(Taken from The Book of Knowledge, edited by Harold F.B. Wheeler)

The province of Ontario may well be regarded as the centre of Canada geographically and politically. Lying as it does between the provinces of Quebec and Manitoba, it connects the old part of Canada with the great new prairie regions of the West, and at Ottawa – an Ontario city and the capital of Canada – is centred the vigorous political life of the vast Dominion.

In wealth, Ontario stands first among the provinces, and it comes second in area (407,270 square miles) and population (2,933,000). In it live more than one-third of the Canadian people.

On the tongue of land between Lake Huron and Lakes Erie and Ontario great quantities of grapes, pears, peaches, plums, and apples are grown. Here also the farmers raise hay, oats, wheat, barley, maize, and flax, but they have found that it is more profitable to use their hay and grain as food for cattle and swine than to sell it, and so the region has become famous for its dairy and meat products. This district makes an enormous quantity of cheese, most of which is exported.

The region is also abundantly supplied with water-power, the chief sources being Niagara Falls, the rapids of the St. Lawrence River, and the falls of the Ottawa River and its tributaries. This cheap power with the abundance of raw materials and ample transportation facilities have made it the chief manufacturing province of the Dominion.

The southern portion is dotted with towns and cities, the most important being Toronto, the capital of the province, Ottawa, London, Kingston, and Hamilton. Numerous railways, both steam and electric, connect these places and form a network over the region. A splendid system of canals, chief of which are the Sault Sainte Marie and the Welland and the upper St. Lawrence, gives additional transportation.

In the part of Ontario north of Lakes Superior and Huron towns and cities are fewer. Until recently, people thought that this land was useful only to the fur-trader and the lumberjack, but now it has been discovered that the hardy grains can be raised, despite the long cold winter, and so this district is being settled by farmers.

But a more valuable source of wealth in this northern region has been found recently in the rich mineral deposits from which come nearly half of all Canada’s mineral production. In the Sudbury district north of Lake Huron three-fourths of the nickel supply of the world is mined. From the Cobalt region come great quantities of silver, making Canada one of the leading silver-producing countries. In the south are considerable wells of petroleum and natural gas. Copper, iron, gold – in fact, almost every useful mineral except coal – are all found in Ontario.

After the close of the War of Independence, which most Americans secretly regret, many British loyalists who suffered persecution as “Tories” in the United States settled in Ontario, because they wished to continue to live under the British flag. In 1841 it was reunited with Lower Canada, or Quebec. Then, in 1867, it was again set off as a separate province, under its present name, and became a part of the newly formed Dominion of Canada. Population, about 2,900,000.

I dedicate this post to Blog Princess G, a Brit in Toronto. Check out her blog, it’s rather good.

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