And we laugh at our neighbours. I bet you didn’t know . . .

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The name “Ontario” comes from a native word, possibly “Onitariio” or “Kanadario”, loosely translated as “beautiful” or “sparkling” water or lake.


The largest rock formation in Canada is the Canadian Shield. The scars from the advance and retreat of glaciers are evident on the rocks of the Canadian Shield.

The Canadian Shield covers about two-thirds of Ontario.

The Ishpatina Ridge is the highest point in Ontario at 693 metres.

There are actually 1,864 islands in the Thousand Islands.

The Ontario-U.S. border is almost entirely defined by water. To the east of Thunder Bay, the border runs along the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway, and to the west it follows a series of lakes and rivers.

Sault Ste. Marie is the Ontario city located closest to the halfway point of the Trans-Canada Highway that runs from Victoria, British Columbia to St. Johns, Newfoundland.

Natural Resources

Ontario’s hundreds of provincial parks run the gamut from urban experiences, such as Bronte Creek Provincial Park, to the ultimate in wilderness environments, such as Quetico Provincial Park.

Algonquin Provincial Park, established in 1893, was Ontarios first provincial park.

Lake Superior is the worlds largest freshwater lake by surface area.

Lake Michigan, the third largest of the Great Lakes, is entirely within the United States.

Lake Huron is the worlds fifth largest lake.

Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes.

Lake Ontario is the smallest of the Great Lakes.


During the War of 1812 Laura Secord was able to warn the British troops of a planned American attack.

Kingston served as the first capital of the province of Canada.

People and Culture

Ontario is one of the most multicultural societies on earth. Half of all immigrants to Canada settle in Ontario; of those, half live outside Toronto.

Sir Fredrick Banting, who won a Nobel prize for the discovery of insulin, was born in Alliston, Ontario.

Heart valves were transplanted for the first time worldwide in Toronto in 1956.

The worlds first successful double lung transplant occurred in Toronto in 1986.


Ontario is Canadas manufacturing leader and produces almost 60 per cent of all manufactured goods that are shipped out of the country.

The Peterborough Lift Lock on the Trent Canal is the highest hydraulic lift lock in the world, carrying vessels to a height of 65 feet.


Ontario’s first legislature, for what was then known as the Province of Upper Canada, was in Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake). It was moved “temporarily” well away from the American border, to York (now Toronto) in 1794.

Ontario’s capital city is Toronto.

Kingston served as the first capital of the province of Canada.

Emblems and Symbols

The Ontario motto shown in Latin on the banner at the bottom of the Coat of Arms is “Ut incepit Fidelis sic permanet”. The English translation means “Loyal she began, loyal she remains”.

Fun and Interesting Facts
The round opening in the west tower of the Ontario Legislative Building was made to house a large clock. However, the clock was never installed.

In celebration of the Ontario Legislative Buildings 100th anniversary in 1993, a time capsule was placed under one of the copper objects located on the centre roof of the building. The capsule will not be opened until 2093.

Traditionally, important buildings have the date of construction carved into a cornerstone. However, there are no records of the Ontario Legislative Building having a commemorative cornerstone or a cornerstone laying ceremony.

A fire destroyed the west wing of the Ontario Legislative Building in 1909. When it was rebuilt, sandstone was brought in from Sackville, New Brunswick to make new bricks. As the original sandstone was from Orangeville and the Credit Valley, the east and west wings of the building are of two different shades.

Highway 3 in southwestern Ontario was first known as the Talbot Trail. It was named after Colonel Thomas Talbot who was responsible for the first settlement in the area.

Babe Ruth, a baseball hero, hit his first professional home run in Toronto on September 5, 1914.

The astronauts of the Apollo 16 and Apollo 17 moon missions had geology field trips to the Sudbury area as part of their training in 1971 and 1972 respectively.

Ontario is home to more than one time zone. The boundary line between the Central Time Zone and Eastern Time Zone is just west of Thunder Bay running north from the United States border to Hudson Bay.

Source: The Government of Canada

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