Additionally, rail connects Ontario with key New York cities including Buffalo, Albany, and New York City. Ontario Northland provides rail service to destinations as far north as near , connecting them with the south.

Freight rail is dominated by the founding cross-country Canadian National Railway and CP Rail companies, which during the 1990s sold many short rail lines from their vast network to private companies operating mostly in the south.

Regional is limited to the provincially owned , and serves a train-bus network spanning the Golden Horseshoe region, with Union Station in Toronto serving as the .

The Toronto Transit Commission operates the province's only and streetcar system, one of the busiest in North America. operates, in addition to bus service, Ontario's only transit line, the in Ottawa.

A light-rail metro called the Confederation Line is under construction in . It will have 13 stations on and part of it will run under the city's and feature three underground stations. In addition, the Ion light rail and bus rapid transit system is under construction in the province's Waterloo region.


Air travel
Important airports in the province include Toronto Pearson International Airport, which is the busiest airport in Canada, handling over 47 million passengers in 2017. Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport is Ontario's second largest airport. Toronto/Pearson and Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier form two of the three points in Canada's busiest set of air routes (the third point being Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport).

Most Ontario cities have regional airports, many of which have scheduled commuter flights from Air Canada Jazz or smaller airlines and charter companies – flights from the mid-size cities such as Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, North Bay, Timmins, Windsor, London, and Kingston feed directly into larger airports in Toronto and Ottawa. Bearskin Airlines also runs flights along the northerly east-west route, connecting Ottawa, North Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Kitchener and Thunder Bay directly.

Isolated towns and settlements in the northern areas of the province rely partly or entirely on for travel, goods, and even services (MEDIVAC), since much of the far northern area of the province cannot be reached by road or rail.

File:401 Gridlock.jpg|Highway 401 is the busiest highway in North America and among the busiest highways in the world. File:Lakeshore West GO Train Westbound.jpg|A commuter train. File:Toronto Airport.jpg| is the largest airline operating in Ontario. Its largest hub is at Pearson International Airport in Mississauga. File:O Train over Rideau by Wilder.JPG|A light rail crossing the Rideau River on the .


See also
  • Outline of Ontario
  • Index of Ontario-related articles


Notes
  • Michael Sletcher, "Ottawa", in James Ciment, ed., Colonial America: An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic History, (5 vols., M. E. Sharpe, New York, 2006).
  • Virtual Vault, an online exhibition of Canadian historical art at Library and Archives Canada


Further reading
  • (2018). 9781894705042, Weigl. .
  • (1985). 9780919670983, Dundurn Press. .
  • (2018). 9780802044440, University of Toronto Press. .
  • Celebrating One Thousand Years of Ontario's History: Proceedings of the Celebrating One Thousand Years of Ontario's History Symposium, April 14, 15 and 16, 2000. Ontario Historical Society, 2000. 343 pp.
  • Baskerville, Peter A. Sites of Power: A Concise History of Ontario. Oxford U. Press., 2005. 296 pp. (first edition was Ontario: Image, Identity and Power, 2002). online review
  • Chambers, Lori, and Edgar-Andre Montigny, eds. Ontario Since Confederation: A Reader (2000), articles by scholars
  • Winfield, Mark S. Blue-Green Province: The Environment and the Political Economy of Ontario (University of British Columbia Press; 2012) 296 pages; environmental policies since 1945


External links

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