Ontario, weighing in at one million square kilometres, is Canada’s second-largest province. The northern region from the Great Lakes to Hudson Bay is mostly occupied by the forests and rocky outcrops of the Canadian Shield. Algonquian and Iroquoian natives originally settled in the agriculturally succesful regions of southern Ontario. This area paved the way for the development of industry, which in turn spawned the province’s growth.
Summers can be very warm, while spring and autumn are cooler. Winters are very cold with snowfall. The wind chill has a major impact on the ferocity of the Eastern Canadian winter.
The first Europeans to contact the indiginous peoples were the French explorers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. They arrived with the fur trade, and they marked a very important time in the development of Canada as it is today. During this time more new Canadians arrived, mostly English, Irish and Scots, making Upper Canada (Ontario’s name pre-Confederation) the most prosperous and population dense Canadian region. The industrialization of its larger towns was a huge factor in its subsequent development. This industrial growth was supported by the discovery of some of the world’s richest mineral deposits. Nickel, silver, gold, and iron ore were found there.
As a result Ontario is a very financially important province. Its cities bustle into the night with the hum of a well oiled machine.
Ontario is also a political powerhouse, as home of Canada’s capital city Ottawa. When Ottawa was chosen as Canada’s capital, it was an ideal compromise between the interests of Upper Canada and Québec, because it is located right along the provincial border. Hull, Québec, located across the river from Ottawa, is home to many Federal Government departments.
Ontario is Canada’s most productive province, generating approximately 40 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Ontario’s natural resources, modern transportation system, large, well-educated labour force, and reliable and inexpensive electrical power give it a large financial stance in Canada. Car Production is Ontario’s major industry and most substantial export, employing more than 100,000 people and providing approximately 26 percent of Canada’s total exports.
Mining has always been prominent in Ontario’s economy. Extraction of gold, nickel, copper, uranium and zinc represents a multi-billion dollar business. Most Ontario towns have at least one industry connected to forestry. The overwhelming majority of the forest land is owned by the provincial government, which licenses logging rights. Financial industries are also a source of prosperity. Toronto boasts the world’s fourth-largest capital market, the Toronto Stock Exchange; it is North America’s second-largest by volume and third-largest by value traded. Tourism is also a staple of the Ontario economy.