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The Province Of Ontario

The Province Of Ontario

The name Ontario is said to come from the Iroquoian (first nation) word meaning “vast body of water”. It is the second largest Province in Canada, spanning approximately one million square kilometers. It stretches all the way from the Great Lakes to the frozen shores of Hudson Bay in the North. Situated between the provinces of Manitoba to the west and Quebec to the East, the Province borders the USA to the South.

It is home to 6 National and 280 Provincial Parks which give the Province a virtually endless array of Recreational Possibilities. The largest and probably most famous is the Algonquin Park which is home to Black Bears and the trademark Canadian Beaver and has amazing scenery. Most of the Province is in the Eastern Time Zone, which is GMT -5 hours, however some of Western and Northern Ontario is in the Central time zone, which is GMT -6 hours. Between the months of April and October Daylight Saving is in effect. Ontario has very defined seasons, the summer months can be very hot and the winter months extremely cold with a lot of snow. Spring and fall tend to have a lot of rain.

The Southwestern part of Ontario is normally milder than the rest of Southern Ontario. Northern Ontario is generally a lot colder due to the winds blown in from the Artic.
Northern Ontario is mostly occupied by forests and rocky outcrops, part of the Canadian Shield. Four of the five Great lakes and the St. Lawrence River form the southern boundary of Ontario. One of the most famous landmarks of Ontario (and all of Canada) is the majestic Niagara Falls, which are located south of Toronto near the city of St.Catherines on the US Canada border. Thousands of tourists from around the world flock to see the falls which can be viewed from the USA side as well.


Ontario’s Cities


Ontario has one of the largest populations and is home to Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, which is located in the South-East of the Province. The Greater Toronto Area is Canada’s industrial, economic and population centre, home to the Provincial capital (Toronto) and is also located in the south. The vast majority of Ontario’s population (11.4 million in 2001 census) lives in the South of the Province. The Lester Pearson International airport in Toronto is by far the largest airport in Canada and a major hub for airlines.

Also, the cities of Hamilton, London, Kingston and Windsor are large settlements with over a million residents between them and continue to grow. Auto manufacturing and aerospace have long been the largest employers in Ontario with several huge car plants in the region. The big 3 North American manufacturers Ford, GM and Dodge/Chrysler are represented in the region.

Thunder Bay is the largest port on Lake Superior and is a very commercial and industrial area.

Provincial Government


The Government of Ontario is administered by Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal party. As with all the Provinces and Territories, the Provincial Government is responsible for Healthcare, all aspects of vehicle registration and Driver Licensing, Education and Welfare assistance.

The Province has a Sales Tax (PST) rate of 8% on top of the 7% Federal GST, Hotel room tax at 5% and also collects Provincial Income Tax.

As one of the main entry points along the St.Lawrence River, Ontario has a full history, especially since the Western settlers arrived with Confederation taking place in 1867. The Algonquian and Iroquoian native peoples lived off the land in Southern Ontario for generations prior to the arrival of the westerners with the French explorers being the first. Ontario was originally known as Upper Canada and was settled extensively by English, Scottish and Irish immigrants along with the loyalists from the USA who arrived after the war of independence there.

The initial source of prosperity was the fur trading which was eventually surpassed by the discovery of massive mineral deposits such as gold, nickel and iron ore.