Ontario: Seat of Canada

Ontario Parks 

Ontario has over 270 provincial parks. You can camp fully equipped or rough it in the wilderness with a tent. Ontario offers options for camping all year around, back country, tours, nature viewing, wild life viewing, cross country skiing. The sky is really the limit!  Most provincial parks rent boats and kayaks, barbeques and water bikes and tackle. Check out the website below to narrow your choices and find out where and when to go. http://www.ontarioparks.com/english/index.html 

Ontario Colleges 

Ontario is a great place to go to school. Some of the best post-secondary educational facilities in Canada are in Ontario. There are 24 colleges in Ontario to choose from! Two are Francophone. 

The options for college in Ontario are:  

1-year certificate programs, 2-3-year diploma programs, Apprenticeship programs, Bachelor degree programs and Co-operative Education programs which lead to experience in a specific field of study. 

This government-based website will help you research and decide where you want to go to College in Ontario and what is available in your chosen field of study as well as information on financial assistance, college life, getting a job after College, and College Program Standards. http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/general/list/college.htm 

History of Ontario 

The earliest inhabitants of Ontario date back 7000 years. Northern native people were the Algonquin, Cree and Ojibwa. They hunted and fished in the plentiful forests and lakes. The southern natives were the Tobacco, the Huron, the Iroquois, and the Attiwandron. The name ‘Ontario’ is derived from the Iroquois which means “beautiful” or “sparkling lake”. The first European settlers to come to Ontario arrived in 1610.  Samuel de Champlain, Etienne Brule and Henry Hudson were all looking for a route through the Northwest Passage and were stunned by Ontario’s beauty and its abundance of natural resources. Henry Hudson claimed Hudson’s Bay for himself, and all explorers built forts to protect their commercial resources. Fighting between the French and English took place throughout the 1600’s until 1763 until the French acquiesced and gave all their rights over to the British. During the American Revolution, loyalists flocked to Ontario thus bolstering British presence in Ontario. 

In 1791, all the land north of the St. Lawrence and the great Lakes that was previously named Quebec was divided into Upper and Lower Canada. Ontario was then labeled Upper Canada and Quebec was Lower Canada. The capital city was Newark and later moved to York, which is now Toronto. Ontario was gradually settled by German settlers and Mennonites from New York State and Catholics. 

 In 1812, the United States attacked Upper Canada. Laura Secord, a famous Ontarian travelled 19 miles alone to warn the British Commander that the American were on the way to attack. They were beaten back but not before they had burnt the legislative buildings in Toronto. 

Ontario’s population kept growing and Ontario joined confederation in 1867 when Quebec and Ontario became separate provinces. 

Ontario may be divided into three major regions: the Canadian Shield or Laurentian Plateau; the Hudson Bay Lowlands in the north; and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Lowlands in the south. The Canadian Shield covers 50% of Ontario and contains rich deposits of minerals such as copper, lead, nickel, zinc, uranium. The shield also harbors a variety of forests, rivers, and lakes, which makes it ideal for tourism and natural attractions. The Hudson Bay Lowlands in northern Ontario (around Hudson Bay) are well known for flat areas of swampy bogs (muskeg), and a belt of permafrost that never thaws. The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Lowlands region contains most of Ontario’s population because of the area’s agriculture potential. The most popular part of this area is Niagara Falls, a tourist attraction that lures thousands of visitors each year. 

In Northern Ontario visit Lake Superior North Shore where you’ll find Old Fort William – the world’s largest reconstructed fur trade post. Visit the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park located on a peninsula, and the Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park featuring a spectacular geological fault (over 500 feet deep!). Go sea kayaking in Pukaskwa National Park, and see the Thunder Bay Art Gallery showcasing the work of many First Nations artists. 
In Toronto, Canada’s largest city, enjoy world-class art, entertainment, culture, shopping, dining, and family fun! Ascend the amazing CN Tower, experience the Harborfront Center, entertain yourself at Ontario Place and the Skydome, and take a ferry ride to the various Toronto islands.