Ontario Provincial Overview
The name "Ontario" comes from the Iroquois word "Kanadario" which means "sparkling water". Ontario
is bordered on the south by the Great Lakes and on the north by Hudson Bay, nestled between the provinces of Quebec and Manitoba (see Provincial Map), and has an area of over a million square kilometres. Over one-sixth of its terrain, 177,390 square kilometres, is covered by rivers and lakes.
The province's larger cities include: Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Niagara Region, Kitchener, London, Windsor, Sudbury, Sault Ste Marie and Thunder Bay (links indicate those with more info on this web site).
Ontario's native Iroquois and Algonquin Indians first encountered European explorers, fur traders and missionaries in the early 1600s. By 1774, the British ruled over southern Ontario, which was then part of the British colony of Quebec. The colony was later divided and the Ontario region was renamed Upper Canada (it was higher up the St Lawrence River than Quebec or "Lower Canada"). When the Dominion of Canada was formed in 1867, it was renamed the province of Ontario.
With over 10 million people, Ontario is today the country's most heavily populated province. Toronto is Ontario's capital and Canada's largest and most ethnically-diverse city. Toronto is also the country's leading producer of manufactured goods and headquarters of a large number of Canadian companies. The "Golden Horseshoe," the area around the western tip of Lake Ontario that connects Toronto with Hamilton and Niagara Falls, is home to the bulk of Ontario's population.
There is also the properous ara along the western stretch of the Highway 401: Kitchener, London, and Windsor. Ottawa, the national capital, has a million residents at the eastern end of Ontario, on the border with Quebec. In the north, there are a number of key population centres strung along the Trans-Canada Highway and along the Great Lakes: Sudbury, key for nickle mining, Sault Ste Marie located at a major junction between Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron, and Thunder Bay at the western end of Lake Superior.