Introduction to Ontario

(continuer en français) – Last updated: February 18, 2023

Ontario is Canada’s most populous province, home to nearly 15 million of Canada’s 38 million people. Its capital, Toronto, is also the country’s largest city. Historically, the French were the first to settle here, but in a less concentrated way than in Quebec. Immigrants from the British Isles, and later the Loyalists, were more likely to settle here, attracted by the abundant land to be cleared.

Ontario was at the heart of the creation of Canada in 1867, replicating its parliamentary political model at the federal level and then in the other provinces. Its domination of federal economic and political life tends to make other provinces more suspicious.



Toronto, the capital of Ontario, has become the largest city in Canada in the two centuries of its existence. The urban area of which it is the centre has a population of over 9 million. This rapid growth is largely due to immigration, and Toronto has evolved into a multicultural city, with a population enjoying a comfortable lifestyle in a very Americanised environment (more).


Ottawa and its Quebec neighbourhood of Gatineau are ideally located on the Ottawa River, on the border of Ontario and Quebec. The city was chosen as the capital of the Canadian Confederation in 1867. Building on the administrative sector, it has also become Ontario’s second largest city with over one million residents (more) .


Mississauga is the sixth largest city in Canada with a population approaching 1 million. The city is part of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) but because of its proximity to the metropolis, its name is not well known. Its accelerated urbanisation has replaced the farms and orchards of which few remain. Many international companies have their headquarters or Canadian base in Mississauga.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America. Shared with the United States, it has been a major tourist attraction for many years. Around the falls, many activities try to take advantage of the presence of visitors who must be kept after they have tired of the repetitive and predictable spectacle of the waterfalls (more).

Villages of the past

As in other provinces of Canada, there are several historic villages made up of old houses that have been moved to recreate life in the past. Guide-interpreters in period costume recreate the actions of the past. The Jesuit mission to the Hurons is also reconstructed as well as an English naval base at Discovery Harbour.


A series of forts had been created by the French around the Great Lakes, mainly to secure the fur trade with the First Nations. After them, the English turned them into military posts, particularly because of the tension with the United States that led to the conflict of 1812. Once peace was restored, the forts were abandoned before becoming tourist attractions.

Rideau Canal

The Rideau Canal was dug between Kingston on Lake Ontario and Ottawa in the early 19th century, following the 1812 conflict with the United States. This highlighted the vulnerability of the St. Lawrence River as a border route. Every summer the Canal reopens to recreational boat traffic, making it a great tourist destination.


As Canada has received a large number of immigrants from diverse backgrounds, the religions practiced have tended to diversify. New places of worship reflect both the original traditions and the means acquired in Canada. Visitors from other faiths are generally well received.


The inhabitants of the north of Canada gently mock when those living in the “south” of the country complain about the winter, even if it is less extreme, it remains cold and long, too much when having also lived in other latitudes. However, it must be acknowledged that Canada is well equipped to cope with it and the spectacle offered by the fresh snow allows us to forget, for a while, the inconveniences.


Fall is certainly the most beautiful season in Canada and especially in Ontario. The heat wave and the bugs of summer are gone, the change of colour of the leaves, especially those of the maples, is a popular sight. There are many national and provincial parks near urban centres, where visitors are numerous in this beautiful season.

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Introduction to Canada

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    • I see this introductory series on the provinces as an overview before finding the opportunity to go into more detail on the most interesting places. Thanks for reading.


    • Having spent more time in Ontario than in other provinces, I also have more pictures of it, so it is easier to show beautiful things. In fact, there is more to show, the selection was difficult. Thanks for appreciating.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A good detailed post of this province. I, for one have found it warmer in Edmonton at -28C than in Ontario at +7C with the wind blowing off the lake. In my former life as an employee of TD, I would have to travel to Toronto once or twice a year. We always referred to T.O. as the center of the Universe, as they always appeared to presume themselves better than the R.O.C. I always dreaded coming here for work, but now when I visit, it is on vacation and the stress is gone. I still have many good friends in this province. Stay well. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Succeeding professionally in Toronto is not always easy because the competition is strong and people tend to be well educated, hence the feeling of superiority over other provinces. But on the federal level I notice the growing opposition between the West and the Eastern cities. Thank you for sharing your experience.

      Liked by 1 person

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