Ontarian, Ontaric /on tar"ik/, adj., n.
/on tair"ee oh'/, n.
1. a province in S Canada, bordering on the Great Lakes. 8,131,618; 412,582 sq. mi. (1,068,585 sq. km). Cap.: Toronto.
2. Lake, a lake between the NE United States and S Canada, between New York and Ontario province: the smallest of the Great Lakes. 193 mi. (310 km) long; 7540 sq. mi. (19,530 sq. km).
3. a city in SW California, E of Los Angeles. 88,820.

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Province (pop., 2001: 11,874,400), the second largest in Canada.

Situated between Hudson Bay and James Bay and the St. Lawrence River–Great Lakes chain, it is bordered by the U.S. and the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Manitoba. It covers 412,581 sq mi (1,068,580 sq km). Its capital is Toronto. Before European settlement, the area was inhabited by Iroquois and Algonquin Indian tribes. In the 17th century it was visited by French explorers and missionaries. It passed to the British in 1763 after the French and Indian War. It was the scene of many battles in the War of 1812. The area was known as Canada West from 1841 until 1867, when it became one of four provinces of the new Dominion of Canada. Northern Ontario has a rocky and rugged terrain with thick forests, bogs, lakes, and extensive mineral reserves. Southern Ontario is an important farming and industrial region and is the centre of Canada's population and urban development. Ottawa, the national capital, is also in Ontario.

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      city, San Bernardino county, southern California, U.S. It is situated in the Riverside–San Bernardino portion of the consolidated Los Angeles metropolitan area on the site of the Spanish colonial Rancho Cucamonga. Named for the province of Ontario in Canada, it was settled in 1882 by George and William Chaffey, who irrigated the land for citrus and vineyard cultivation and established a model agricultural community. After the arrival of the Santa Fe Railway in 1887, Ontario became a fruit-processing and shipping point; it remains an important regional distribution centre. The city's industries manufacture electrical appliances, aircraft parts, steel, and plastics. An aggressive program of annexation in the 1990s increased Ontario's size to 50 square miles (130 square km), making it the largest city in San Bernardino county and the focus of much of the area's economic and demographic growth. Popular attractions include the Graber Olive House (1894) and the Ontario Museum of History and Art (1937), housed in the former city hall. Ontario International Airport serves the area east of Los Angeles. San Bernardino and Angeles national forests are nearby. Inc. city, 1891. Pop. (1990) 133,179; (2000) 158,007.

      city, Malheur county, eastern Oregon, U.S. It lies at the juncture of the Snake and Malheur rivers, 60 miles (97 km) west of Boise, Idaho, on the historic Oregon Trail. A gateway to the Oregon cattle country, it grew after the building of the Union Pacific Railroad (Union Pacific Railroad Company) in 1884 and was named for the province of Ontario, Canada. The city has food-processing industries based on the potatoes, sugar beets, alfalfa, onions, and corn (maize) grown in the region, which is irrigated by the Owyhee and Malheur rivers. A tourist centre, the city is close to an area of rugged canyon terrain and Succor State Natural Area. Lake Owyhee (impounded by Owyhee Dam, 1928–32) is nearby. The city hosts an annual Obon ( Bon) Festival each July, honouring the area's large Japanese American population. Treasure Valley Community College was opened there in 1962. Inc. 1899. Pop. (1990) 9,392; (2000) 10,985.

      county, western New York state, U.S., located southeast of Rochester and bounded by Seneca Lake to the east, Canandaigua Lake to the southeast, and Hemlock Lake and Honeoye Creek to the west. The northern part of the county comprises a lowland region, while the southern section contains more hills and larger stands of hardwood trees. Other bodies of water are Canadice and Honeoye lakes, Flint Creek, and Canandaigua Outlet. Recreational areas include Harriet Hollister Spencer State Park and Bristol Mountain ski resort.

       Seneca and Cayuga Indians of the Iroquois Confederacy inhabited the region in the 18th century, though most were defeated by a military expedition led by U.S. Major General John Sullivan (Sullivan, John) in 1779. Ontario county was created in 1789, the name derived from an Iroquoian word meaning “beautiful lake.” Located at the northern tip of Seneca Lake, Geneva is the home of the paired Hobart College (founded as an academy 1796; reestablished as a college 1822) for men and William Smith College (1906; opened 1908) for women. The resort city of Canandaigua is the county seat.

      The main components of the economy are tourism and agriculture (corn [maize], wheat, oats, and vegetables). Area 644 square miles (1,669 square km). Pop. (2000) 103,956; (2007 est.) 100,224.

Ontario, flag of   second largest province of Canada in area, after Quebec. It occupies the strip of the Canadian mainland lying between Hudson (Hudson Bay) and James (James Bay) bays to the north and the St. Lawrence River (Saint Lawrence River and Seaway)– Great Lakes chain to the south. It is bordered to the east by the province of Quebec, to the south by the United States, and to the west by the province of Manitoba. The most populous Canadian province, Ontario is home to more than one-third of Canada's total population.

      Ontario is also the nation's wealthiest province, having a substantial share of the country's natural resources and its most mature and diversified industrial economy. It is at once Canada's economic pacemaker and a major force in national politics. To Canadians living outside its boundaries, its preeminent position and the influence of Toronto, the provincial capital, and Ottawa, the national capital, have constituted a not-infrequent source of regional resentment. Area 415,599 square miles (1,076,395 square km). Pop. (2001) 11,410,046; (2006) 12,160,282.


 Ontario is composed of two regions of widely different character, Northern and Southern Ontario. Northern Ontario, as usually defined, lies north of a line drawn from the confluence of the Mattawa and Ottawa rivers (at the Quebec border, east of Lake Nipissing (Nipissing, Lake)) southwest to the mouth of the French River, on Georgian Bay. Most of the region, which covers approximately 350,000 square miles (900,000 square km), is a part of the ancient Canadian Shield, characteristically marked with a profusion of lakes and rivers, muskeg (bogs), and densely forested rocky and rugged terrain. A low plateau, it is generally no more than 1,500 feet (460 metres) above sea level, although it contains the highest point in the province, Ishpatina Ridge, which rises to 2,274 feet (693 metres) near Lake Temagami. The region's rich mineral deposits, its huge forest reserves, and the hydroelectric power potential of its swift rivers have made it a major source of the province's contemporary wealth.

 Covering only about 15 percent of the area of the province, Southern Ontario contains land of gentle relief; its lowest area—on the Ottawa River—is only 150 feet (45 metres) above sea level, and its highest point—in the Blue Mountains south of Georgian Bay—is just over 1,770 feet (540 metres) in elevation. The east is divided from the rest of the region by an extension of the Canadian Shield known as the Frontenac Axis, which crosses the St. Lawrence River east of Kingston and forms the Thousand Islands region. Along the southern edge of the shield lie a series of beautiful lake districts—including the Muskoka Lakes, the lakes of the Haliburton Highlands, and the Rideau Lakes chain—which are the province's best-known resort areas. The most dramatic feature of the landscape is the Niagara Escarpment, running roughly northwest from Niagara Falls to the Bruce Peninsula. Roads and rail lines pass through its notched valleys, and a nature trail runs along much of its length. The landforms of Southern Ontario were shaped by glacial action, and most of the region consists of gently rolling plains. Both the Ottawa and St. Lawrence lowlands of eastern Ontario and the lands at the western tip of the Ontario peninsula are, however, quite flat.

 Northern Ontario contains parts of two major drainage basins—those of the Great Lakes to the south and Hudson Bay to the north—separated by a band of higher land running from Lake of the Woods (Woods, Lake of the) to Kirkland Lake. Major rivers of the northern system are the Severn (Severn River), the Winisk (Winisk River), and the Albany (Albany River), while the major rivers in the southern system are the Ottawa and the French.

      The rivers of Southern Ontario are short, draining into the Great Lakes from the Western Ontario Upland and from the Oak Ridges Moraine north of Lake Ontario (Ontario, Lake). The eastern portion of the region is drained chiefly by tributaries of the Ottawa River.

      In addition to peat, Northern Ontario consists largely of brown podzolic (mineral-covered, leached) soils unsuitable for agriculture, except for two clay belts in the Timiskaming and Cochrane farming areas. In Southern Ontario, glaciers left a fertile gray-brown podzolic soil over most of the region, although sand plains are found north of Lake Erie (Erie, Lake) and along the eastern Lake Ontario shore.

      In Northern Ontario the climate varies from that of the districts close to the Great Lakes, which are frost-free on more than 100 days a year, to the harsh climate of the Hudson Bay area, where the frost-free period may be as short as 40 days. At Thunder Bay on Lake Superior, the mean temperature in January is 5 °F (−15 °C) and in July 64 °F (18 °C); the annual precipitation is about 28 inches (700 mm); and the annual snowfall is slightly less than 85 inches (2,160 mm).

      The climate of Southern Ontario is generally favourable to agriculture, although considerable local variation exists. The eastern section, away from the moderating influence of the lakes, tends to be cooler and more humid than the southern and southwestern zones. Ottawa receives just under 35 inches (900 mm) of rain and slightly more than 85 inches (2,160 mm) of snow yearly, as compared with Toronto's approximately 31 inches (790 mm) of rain and 54 inches (1,370 mm) of snow. The mean temperature in January for most of the southern region is about 25 °F (−4 °C); in July it is about 72 °F (22 °C). The Ottawa valley, however, has mean temperatures of 13 °F (−11 °C) and 69 °F (21 °C).

Plant and animal life
      The vegetation of Northern Ontario is that of the boreal forest and includes the black and white spruce, jack pine, tamarack, poplar, white birch, and balsam. At the northern limit of the province, along Hudson Bay, there is a band of tundra. The original natural vegetation of Southern Ontario consisted of hardwood forests with great stands of white and red pines on the lighter soils, but, during the 19th century, land clearing and lumbering removed most of the original forest cover.

      Animal life includes such large mammals as moose, woodland caribou, black bears, polar bears, deer, and wolves, as well as numerous small mammals, including porcupines, skunks, muskrats, rabbits, beavers, otters, and foxes. Among the birds are ducks, geese, grouse, hawks, owls, and finches.

Environmental concerns
      In both regions of the province, industrialization and urbanization have created problems of pollution, the most acute of which are the polluted waters of the lower Great Lakes and the polluted air of Southern Ontario, particularly in the greater Toronto area. Air and water pollution associated with the mining and pulp and paper industries of the north also has emerged. Increasing concern has been expressed about the presence of mercury in some northern lakes and rivers, as well as about the effects of intensive livestock farming on the groundwater of southwestern Ontario and on the lower Great Lakes. Moreover, the waters of the resort region are endangered because of the high concentration of cottagers.


Population composition
      Until the end of the War of 1812 (1812, War of), Ontario was populated chiefly by aboriginal peoples and by immigrants from the United States. Among the latter were people of several different ethnic origins who had fled the American Revolution (known in Canada as United Empire Loyalists), along with Quakers and Mennonites from Pennsylvania. For the remainder of the 19th century, the majority of the immigrants were Protestants from Ireland and Great Britain, although both Irish and Scottish Catholics arrived in large numbers. The first wave of British immigration, between 1815 and 1850, altered the original American character of the province.

      The second phase of European immigration, from 1896 to 1929 (interrupted by World War I), included sizable influxes from Germany, Scandinavia, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, and Italy. Their arrival coincided with the first great mining discoveries in Northern Ontario, and, as a result, the composition of that region's population became much less British in character than the remainder of the province.

      Post- World War II immigrants at first came mostly from Europe, but after 1965 growing numbers arrived from Asia—notably from China, South Asia, and the Philippines—and from Latin America. Those immigrant groups settled mainly in greater Toronto.

      Blacks first arrived as the slaves of loyalist immigrants and as freedmen; in the 19th century, a number of escaped slaves from the southern United States also found refuge in the province. Black immigrants continued to arrive during the 20th century, especially from Detroit and more recently from the Caribbean region and continental Africa. The black population is concentrated largely in Toronto as well.

      The province's small but growing aboriginal population, once largely rural, has come to be fairly evenly divided between rural and urban dwellers. The vast majority of aboriginal people are First Nations (Native American) people (North American Indians). A much smaller number of aboriginal people identify themselves as Métis (of mixed First Nations and European ancestry). Inuit (called Eskimo in the United States) are not indigenous to Ontario, but a tiny number of Inuit now live in the province.

      Although people whose roots are in the British Isles still easily form the largest single group in Ontario, at the beginning of the 21st century, about one-fifth of Ontario's inhabitants were so-called visible minorities (minority)—people, other than aboriginal peoples, who are not of European ancestry. Moreover, the cities had become multiethnic and cosmopolitan to a degree that would have been difficult to imagine in the 1950s. At the beginning of the 21st century, visible minorities made up more than one-third of the population of metropolitan Toronto. The province's diversity is further reflected in the sizable minority groups that practice Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism. Nevertheless, Christianity remains the dominant religion. Roman Catholics (Roman Catholicism) constitute the largest single Christian denomination, followed by members of the United Church of Canada and Anglicans.

      Ontario has benefited not only from immigration from abroad but also from population movements within Canada. During the mid-20th century a significant portion of the net migration into Ontario came from other parts of the country. After Newfoundland joined the Canadian confederation in 1949, Newfoundlanders began to move to Ontario in increasing numbers, and there has been a continuing movement from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. There is also a sizable community of French-speaking Ontarians, most of whose ancestors were drawn from Quebec, beginning in the late 19th century, by the lumber industry and railroads of the north, the farms of the east, and the Cornwall industrial area. Ottawa contains the largest concentration of Franco-Ontarians, and there are significant communities in Sudbury and other Northern Ontario towns, as well as in Windsor, Toronto, and the Niagara Peninsula.

      Balanced against the large-scale immigration into Ontario is the fact that, as with Canada as a whole, there has long been substantial emigration from the province. As early as the 1850s, Ontarians were attracted by the westward movement in the United States, and outflow to the south has been important ever since. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, much concern was caused by what appeared to be a disproportionate loss of professionally and technically skilled people to the United States. Similarly, many thousands of Ontarians have migrated to the Canadian West, with British Columbia and Alberta being common destinations.

Settlement patterns
      Before the arrival of Europeans, larger aboriginal settlements often were concentrated at seasonal meeting places. The agricultural peoples in the southern part of the region settled in longhouse-based farm villages.

      Today in Northern Ontario, settlement has little agricultural base and is largely connected with major industries and transportation routes. Thunder Bay, located at the head of the Great Lakes navigation system, is the transshipment point for western wheat. Sudbury is the centre of a major mining area, as are such communities as Timmins, Kirkland Lake, and Geraldton. Sault Ste. Marie (Sault Sainte Marie) is both an important lake-navigation port and a centre of large steel and paper industries.

      Agricultural settlement is more intensive in Southern Ontario, where many farms are family owned. Fields and townships are laid out in a rectangular grid pattern. In a few areas of old French settlement (as in the Windsor area), the long, narrow fields typical of French Canadian strip farming may be seen. European settlers' villages originally grew up at water-power sites, at convenient distribution points, and around early garrison centres. Kingston, the first important town, combined those advantages.

 Major urban growth has been confined almost entirely to the southern parts of the province. The metropolitan complex known as the “Golden Horseshoe” sprawls along the Lake Ontario shore from Oshawa to St. Catharines (Saint Catharines) and includes greater Toronto and the port and industrial city of Hamilton. Toronto is Canada's largest city. Its hinterland embraces not only much of the province but also a good part of the country. Greater Toronto has a very high rate of growth, which has led to largely uncontrolled suburban sprawl that devours high-grade farmland and threatens the Oak Ridges Moraine. Other important urban concentrations include Windsor, London, Kitchener- Waterloo, Guelph, and Ottawa.

Demographic trends
      Until the 1970s, natural increase contributed more to population growth than immigration. Since the 1980s, though, the falling birth rate has meant that immigration has contributed far more to population growth than has natural increase. The vital statistics (i.e., the birth rate and the death rate) and the rate of population growth for Ontario were roughly the same as the Canadian rates for most of the 20th century. The provincial population more than doubled in the first half of the 20th century and doubled again during the next 35 years. Since then, however, owing to the declining birth rate, growth has slowed, except in the greater Toronto area. Nonetheless, Ontario's share of the Canadian population has been gradually rising. The province is now overwhelmingly urban, with more than four-fifths of its people living in cities, towns, and suburbs.

      Ontario's strategic central location with respect to other Canadian provinces, its proximity to U.S. markets and coal supplies, its cheap power, its large and skilled labour force, its abundant natural resources and diversified transportation system, and its general attractiveness to both domestic and foreign investment have made its economy the most productive in Canada. As with all mature economies, the bulk of employment and output is concentrated in the manufacturing and service industries, the latter having grown particularly fast in the later 20th century.

      Federal economic policy remains the chief agent of control acting upon the private sector, but the provincial government has played an increasingly important role. Since 1962 the provincial government has engaged in planning with a regional focus.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
      Ontario is one of the major agricultural regions of Canada; it possesses just over half of the country's best agricultural land, almost all of it in the southern part of the province. Many farms are concerned with dairying or livestock or with providing forage for this sector. In the late 20th century, the southwestern counties saw a rapid growth of intensive livestock farming, especially the raising of hogs. Tobacco, less important than it once was, continues to be a key crop in several southern counties, while acreage devoted to growing corn (maize) has expanded greatly in recent years. Southwestern Ontario is the chief corn- and soybean-producing area. Winter wheat, barley, and beans also are grown. The Niagara Peninsula and the Holland Marsh, north of Toronto, are the chief fruit- and vegetable-producing regions. During the last two decades, viticulture has flourished on the Niagara Peninsula and in the far southwest of the province.

 Although forestry in Ontario does not rank with agriculture in terms of value of production, it is still one of the most important branches of the national forest-products industry. Pulp and paper manufacture and fabricated wood products dominate the industry in the province.

      Commercial fishing, once concentrated in Lake Erie, with limited activity in the other large lakes, went into decline with the spread of pollution. Sportfishing continues to be important for local residents and tourists, though consumption of the catch is increasingly affected by concerns about contamination in southern waters. The main fish caught include yellow perch, pike, smelt, white bass, whitefish, herring, and chub. In recent decades, a small aquaculture industry that specializes in the raising of rainbow trout has developed.

Resources and power
      Ontario is Canada's leading mining province. A large percentage of the world's nickel (nickel processing) is mined in the province and accounts for more than one-fourth of the total value of metal production. Copper is the second most important metal; uranium, zinc, gold, iron ore, platinum, and silver also are mined. There is localized production of building and semiprecious stone, as well as significant sand and gravel extraction essential to the construction industry and to the maintenance of Ontario's vast road system.

      Ontario and Quebec are Canada's leading provinces for petroleum refining. Conventional thermal power and hydroelectric power together account for almost one-half of Ontario's electrical energy, and nuclear power accounts for the remainder.

      Ontario is the leading manufacturing province in Canada and employs roughly half of the country's manufacturing workers while generating about half of the country's total value of production. Historically, this preeminence derived from the milling, farm implement, furniture, and textile industries of the 19th century. Today the domestic steel industry, which was encouraged by the Canadian protective tariff of 1879, is centred at Hamilton and Sault Ste. Marie; many U.S. branch plants are located in the province as well. The automobile industry, significantly aided by the Canada–United States Automotive Agreement of 1965, is also of central importance. Other major industries include textiles, processed foods, industrial machinery, electrical goods, farm implements, chemicals, rubber and synthetics, aircraft, and furniture. In the late 20th century, a thriving information technology industry, dubbed “ Silicon Valley North,” emerged in the province, notably in the Kitchener-Waterloo area and the Ottawa suburb of Kanata.

Services, labour, and taxation
      Since the 1930s, Toronto has been Canada's main financial-services centre. The Toronto Stock Exchange is easily the country's largest. The city is the headquarters—in fact, if not in name—of Canada's major banks, of many insurance companies and brokerage houses, and of large legal, accounting, and management-consulting firms. English-speaking Canada's advertising industry is largely centred in Toronto as well. Since the 1990s a substantial branch of industry developed to provide services to U.S.-based companies that film motion pictures and television shows in Toronto and several smaller towns. A newcomer to the service sector is the once-illegal gambling industry, as large casinos in places such as Niagara Falls, Orillia, and Windsor, as well as smaller operations with electronic gambling terminals, seek to attract American and Canadian gamblers. Ottawa and Toronto are the main centres for public services.

      Unionization (organized labour) is high in the forestry, mining, manufacturing, construction, transportation, and public-services industries, but unions are largely absent from private services and farming. Labour relations are governed by the provincial Labour Relations Act and supervised by the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Ontario typically has had a higher labour force participation rate than the national average. The rate of Ontarian women's participation in the labour force has been rising since the 1960s and is higher than the Canadian average as well. The provincial economy suffered from recessions in the early 1980s and '90s, when manufacturing work was particularly hard-hit, but the jobless rate has been steadily declining since the mid-1990s.

      From the end of World War II until the recession of the early 1980s, real wages rose steadily, and, after a short interruption, they continued upward until the recession of the early 1990s. Although they stagnated during much of that decade, they continued to exceed the national average for manufacturing and service workers. At the beginning of the 21st century, the gap between high- and low-income earners was widening throughout the province. In addition, although they seemed to be declining, discrepancies continued to exist between male and female wages. Legislation is in force against wage and job discrimination, with the Ontario Human Rights Commission acting as a watchdog.

      Ontario levies a number of taxes. Personal income tax provides about one-fourth of the province's revenues. It is followed in importance by the retail sales tax and the corporate income tax. Other smaller sources of revenue include health taxes and fuel taxes.

Transportation and telecommunications
      Bulk cargoes, chiefly consisting of mining and forestry products and prairie grains, are moved to the United States or overseas by the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence waterway system. Seagoing carriers bring imports from abroad by the same route. Toronto's port activity declined after the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

      The basic road pattern, laid out in the 1790s, is an east-west highway (commonly called the 401) from the Quebec border to Windsor and a north-south expressway from Toronto to Orillia and beyond. The Queen Elizabeth Way, opened in 1939 as the first divided expressway in Canada, runs from Toronto to the U.S. border at Buffalo. The Ontario section of the Trans-Canada Highway runs from Montreal through Ottawa across vast stretches of Ontario's northland to the Manitoba border. Capital and maintenance costs on this and other Ontario highways are high because the province's heavy snowfall and extreme temperature range make constant repairs necessary.

      Ontario is crossed by two transcontinental railway (railroad) lines and is bisected by one provincially owned north-south railroad with its northern terminus at Moosonee on James Bay. Although there has been a reduction in passenger mileage in Southern Ontario owing to lack of revenue, this is not the case within the area known as the Golden Horseshoe, where the government-owned mass transit system—the Greater Toronto Transit Authority, known as GO Transit—serves commuters. This system's rail network is Canada's most elaborate.

      Toronto is also the focus for the province's air traffic. Toronto Pearson International Airport, the country's largest, is the main centre of operations for both domestic and international flights. Other important airports are located at Ottawa, London, Sault Ste. Marie, and Thunder Bay. Numerous local airports and landing strips serve both urban and remote communities.

      Ontario's telecommunications networks feature advanced broadcast, satellite, and fibre-optic technology. Carriers offer a full range of telecommunications services, including Internet and wireless services. Cellular telephone service is available throughout most of Southern Ontario.

Government and society

Constitutional framework
      The provincial government consists of the lieutenant governor, a viceregal representative appointed by the federal cabinet whose functions are purely formal; the Executive Council, or cabinet; and the elected Legislative Assembly. The province is represented in the federal parliament by appointed senators and elected members of the House of Commons. Manhood suffrage, except for Indians living on reserves (reservations), has been in effect since 1888. Women gained the vote in 1917 and Indians in 1954.

      Since 1963, urban constituencies have elected the majority in the legislature, but rural areas are still overrepresented. The cabinet is headed by a premier and tends to be dominated by rural, small-town, and suburban interests, notably those of the so-called “905 belt” (named for its telephone area code), which surrounds Toronto.

      Ontario has three main political parties—the Progressive Conservatives (Progressive Conservative Party of Canada), the Liberals (Liberal Party of Canada), and the New Democratic Party (NDP). The last, founded in 1961, represents an amalgamation of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and sections of the trade union movement. The first-past-the-post, or winner-take-all, electoral system usually allows the victorious party, which regularly wins only a plurality of the vote, to gain a majority of the legislature's seats.

      Stability and one-party dominance were the mark of Ontario politics from the time of Canadian federation until the later 20th century. The only aberration in more than a century was provided by the United Farmers of Ontario, which governed in coalition with the Independent Labour Party from 1919 to 1923. Economic difficulties in the last decades of the 20th century, particularly the recessions of the early 1980s and '90s, played a major part in altering the tradition of one-party rule. The changing character of Ontarian society, more multicultural and increasingly urban, also may have contributed to this transformation by reducing the rural and small-town base of the Conservatives, who had ruled uninterrupted from 1943 to 1985.

      Municipal government in Ontario consists of elected township, county, or district councils in rural areas and of elected councils in cities, towns, and regions. Since 1995 the provincial government, seeking to realize economies of scale, has reduced dramatically the number of municipalities and has rearranged the responsibilities of the two levels of government. One major initiative was the creation of an enlarged Toronto out of six municipalities in 1998. However, the amalgamation did not produce the anticipated economies of scale. Regional governments were instituted for Ottawa-Carleton in 1969 and for the Niagara region in 1970. Thirty years later the provincial government imposed amalgamation on municipalities in the Ottawa and Hamilton areas. In Hamilton and Toronto the measure was initially unpopular, but in the Ottawa area the measure had considerable support.

      The Ontario Provincial Police carries out law enforcement on both provincial and local levels. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has jurisdiction in federal matters, and its mandate in Ontario includes national and border security as well as the investigation of white-collar and organized crime.

Health and welfare
      The province finances basic health care and social services for all inhabitants through a combination of grants from the federal government and its own tax revenues. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan is a universal and comprehensive program that covers almost all medically necessary diagnostic services provided by physicians and many other health care workers, as well as treatment both inside and outside hospitals. The Ministry of Community and Social Services provides social assistance to those without an income and funds for shelters for the homeless and for women and children fleeing domestic violence, as well as services for people with disabilities.

      Poverty among Indians, marginal farmers, and city dwellers is of continuing concern, but the proportion of the population receiving public assistance has remained fairly constant at a relatively low level. The cost of living, however, is high compared with those of most of the other provinces, with Toronto housing being particularly costly. Housing for low-income earners and homelessness are increasingly pressing problems.

      Tuition-free compulsory elementary education was established in the mid-19th century. Secondary education became tuition-free early in the 20th century, but attendance was not enforced beyond age 14 (later extended to age 16). Roman Catholics (Roman Catholicism) obtained property and provincial tax support for their primary “separate schools” in the 19th century, but only in the early 1980s was this principle extended to Catholic secondary schools. Publicly funded Catholic schools continued to exist alongside secular public schools into the 21st century, although attempts by other religious groups, such as Orthodox Jews and Calvinists, to gain public funds for their schools failed. In the late 20th century, education costs rose because of increased enrollment in elementary and secondary schools. Since 1995 the government has made a determined attempt to reduce costs, mainly by inducing local school boards to close schools and by imposing tight controls over the boards and the teaching profession.

      Government assistance to higher education is substantial but has declined since the early 1970s. The provincially supported degree-granting universities, though legally autonomous, receive both operating and capital grants from the government, which has a measure of control over planning, intake, and programs. In addition to the University of Toronto (Toronto, University of), founded in 1827 and still preeminent, major institutions include the University of Ottawa, Queen's University at Kingston, the University of Waterloo, the University of Western Ontario at London, and York University at Toronto. The province is also the site of the Ontario College of Art and Design as well as a number of colleges of applied arts and technology whose main role is to provide postsecondary technical education.

Cultural life
      Toronto has long dominated Ontario's (and English-speaking Canada's) cultural life and continues to do so. Home to many of the province's artists and cultural institutions, the city also functions as the media centre of English-speaking Canada; it thus plays a key role in popular culture and entertainment. As is true in Canada generally, the popular culture of Ontario is strongly influenced by that of the United States. This is particularly evident in television, film, music, and professional sports.

The arts and cultural institutions
      Toronto is the centre of Canada's English-language theatre, which is of international importance. The city also boasts several symphony orchestras, numerous choirs and chamber music groups, two major opera companies, and the National Ballet Company of Canada. Some of the city's many public and private art galleries and museums enjoy international eminence—most notably, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto has attracted numerous graphic artists and sculptors as well.

 Other parts of the province host successful theatre festivals. Stratford, in southeastern Ontario, is the site of the Stratford Festival of Canada, which opened as the Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada in 1953. There is an annual George Bernard Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake, and the Blyth Festival, located at a small town in Huron county, annually produces several works by Canadian playwrights.

      Upper Canada Village, near Morrisburg in eastern Ontario, and Black Creek Pioneer Village, on the northern outskirts of Toronto, are re-creations of 19th-century Ontarian communities. Several forts dating back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries—Fort Henry at Kingston, Fort York at Toronto, Fort George at Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Fort Malden at Amherstburg in southwestern Ontario—have been restored. Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons, near Midland in central Ontario, is a reconstruction of the mission established by the Jesuits in 1634.

 Federally funded cultural agencies, the provincially funded Ontario Arts Council, and private donors offer crucial support to the cultural life of the province. Ottawa's cultural life in particular, dominated by the National Arts Centre and the National Gallery of Canada, is heavily subsidized by the federal government.

 Several authors with international reputations are associated with Ontario. Some of the best known are Robertson Davies (Davies, Robertson), Alice Munro (Munro, Alice), Michael Ondaatje (Ondaatje, Michael), Margaret Atwood (Atwood, Margaret), and Rohinton Mistry. Among musicians is the pianist Glenn Herbert Gould (Gould, Glenn Herbert), while noteworthy visual artists include Michael Snow and Vera Frankel.

Sports and recreation
 Traditionally, Ontario has been the home of three Canadian Football League teams; however, the Toronto Argonauts and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have proved to be more stable franchises than their counterpart in Ottawa. The province is also the home of a number of other major professional sports franchises, including the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League, the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association, and the Toronto Blue Jays, who play in Major League Baseball's American League.

      Since 1878 Toronto annually has been the site of the Canadian National Exhibition, one of the largest summer fairs in North America. Each year, Toronto also hosts Caribana, a festival in honour of Caribbean culture, while Ottawa is the site of Winterlude, a celebration of the northern climate.

      More than 200 provincial parks, covering almost one-tenth of the province's area, protect the natural landscape and cultural heritage of the province. They offer a range of outdoor recreational activities, from everyday use to wilderness experiences.

Media and publishing
      Several provincial newspapers with a national readership—including The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, and National Post—appear daily. Toronto is the headquarters of national radio and television broadcasting, both public and private, and the provincially owned TVOntario. Toronto is also the book- and magazine-publishing centre of English-speaking Canada.

      The earliest known inhabitants of the Ontario region included the Iroquoian-speaking agricultural Huron, Tionontati, and Erie peoples of the south and the Algonquian-speaking hunting Algonquin, Ojibwa, and Cree peoples of the north. The French explorer Étienne Brûlé (Brûlé, Étienne) was the first known European to travel among them, during an expedition to the Ottawa River in 1610–11. He was soon followed by Samuel de Champlain (Champlain, Samuel de) and other French explorers, fur traders, and missionaries. The southern tribes were dispersed by members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy ( Iroquois Confederacy), also composed of Iroquoian-speaking peoples, in 1648–49. In 1673 France established Fort Frontenac (present-day Kingston) to begin the military protection of its westward-spreading fur empire. When most of New France was ceded to Great Britain in 1763, however, no French colonization had taken place in the Ontario region, except for a small farming settlement in what is now the Detroit area.

      The Quebec Act of 1774 established Ontario as part of an extended colony ruled from Quebec. During the American Revolution, the region was a base for loyalist and Indian attacks upon the American frontier, and in 1784 it was settled by approximately 10,000 loyalists and those of the Iroquois tribes who had fought for the British. The Constitutional Act, or Canada Bill, of 1791 was followed immediately by the division of the Quebec colony into a French-majority province called Lower Canada (Canada East) (the future province of Quebec) and a loyalist province called Upper Canada (Canada West) (the future province of Ontario). Upper Canada received representative government; provision was made for the support of the colonial administration and an established church by substantial land endowments called the Crown and Clergy Reserves.

      John Graves Simcoe (Simcoe, John Graves), the vigorous first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, supervised the introduction of English legal and local government practices, laid out the land-granting pattern, supported the construction of trunk roads, and fixed the capital at York (now Toronto). His policy of welcoming massive immigration from the United States was a source of tension between the newcomers and the established anti-U.S. loyalists, a rift that deepened during the War of 1812 (1812, War of). After the war and throughout the 19th century, immigrants came mainly from Ireland and Great Britain, with large numbers from Scotland.

      From 1815 to 1840 the province was dominated by a conservative oligarchy known as the “Family Compact,” alleged to be an elite tied together by family relationships. Even when this group lost its majority in the elected legislative assembly, as happened twice, it continued to control the legislative council (the appointed upper house) and the lieutenant governor's executive council (the governing body). The oligarchy favoured the Anglican Church and the Crown and Clergy Reserves but also rapid economic growth. Its commitment of public funds, borrowed in Great Britain, to private infrastructure projects—such as the construction of the Welland Canal (to bypass Niagara Falls)—led to mounting opposition as costs rose. Reformers demanded “responsible government,” by which they meant that the government should enjoy the confidence of a majority of members of the elected assembly. As well, some wanted to expand the elective principle into the legislative council and the public service. The local oligarchy and the British government resisted major change, however, and in 1837 a radical minority led by the journalist William Lyon Mackenzie (Mackenzie, William Lyon) staged an unsuccessful revolt in conjunction with a larger (but also unsuccessful) uprising in Lower Canada.

      In 1841 the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada were united, and Upper Canada became known as Canada West. Responsible cabinet government was achieved in the course of the 1840s. The formation of the second Robert Baldwin (Baldwin, Robert)–Louis Hippolyte LaFontaine (LaFontaine, Sir Louis-Hippolyte, Baronet) ministry in 1848 led to the passage of the highly controversial Rebellion Losses Bill (1849), designed to compensate those who had suffered losses during the revolt of 1837. The bill attracted strong opposition among the Tory faction (English-speaking conservatives who had supported the constitutional status quo) because it meant that compensation would be paid to some of the rebels who had participated in the uprising; it also signaled the Tories' loss of influence. When Lord Elgin (Elgin, James Bruce, 8th earl of), the governor-general of British North America, signed it into law, an enraged mob burned the Parliament buildings, then in Montreal. (This cost the city its status as the colonial capital, which was eventually located in Ottawa.) The incident demonstrated that colonial responsible government was now a fact: the assembly had supported the bill, and Lord Elgin had given his assent despite his own misgivings and those of the British government. The present system of municipal government and the province's educational system were created in the 1850s, which also brought railway construction on a large scale, the beginnings of industrialization, and the emergence of Toronto as a commercial rival for Montreal.

      Rapid economic growth in Canada West prompted demands for expansion into the vast Hudson's Bay Company lands in the northwest. That desire for expansion, along with the need for colonial defense, the wish for improved intercolonial trade, and the political deadlock that gripped the province by the early 1860s contributed to the movement toward a new constitutional settlement—the political union of British North America under the name of Canada. Achieved in 1867, Canadian federation was brought about in large part by politicians in Canada West, such as John Macdonald (Macdonald, Sir John) and George Brown (Brown, George).

      With federation, Canada West became the province of Ontario, and its capital was located at Toronto, while Ottawa became the federal capital. For a generation Ontario's government was headed by Oliver Mowat, the Liberal (Liberal Party of Canada) premier who won a boundary dispute with Manitoba and the federal government that doubled the size of Ontario and helped to confirm the supremacy of provincial governments within their constitutionally assigned powers.

      With the harnessing of Niagara Falls in 1882, Ontario entered into an energy revolution that eventually came to encompass the hydroelectric power potential of the northern part of the province and the St. Lawrence River (Saint Lawrence River and Seaway), as well as coal-generated and nuclear thermal power. After 1900, sparked by the construction of railways in Northern Ontario, major discoveries of minerals, including silver and gold, took place as well. In addition, the forest industry expanded as pulp and paper became major export staples. Early in the 20th century, the government imposed a “manufacturing condition” that was intended to force companies to process forest products and nickel ore within Ontario before export.

      The involvement of Toronto's business community in developing the rich resources of the north underlay its ultimately successful attempt to make the city Canada's leading financial centre. During the 1930s, Toronto surpassed Montreal to attain this stature.

      In 1905 a long period of Liberal hegemony ended as the Conservative Party (known formally as the Liberal-Conservative Party until 1942, when it was renamed the Progressive Conservative Party (Progressive Conservative Party of Canada)) took power under James Pliny Whitney. The fostering of economic growth remained the government's chief concern, but Whitney's administration was more inclined to intervene in the economy than its Liberal predecessors had been. His government established the publicly owned Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario and introduced workers' compensation. It also took steps to reform the University of Toronto and place it beyond direct political control.

 Aside from the realization of the economic potential of Ontario's north, events that significantly shaped the province during the 20th century included the two world wars. During World War I, Ontario's mood was militantly patriotic; indeed, the town of Berlin even changed its name to Kitchener. Many young men, a good number of them fairly recently arrived from the British Isles, volunteered for the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Some 68,000 Ontarian servicemen died or were wounded during the war. At home, the war reinforced the growth of Ontario's resource and manufacturing industries. It also stimulated the movement for reforms that had been advocated for some years. The franchise was extended to women in 1917 in recognition of their role in the war effort, and the Conservative government of William Hearst introduced prohibition because alcohol was viewed as a hindrance to the industrial production and military effectiveness required for victory.

      Hearst's government was succeeded in 1919 by an uncomfortable coalition of the United Farmers of Ontario and the Independent Labour Party, led by Ernest C. Drury. A referendum that year approved the continuation of prohibition, but enforcement proved problematic for the coalition and for the Conservatives, who returned to office in 1923. Prohibition finally ended in 1927.

      The Great Depression hit most of Ontario's industries and population hard; only gold mining escaped the general slump. By 1933, at the low point of the downturn, about one-fourth of the labour force was unemployed. Unable to collect a large portion of the property taxes on which they depended, more than 50 municipalities defaulted on their debts. This led to the creation in 1935 of the Department of Municipal Affairs, which was given broad-ranging powers to supervise municipal finances, and to the abrogation of the municipal income tax.

      Discredited by the Depression, the Conservatives were defeated in the 1934 election by the Liberals, led by a farmer from western Ontario, Mitchell Hepburn. Initially committed to moderate reform, he became notorious for his hostility to the militant labour unions affiliated with the new, U.S.-based Congress of Industrial Organizations (American Federation of Labor–Congress of Industrial Organizations) and for his quarrels, on political and constitutional grounds, with the Canadian prime minister W.L. Mackenzie King (King, W.L. Mackenzie), a fellow Ontarian and Liberal. The outbreak of World War II in 1939 added a further dimension to those quarrels, as Hepburn professed to believe that King's government was not committed to total war.

      Nevertheless, as in World War I, many Ontarians joined the armed forces. One key wartime project was the Commonwealth Air Training Plan, which used airfields throughout Southern Ontario to train air crews from British Commonwealth countries. Military recruitment and war-linked production ended unemployment in Ontario. Industrial output came to include munitions, guns, military vehicles, and aircraft.

      The war also prompted increased labour organization and growing support for the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), a Depression-born social-democratic party that preached the message that government should reward wartime sacrifices with improved social and health services. In 1943 the Liberals lost power, giving way to a Conservative minority government, with the CCF as the official opposition. The CCF's appeal proved to be evanescent, however, and the Conservatives gained an electoral majority in 1945. Led by pragmatic leaders with roots in small and medium-sized Ontario towns—such as George Drew, Leslie Frost, John Robarts, and William Davis—the party embodied a moderate political philosophy and responded effectively to social change.

      During the war the province had used tax breaks and government-sponsored day care to induce married women to fill jobs vacated by servicemen. Neither inducement long survived the war, however, as governments after 1945 sought, largely successfully, to encourage married women to return to homemaking. This trend was associated with suburban growth, especially around Toronto, and with the “baby boom,” an increase in the birth rate that put heavy pressure on the educational system. An influx of mostly younger immigrants from Great Britain and continental Europe also strained the schools. These phenomena took place within an extraordinary and lengthy postwar economic boom, during which real incomes and profits rose steadily and in some industries spectacularly.

      The Conservatives remained in office for more than 40 years, until their defeat by the Liberals in 1985. The Liberals, the New Democratic Party (successor to the CCF), and the Conservatives alternated in power through the end of the 20th century and into the 21st.

      One reason for the Conservatives' loss of power in 1985 was their decision in 1984 to extend full funding to the Roman Catholic (Roman Catholicism) separate school system. The extension of funding to the secondary grades reflected the government's awareness that postwar immigration from eastern and southern Europe had significantly increased the proportion of Catholics in Ontario, especially in such cities as Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, and Windsor. Nevertheless, some of the Conservatives' traditional supporters were offended by the government's action, and critics of publicly funded religious education objected to what they viewed as an implied weakening of the public school system. The Supreme Court of Canada, considering that the special protection of Roman Catholics under the British North America Act (1867) took priority over the equality rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982), upheld the legislation in 1996. In 1999, however, the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations found that this constituted religious discrimination because the funding was not offered to any other religious group. The issue of extending funding to other religious schools remains contentious in Ontario politics.

      In another area, a challenge in the Ontario courts led to a significant change in public policy. In 2003 the Ontario Superior Court found that Canadian law restricting marriage to the union of a man and a woman violated the equality provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This was the first of a number of similar rulings in other provinces that prompted the federal government to pass the 2005 Civil Marriage Act, offering fully equal marriage to same-sex (same-sex marriage) couples.

S.F. Wise Michiel Horn Geoffrey Ewen

Additional Reading
An excellent introduction to Ontario is Peter A. Baskerville, Sites of Power: A Concise History of Ontario (2005). Also very good are the relevant chapters in Larry McCann and Angus Gunn (eds.), Heartland and Hinterland: A Regional Geography of Canada, 3rd ed. (1998).

Fine recent studies of immigration include Franca Iacovetta, Such Hardworking People: Italian Immigrants in Postwar Toronto (1992); and Frans J. Schryer, The Netherlandic Presence in Ontario: Pillars, Class, and Dutch Ethnicity (1998). Inspired by the author's childhood in Elgin county, Ontario, John Kenneth Galbraith, The Scotch, 2nd ed. (1985), is delightful.

Valuable economic histories are Douglas McCalla, Planting the Province: The Economic History of Upper Canada, 1784–1870 (1993); Ian M. Drummond, Progress Without Planning: The Economic History of Ontario from Confederation to the Second World War (1987); and K.J. Rea, The Prosperous Years: The Economic History of Ontario, 1939–1975 (1985). Dianne Newell, Technology on the Frontier: Mining in Old Ontario (1986), takes a new look at mining. Ian Radforth, Bushworkers and Bosses: Logging in Northern Ontario, 1900–1980 (1987), does the same for logging. H.V. Nelles, The Politics of Development: Forests, Mines & Hydro-Electric Power in Ontario, 1849–1941, 2nd ed. (2005), explores the interplay between the public and private sectors.

Government and society
Among good analyses of political, legislative, and constitutional developments are F.F. Schindeler, Responsible Government in Ontario (1969); Graham White, The Ontario Legislature: A Political Analysis (1989); and Christopher Armstrong, The Politics of Federalism: Ontario's Relations with the Federal Government, 1867–1942 (1981).Among many worthwhile works in social, labour, cultural, intellectual, and educational history are Richard B. Splane, Social Welfare in Ontario, 1791–1893: A Study of Public Welfare Administration (1965); James Struthers, The Limits of Affluence: Welfare in Ontario, 1920–1970 (1994); Andrew Jones and Leonard Rutman, In the Children's Aid: J.J. Kelso and Child Welfare in Ontario (1981); Dorothy E. Chunn, From Punishment to Doing Good: Family Courts and Socialized Justice in Ontario, 1880–1940 (1992); Marjorie Griffin Cohen, Women's Work, Markets, and Economic Development in Nineteenth-Century Ontario (1988); Joy Parr, The Gender of Breadwinners: Women, Men, and Change in Two Industrial Towns, 1880–1950 (1990); Laurel Sefton MacDowell, Remember Kirkland Lake: The Gold Miners' Strike of 1941–42, rev. ed. (2001); R.D. Gidney and W.P.J. Millar, Professional Gentlemen: The Professions in Nineteenth-Century Ontario (1994); Robert M. Stamp, The Schools of Ontario, 1876–1976 (1982); R.D. Gidney, From Hope to Harris: The Reshaping of Ontario's Schools (1999); A.B. McKillop, Matters of Mind: The University in Ontario, 1791–1951 (1994); Shirley Tillotson, The Public at Play: Gender and the Politics of Recreation in Post-war Ontario (2000); and Kerry M. Abel, Changing Places: History, Community, and Identity in Northeastern Ontario (2006). Chad Gaffield, Language, Schooling, and Cultural Conflict: The Origins of the French-Language Controversy in Ontario (1987), makes an important contribution.

Peter L. Storck, Journey to the Ice Age: Discovering an Ancient World (2004), provides information on the archaeology of Paleolithic Ontario. A visual account of the modern province is Roger Hall and Gordon Dodds, Ontario: Two Hundred Years in Pictures (1991). Michael J. Piva (ed.), A History of Ontario: Selected Readings (1988), is also useful. Randall White, Ontario, 1610–1985: A Political and Economic History (1985), and Ontario Since 1985 (1998), offer an introduction in two volumes. The best introduction to the early years of the province is Gerald M. Craig, Upper Canada: The Formative Years, 1784–1841 (1963, reissued 1984). An excellent source on the later 19th century is the collection of articles in Donald Swainson (ed.), Oliver Mowat's Ontario (1972). Louis Gentilcore (ed.), Ontario (1972), offers the insights of several historical geographers. Jacob Spelt, Urban Development in South-Central Ontario (1972), still repays reading.Geoffrey Ewen

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Universalium. 2010.

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