The Canadian province is named after Great Lake Ontario, which is derived from the word ‘Ontario’ meaning ‘great lake’, or ‘beautiful water’ in the Iroquoian languages. Ontario has about 250,000 freshwater lakes and over 100,000 kilometers of rivers in the province.
The province situated in East/Central Canada is the second largest province in a total land area. With geographic features varying greatly from the Mixedwood Plains in the southeast to the boreal forests and tundra in the north. It borders Manitoba to the west, Hudson Bay and James Bay to the north, Quebec to the east, and the Great Lakes and by the United States of Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York to the south. Ontario conceptually covers the region of North America, Eastern and Central Canada and spans over an area of 917,741 km2.
The province consists of three main geographical regions, which are the thinly populated Canadian Shield in the northwestern and central Ontario, the virtually unpopulated Hudson Bay Lowlands in the extreme north and northeast and Southern Ontario which is further subdivided into four regions – Eastern Ontario, Golden Horseshoe and Southwestern Ontario.
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Capital of Ontario
Toronto City is the capital of Ontario.
Cities in Ontario
Ontario is known for its rich and diverse economy. It is in fact, the largest economy in Canada with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) nearly twice that of neighboring Quebec, which is Canada’s second-largest economy. Ontario also serves as Canada’s leading manufacturing province, accounting for 46% of the manufacturing GDP in 2012.
Ontario’s rivers make it rich in hydroelectric energy. There is an abundance of natural resources, excellent transportation links to the American heartland and the inland Great Lakes make oceans accessible to make manufacturing the principal industry of the province. Lined up in Toronto, the capital of Ontario, which is considered as the center of Canada’s financial services and banking industry.
It thrives through its unique combination of resources, manufacturing expertise, exports and a drive for innovation. By being the leading state/province for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in North America in 2013, with $7.23 billion, Ontario accounted for more than one-tenth of all FDI in North America. It was also the 4th biggest state for outward FDI, recording $7.74 billion.
Time in Ontario
The Eastern part of Ontario which is most of the Ontario including major towns & cities lies in the Eastern Time Zone, which is 5 hours behind the GMT – 5 (Greenwich Mean Time), whereas the Western part of Ontario which falls 90° W longitude, is in the Central Time Zone, which technically is 6 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT – 6).
Daylight Saving Time in Ontario
As in most Canadian provinces, the Daylight Saving Time is observed in Ontario, meaning the time is shifted forward by an hour, resulting in 4 hours (GMT – 4) and 5 hours (GMT – 5) difference behind GMT for the Eastern and Western parts of Ontario. Daylight Saving Time is the time adjusted to achieve longer evening daylight in summer by setting the clocks an hour ahead of the standard time.
Ontario is considered as the most populous province accounting for 38.3 per cent of the country’s population. Southern Ontario is one of the densest regions in the country, with almost 94% of the population concentrated there as per the 2006 census. The Golden Horseshoe is the most populous part of Southern Ontario with a population of 8,102,163.
In the 2011 census, Ontario stood with a population of 12,851,821 living in 4,887,508 of its 5,308,785 total dwellings, which was a 5.7 percent change from its 2006 population of 12,160,282. The north is vast and sparse compared to the South. Ontario is the second-most urbanized province after British Columbia, with 85.9% of the population living in urban areas.
Climate and Weather
The climate of Ontario varies by season and location. The primary factors affecting climate are air sources: cold, dry and arctic air from the north; the Pacific polar air crossing in from the western Canadian Prairies and warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Other crucial factors affecting climate are temperature, precipitation, proximity to major water bodies and terrain relief.
During the fall and winter months, heat stored from the lakes is released, moderating the climate near the shores of the lakes. This brings milder winters to some parts of Southern Ontario than the mid-continental areas at lower latitudes. In general, most of Ontario’s climate is classified as humid continental.
Like other Canadian provinces, Ontario has a continental climate. Ontario has long, chilly winters & short summers. However, the southern part of the province enjoys a temperate effect due to the Great Lakes. Rainfall is seen throughout the year.
Ontario is world-famous for art galleries, like the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg. Its entertainment and creative industry is the third-largest in North America by employment-ranking after California and New York. Within Canada, Ontario is the leading province for film and television production, book and magazine publishing, and sound recording. The Toronto International Film Festival, one of the largest and most influential film festivals in the world, is an annual event. As well, Ontario is an internationally recognized hub for the interactive digital media industry producing various cutting-edge digital products and services.
Other than that, there are several attractions that make a special effort to preserve a slice of the past, including historic buildings, accurately rebuilt forts and pioneer villages around the province, Ottawa’s distinctive parliament building, and Toronto’s impressive legislative building reminds us of our history.
Ontario’s beautiful natural settings are abode to all kinds of activities. Summertime brings swimming, boating, baseball, hiking, camping, fishing, and tennis. Winter calls for some popular activities including skating, tobogganing, curling, and hockey.
The tourism industry has largely contributed to the economy of Central Ontario. It plays a key role in neighboring cities and attracts millions of US and other international visitors. Tourism peaks during the summers owing to the abundance of fresh-water recreation and wilderness found there in reasonable proximity to the major urban centers. Hunting, skiing and snowmobiling activities are popular at other times of the year. With some of the most vibrant fall color displays anywhere in the continent, and tours directed at overseas visitors are organized to see them.
For a majority of Ontarians, the principal language is English. This is the de facto official language of the province, which is spoken natively by about 70% of the province’s population. Besides that, roughly 4% of Ontarians speak French as their mother tongue, and 11% are bilingual, speaking both English and French, as per the 2011 census.
The flag of Ontario is the provincial flag of Ontario. A defaced Red Ensign, with the Royal Union Jack as its canton and the Ontario shield of arms at its fly end. The shield features a Cross of St. George which is a red colored cross on white and three golden maple leaves on a green background.
History of Ontario
Ontario’s history goes back to a period with the arrival of Paleo – Indians. What makes present-day Ontario is the land that has been inhabited by the Aboriginal population for millennia. Before the region was conquered by the Europeans, it was inhabited by Algonquian and Iroquoian tribes. In the 10,000 BC, the present-day southwestern Ontario was roamed by the earliest human residents who were also considered the First Nations. These people were largely migrant hunters who farmed squash, corn and beans or were mammoths & mastodons who wandered the woodlands of present-day Ontario.
The Ontario we know today was officially named Upper Canada in 1791. Lower Canada was formed of the predominantly French-speaking Quebec.