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Canada Provinces: |
Ontario - an industrial Giant within North America
Posted on Saturday, June 24 @ 12:47:32 PDT by classiclady
Ontario is the most populous and second-largest in area of Canada's ten provinces. It is found in east-central Canada. Its capital is Toronto. Ottawa, the capital of Canada, is also located in
Ontario. As of July 1, 2005 there are 12,541,410 Ontarians (residents of Ontario), representing approximately 37.9% of the total Canadian population and an area of 1,076,395 square kilometres (415,598 sq. mi.).
Ontario is bounded on the north by Hudson Bay and James Bay, on the east by Quebec, on the west by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. Ontario's long American border is formed almost entirely by lakes and rivers, starting in Lake of the Woods and continuing to the Saint Lawrence River near Cornwall; it passes through the four Great Lakes Ontario shares with bordering states, namely Lakes Superior, Huron (which includes Georgian Bay), Erie, and Ontario (for which the province is named; the name Ontario itself is a corruption of the Iroquois word "Onitariio" meaning "beautiful lake" or "Kanadario," variously translated as "beautiful water"). There are approximately 250,000 lakes and over 100,000 kilometres (62,000 mi) of rivers in the province.
The province consists of three main geographical regions:
the thinly populated Canadian Shield in the northwestern and central portions, a mainly infertile area rich in minerals and studded with lakes and rivers; sub-regions are Northwestern Ontario and Northeastern Ontario.
the mostly unpopulated Hudson Bay Lowlands in the extreme north and northeast, mainly swampy and sparsely forested; and
the temperate, and therefore most populous region, the fertile Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Valley in the south where agriculture and industry are concentrated. Southern Ontario is further sub-divided into four regions; Southwestern Ontario (parts of which formerly referred to as Western Ontario), Golden Horseshoe (includes capital Toronto), Central Ontario and Eastern Ontario.
Despite the absence of any mountainous terrain in the province, there are upland regions within the Canadian Shield which traverses the province from northwest to southeast and above the Niagara Escarpment in the south. The highest point is Ishpantina Ridge at 693m above sea level located in Northeastern Ontario.
The Carolinian forest zone covers most of the southwestern section, its northern extent is part of the Greater Toronto Area at the western end of Lake Ontario. The most significant geographic feature in the south is the Niagara Escarpment which flows from Niagara Falls to Tobermory. The Saint Lawrence Seaway allows navigation to and from the Atlantic Ocean as far inland as Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario. Northern Ontario occupies roughly 85% of the surface area of the province; conversely Southern Ontario contains 94% of the population (see article Geography of Canada).
Point Pelee National Park is a peninsula in southwestern Ontario (near Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan) that extends into Lake Erie and is the part of Canada's mainland furthest south. Pelee Island in Lake Erie is even further south. Both are south of 42°N – slightly further south than the northern border of California.
Ethnic Origin Population Percent
Canadian 3,350,275 29.69%
English 2,711,485 24.03%
Scottish 1,843,110 16.33%
Irish 1,761,280 15.61%
French 1,235,765 10.95%
German 965,510 8.56%
Italian 781,345 6.92%
Chinese 518,550 4.59%
Dutch (Netherlands) 436,035 3.86%
East Indian 413,415 3.66%
Polish 386,050 3.42%
Ukrainian 290,925 2.58%
North American Indian 248,940 2.21%
Portuguese 248,265 2.20%
The information regarding ethnicities below is from the 2001 Canadian Census. The percentages add to more than 100% because of dual responses (e.g. "French-Canadian" generates an entry in both the category "French" and the category "Canadian".) Groups with greater than 200,000 responses are included.
The major Religious Groups in Ontario are:
34.7% Roman Catholic
2.7% other Christian
16.7% other, non-professing
Increasing immigration from all parts of the world, especially to Toronto and its environs, is rapidly diversifying the province's ethnic makeup. Slightly less than five per cent of the population of Ontario is Franco-Ontarian, that is those whose native tongue is French, usually in addition to English.
10 largest Census Metropolitan Areas (CMA's) by population
Statistics Canada's measure of a "metro area", the Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) roughly bundles together population figures from the core municipality with those from "commuter" municipalities. 
CMA (largest other included municipalities in brackets) 2005 (est.) 2001
Toronto CMA (Mississauga, Brampton) 5,304,100 4,883,800
Ottawa–Gatineau CMA, Ontario part (Clarence-Rockland, Russell) 870,616 806,096
Hamilton CMA (Burlington, Grimsby) 714,900 689,200
London CMA (St. Thomas, Strathroy-Caradoc) 464,300 449,600
Kitchener CMA (Cambridge, Waterloo) 458,600 431,300
St. Catharines–Niagara CMA (Niagara Falls, Welland) 396,900 391,700
Oshawa CMA (Whitby, Clarington) 340,300 308,500
Windsor CMA (Lakeshore, LaSalle) 332,300 320,800
Barrie CA (Innisfil, Springwater) 165,000 148,480
Greater Sudbury CMA (Whitefish Lake & Wahnapitei Reserves) 161,100 161,500
10 largest municipalities by population
City 2001 1996
Toronto 2,481,494 2,385,421
Ottawa 808,391 721,136
Mississauga (part of Greater Toronto) 612,925 544,382
Hamilton 499,268 467,799
London 336,539 325,669
Brampton (part of Greater Toronto) 325,428 268,251
Markham (part of Greater Toronto) 208,615 173,383
Windsor 208,402 197,694
Kitchener 190,399 178,420
Vaughan (part of Greater Toronto) 182,022 132,549
Enjoying summer at Sandbanks Provincial Park on Lake Ontario.
Southern Ontario's climate is humid continental, with relatively hot, humid summers and cold winters. It is considered a temperate climate when compared with most of Canada. In the summer, the air masses often come out of the southern United States, as the stronger the Bermuda high pressure over the Atlantic Ocean, the more warm, humid air is transported northward from the Gulf of Mexico. In the fall and winter, temperatures are moderated somewhat by the Great Lakes, making it considerably milder than northern Ontario. Both spring and fall are generally pleasantly mild with cool nights.
The open lakes result in lake effect snow squalls on the eastern and southern shores of the lakes, which affect much of the Georgian Bay shoreline including Killarney, Parry Sound District, Muskoka and Simcoe County; the Lake Huron shore from east of Sarnia northward to the Bruce Peninsula. Wind-whipped snow squalls or lake effect snow can affect areas as far as 100 kilometres (62 mi) or greater from the shore, but the heaviest snows usually occur within 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the shoreline.
Northern Ontario has a more extreme continental climate with long, very cold winters and short, warm to hot summers. In the summer, hot weather occasionally reaches even the northernmost parts of Ontario, although humidity is generally lower than in the south. With no major mountain ranges blocking Arctic air masses, winters are generally very cold, especially in the far north and northwest. The snow stays on the ground much longer in the region too; the first snowfall often comes in October and the last snow can come as late as May. The climate is moderated considerably on the east shore of Lake Superior, another snowbelt exists there.
Severe thunderstorms peak in frequency in June and July in most of the province, although in southern Ontario they can happen anytime from March to November due to the collision of cold Arctic air and warm Gulf air. The most severe weather prone regions are southwestern and central Ontario, much of them resulting from the Lake Breeze Front 1. London has the most lightning strikes per year, and is also one of the most active areas for storms, in Canada. Tornadoes are also common throughout the province, especially in the southwestern part, although they are rarely destructive. In northern Ontario, many tornadoes go undetected by ground spotters due to the sparse population; however destruction to forests seen by aircraft pilots is often how they are confirmed.
Toronto: Canada's largest metropolis
Ontario's rivers, including its share of the Niagara River, make it rich in hydroelectric energy. Hydroelectric energy makes up about 25% of the electric power generation in Ontario with the majority being nuclear power, 51%, and fossil fuels, mostly coal and an increasing share of natural-gas, round off the remaining supply mix with a relatively minute amount of wind and solar sources currently coming on line. Since the privatization of Ontario Hydro which began in 1999, Ontario Power Generation runs 85% of electricity generated in the province, but not the transmission of power, which is under the control of Hydro One.
This steady supply of electricity production along with an abundance of natural resources and an excellent transportation link to the American heartland, has contributed to making manufacturing the principal industry, found mainly in the Golden Horseshoe region, the most industrialized area in Canada. Important products include motor vehicles, iron, steel, food, electrical appliances, machinery, chemicals, and paper. Ontario surpassed the American state of Michigan in car production, assembling 2.696 million vehicles in 2004 (see Canada-United States Automotive Agreement).
However, as a result of steeply declining sales, on November 21, 2005, General Motors announced massive layoffs at production facilities across North America including two large GM plants in Oshawa and a drive train facility in St. Catharines which by 2008 will result in 8,000 job losses in Ontario alone. Subsequently in January 23, 2006 money losing Ford Motor Co. announced between 25,000 and 30,000 layoffs phased until 2012, Ontario was spared the worst, but job losses were announced for the St. Thomas facility and the Windsor casting plant. These losses will be offset by Ford's recent announcement of a hybrid vehicle facility slated to begin production in 2007 at its Oakville plant. Toyota also announced its plans to build a RAV-4 production facility in Woodstock by 2008 and Honda also has plans to add an engine plant at its large facility in Aliiston.
Some economists believe that the North American Free Trade Agreement has contributed to a decline in manufacturing in part of North America's manufacturing "Rust Belt" that includes a portion of Southern Ontario from roughly Windsor east to St. Catharines (50km south of Toronto). This area and the Greater Toronto region contain the bulk of the auto sector in the province. The biggest contributing factor is the increased globalization and particularly the increasing manufacturing power from China that has led to the de-industrialization of Ontario and the gradual shift to a dominant service-oriented economy. These factors considered, Ontario still remains an industrial giant within North America.
Toronto is the centre of Canada's financial services and banking industry. Suburban cities in the Greater Toronto Area like Brampton and Mississauga are large product distribution centres, in addition to having automobile related industries. The information technology sector is also important, especially in Markham, Waterloo and Ottawa. Hamilton is the largest steel manufacturing centre and Sarnia is the centre for the petrochemical production. Construction employs at least 7% of the work force, but due to undocumented workers this figure is likely over 10%. This sector has thrived over the last ten years due to steadily increasing new house and condominium construction combined with low mortgage rates and climbing prices, particularly in the Greater Toronto area. Mining and the forest products industry, notably pulp and paper, are vital to the economy of Northern Ontario. More than any other region, tourism contributes heavily to the economy of Central Ontario, peaking during the summer months owing to the abundance of fresh water recreation and wilderness found there in reasonable proximity to the major urban centres. At other times of the year, hunting, skiing and snowmobiling are among the out of high-season draws. This region has some of the most vibrant fall colour displays anywhere on the continent and tours directed at overseas visitors are organized to see them. Tourism also plays a key role in border cities with large casinos, among them Windsor and Niagara Falls which attract many US visitors.
Nominal Gross Domestic Product in 2003 was an estimated C$494.229 billion (40.6% of the Canadian total), larger than the GDP of Austria, Belgium or Sweden. Broken down by sector, the primary sector is 1.8% of total GDP, secondary sector 28.5%, and service sector 69.7%.
Further economic information on provincial GDP etc. at Ontario Facts
400-Series Highways, including one of North America’s busiest, Highway 401 make up the primary vehicular network in the south of province and they connect to numerous border crossings with US, the busiest being the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. Other provincial highways, the Trans-Canada highway and regional roads inter-connect the remainder of the province.
Via Rail operates the inter-regional passenger train service on the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor. In addition Amtrak rail connects Ontario with US destinations, including Chicago and New York. Ontario Northland provides rail service to destinations as far north as Moosonee near James Bay, connecting them with the south. Freight rail is dominated by the founding cross-country CN and CP rail companies, which during the 1990s sold many short rail lines from their vast network to private companies operating mostly in the south. Regional Commuter rail is limited to the provincially owned GO Transit, which serves a train/bus network spanning the Golden Horseshoe region, its hub in Toronto. Also the TTC in Toronto operates the provinces only subway and streetcar system, the second busiest in North America. Outside of Toronto, the O-Train LRT line operates in Ottawa with ongoing expansion of the current line and proposals for additional lines.
Lester B. Pearson International Airport is the nations busiest airport handling approximately 30 million passengers per year. Other important airports include Ottawa International Airport and John C. Munro International Airport south of Hamilton, which is also an important courier and freight aviation centre.
Many far northern destinations, mostly aboriginal communities that are beyond the existing road and rail network are accessible only by air.
Once the dominant industry, agriculture occupies a small percentage of the population. The number of farms has decreased from 68,633 in 1991 to 59,728 in 2001, but farms have increased in average size. Cattle, small grains and dairy were the common types of farms in the 2001 census. The fruit, grape and vegetable growing industry is located primarily on the Niagara Peninsula and along Lake Erie. The Ontario origins of Massey-Ferguson Ltd., once one of the largest farm implement manufacturers in the world, indicate the importance agriculture once had to the Ontario economy (see Geography of Canada for more detail).
The logo of the Government of Ontario
The Ontario Legislature Building at Queen's Park
The British North America Act 1867 section 69 stipulated "There shall be a Legislature for Ontario consisting of the Lieutenant Governor and of One House, styled the Legislative Assembly of Ontario." The assembly has 103 seats representing ridings elected in a first-past-the-post system across the province. The legislative buildings at Queen's Park in Toronto are the seat of government. Following the Westminster system, the leader of the party currently holding the most seats in the assembly is known as the "Premier and President of the Council" (Executive Council Act R.S.O. 1990). The Premier chooses the cabinet or Executive Council whose members are deemed "ministers of the Crown." Although the Legislative Assembly Act (R.S.O. 1990) refers to members of the assembly, the legislators are now commonly called MPPs (Members of the Provincial Parliament) in English and députés de l'Assemblée législative in French, but they have also been called MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly), and both are acceptable. The title of Prime Minister of Ontario, while permissible in English and correct in French (le Premier ministre), is generally avoided in favour of "Premier" to avoid confusion with the Prime Minister of Canada.
Classiclady June 24, 2006
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