Ontario - Encyclopedia

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ONTARIO, a province of Canada, having the province of Quebec to the E., the states of New York, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota to the S., Manitoba to the W., and the district of Keewatin with James Bay to the N. In most cases the actual boundary consists of rivers or lakes, the Ottawa to the north-east, the St Lawrence and its chain of lakes and rivers to the south as far as Pigeon river, which separates Ontario from Minnesota. From this a canoe route over small rivers and lakes leads to the Lake-of-the-Woods, which lies between Ontario, Minnesota and Manitoba; and English and Albany rivers with various lakes carry the boundary to James Bay. From Lake Temiscaming northwards the boundary is the meridian of 79° 30'.

Table of contents

Physical Geography

Ontario extends r000 m. from E. to W. and more than 700 m. from N. to S., between latitudes 55° and 42°, including the most southerly point in Canada. Its area is 260,862 sq. m. (40,354 water), and it is the most populous of the provinces, nine-tenths of its inhabitants living, however, in onetenth of its area, between the Great Lakes, the Ottawa and the St Lawrence. This forms part of the plain of the St Lawrence, underlain by Palaeozoic limestones and shales, with some sandstone, all furnishing useful building material and working up into a good soil. The lowest part of the plain, including an area of 4500 sq. m. lying between elevations of ioo and. 400 ft., was covered by the sea at the close of the Ice Age, which left behind broad deposits of clay and sand with marine shells.

The south-western part is naturally divided into two tracts by the Niagara escarpment, a line of cliffs capped by hard Silurian limestones, running from Queenston Heights near the falls of Niagara west to the head of Lake Ontario near Hamilton, and then northwest to the Bruce Peninsula on Georgian Bay. The tract north-east of the escarpment has an area of 9000 sq. m. and an altitude of 400 to 1000 ft., and the south-western tract includes 15,000 sq. m. with an elevation of 600 to 1700 ft. In the last petroleum, natural gas, salt and gypsum are obtained, but elsewhere in southern Ontario no economic minerals except building materials are obtained. Covering the higher parts of the south-western Palaeozoic area in most places are rolling hills of boulder clay or stony moraines; while the lower levels are plains gently sloping toward the nearest of the Great Lakes and sheeted with silt deposited in more ancient lakes when the St Lawrence outlet was blocked with ice at the end of the glacial period. The old shore cliffs and gravel bars of these glacial lakes are still well-marked topographical features, and provide favourite sites for towns and cities. London, for example, is built on the old shore of Lake Warren, the highest of the extinct lakes; and St Catharines, Hamilton and Toronto are on the old shore of Lake Iroquois, the lowest. The Niagara escarpment mentioned above, generally called "the mountain" in Ontario, is the cause of waterfalls on all the rivers which plunge over it, Niagara Falls being, of course, the most important; and in most cases these falls have eaten their way back into the tableland, forming deep gorges or canyons like that below Niagara itself, through which the water pours as violent rapids. Between the Palaeozoic area near Ottawa, and Georgian Bay to the north of the region just referred to, there is a southward projection of the Archaean protaxis consisting of granite and gneiss of the Laurentian, enclosing bands of crystalline limestone and schists, which are of interest as furnishing the only mines of "Old Ontario." From these rocks in the Ottawa valley are quarried or mined granite, marble, magnificent blue sodalite, felspar, talc, actinolite, mica, apatite, graphite and corundum; the latter mineral, which occurs on a larger scale here than elsewhere, is rapidly replacing emery as an abrasive. Several metals have been mined also, including gold, copper, lead, iron and arsenic; but the amounts produced have not been great, and many of the mines are no longer working.

While all the larger cities and most of the manufacturing and farming districts of the province belong to old Ontario, there is now in process of development a "New Ontario," stretching for hundreds of miles to the north and north-west of the region just described and covering a far larger area, chiefly made up of Laurentian and Huronian rocks of the Archaean protaxis. The rocky hills of the tableland to the north long repelled settlement, the region being looked on by the thrifty farmers of the south as a wilderness useless except for its forests and its furs; and unfortunate settlers who ventured into it usually failed and went west or south in search of better land. Gradually, however, areas of good soil were opened up, in the Rainy river valley, near Lake Temiscaming and elsewhere, and mines of various kinds were discovered, as the Canadian Pacific railway and its branches extended through the region, and at length the finding of very rich silver mines attracted world-wide attention to northern Ontario. In the better explored parts along the great lakes and the railways, ores of gold, silver, nickel, cobalt, antimony, arsenic, bismuth and molybdenum have been obtained, and several important mines have been opened up. Gold has been found at many points across the whole province, from the mines of the Lakeof-the-Woods on the west to the discoveries at Larder Lake on the east; but in most cases the returns have been unsatisfactory, and only a few of the gold mines are working. Silver mines have proved of far greater importance, in early days near Thunder Bay on Lake Superior, more recently in the cobalt region near Lake Temiscaming on the east side of the province. Silver Islet mine in Lake Superior produced in all $3,250,000 worth of silver, but this record will no doubt be surpassed by some of the mines in the extraordinarily rich cobalt district. The veins are small, but contain native silver and other rich silver ores running sometimes several thousand ounces per ton, the output being 5,500,000 oz. in 1906. Associated with the silver minerals are rich ores of cobalt and nickel, combined with arsenic, antimony and sulphur, which would be considered valuable if occurring alone, but are not paid for under present conditions, since they are difficult to separate and refine. The cobalt silver ores are found mainly in Huronian conglomerate, but also in older Keewatin rocks and younger diabase, and the silverbearing region, which at first included only a few square miles, is found to extend 25 m. to the west and as much to the north. Up to the present the most important mineral product of Ontario is nickel, which is mined only in the neighbourhood of Sudbury, where the ores occur in very large deposits, which in 1905 produced 95 0 3 tons, more than half of the world's supply of the metal. With the nickel copper is always found, and copper ores are worked on their own account in a few localities, such as Bruce mines. Iron ores have been discovered in many places in connexion with the "iron formation" of the Keewatin, but nowhere in amounts comparable with those of the same formation in Michigan and Minnesota. The total mineral output of Ontario, including building materials and cement, is larger than that of any other province of the dominion, and as more careful exploration is carried on in the northern parts, no doubt many more deposits of value will be discovered. It has been found that northern Ontario beyond the divide between the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay possesses many millions of acres of arable land, clay deposits in a post-glacial lake, like those in the southern part of the province, running from east to west from Lake Abitibbi to a point north of Lake Nipigon. Railways are opening up this tract. The clay belt is in latitudes south of Winnipeg, with a good summer climate but cold winters. The spruce timber covering much of the area is of great value, compensating for the labour of clearing the land.

Lakes and Rivers

All parts of Ontario are well provided with lakes and rivers, the most important chain being that of the St Lawrence and the Great Lakes with their tributaries, which drain the more populous southern districts, and, with the aid of canals, furnish communication by fairly large vessels between the lower St Lawrence and the Lake Superior. Lake Nipigon, a beautiful body of water 852 ft. above the sea, 70 m. long and 50 m. wide, may be looked upon as the headwaters of the St Lawrence, since Nipigon river is the largest tributary of Lake Superior, though several other important rivers, such as the Kaministiquia, the Pic and the Michipicoten, enter it from the north. All these rivers have high falls not far from Lake Superior, and Kakebeka Falls on the Kaministiquia supplies power to the twin cities of Fort William and Port Arthur, while the deep water of its mouth makes the great shipping port for western wheat during the summer. The north shore of Lake Superior is bold and rugged with many islands, such as Ignace and Michipicoten, but with very few settlements, except fishing stations, owing to its rocky character. At the south-eastern end St Mary's river carries its waters to Lake Huron, with a fall of 602 to 581 ft., most of which takes place at Sault Sainte Marie, where the largest locks in the world permit vessels of 10,000 tons to pass from one lake to the other, and where water-power has been greatly developed for use in the rolling mills and wood pulp industry. The north-east shores of Lake Huron and its large expansion Georgian Bay are fringed with thousands of islands, mostly small, but one of them, Manitoulin Island, is 80 m. long and 30 m. broad. French river, the outlet of Lake Nipissing, and Severn river, draining Lake Simcoe, come into Georgian Bay from the east, and canals have been projected to connect Lake Huron with the St Lawrence by each of these routes, the northern one to make use of the Ottawa and the southern one of Trent river. The Trent Valley canal is partly in operation. Georgian Bay is cut off from the main lake by Manitoulin Island and the long promontory of Bruce Peninsula. Lakes Superior and Huron both reach depths hundreds of feet below sea-level, but the next lake in the series, St Clair, towards which Lake Huron drains southward through St Clair river, is very shallow and marshy. Detroit river connects Lake St Clair with Lake Erie at an elevation of 570 ft.; and this comparatively shallow lake, running for 240 m. east and west, empties northwards by Niagara river into Lake Ontario, which is only 247 ft. above the sea.

Niagara Falls, with rapids above and below, carry the waters of the upper lakes over the Niagara escarpment. Power from the falls is put to use in New York state and Ontario, a large amount being sent to Toronto 80 m. away. Welland canal, between Port Colborne on Lake Erie and Dalhousie on Lake Ontario, carries vessels of 14 ft. draught from one lake to the other. From Lake Ontario the St Lawrence emerges through the meshes of the Thousand Islands, where it crosses Archaean rocks, after which follow several rapids separated by quieter stretches before Montreal is reached at the head of ocean navigation. Steamers not of too great draught can run the rapids going down, but vessels must come up through the canals. All the other rivers in southern Ontario are tributaries of the lakes or of the St Lawrence, the Ottawa, navigable in many parts, being the largest, and the Trent next in importance. In northern Ontario lakes are innumerable and often very picturesque, forming favourite summer resorts, such as Lake Temagami, the Muskoka Lakes and Lake-of-the-Woods. The latter lake with Rainy Lake and other connected bodies of water belong to the Hudson Bay system of waters, their outlet being by Winnipeg river to Lake Winnipeg, from which flows Nelson river. In Ontario the Albany, Moose, Missanabi and Abitibbi flow into Hudson Bay, but none of these rivers is navigable except for canoes.


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The climate of Ontario varies greatly, as might be expected from its wide range in latitude and the relationships of the Great Lakes to the southern peninsula of the province. The northern parts as far south as the north shore of Lake Superior have long and cold but bright winters, sometimes with temperatures reaching 50° F. below zero; while their summers are delightful, with much sunshine and some hot days but pleasantly cool nights. Between Georgian Bay and Ottawa the winters are less cold, but usually with a plentiful snowfall; while the summers are warm and sometimes even hot. The south-west peninsula of Ontario has its climate greatly modified by the lakes which almost enclose it. As the lakes never freeze, the prevalent cold north-west winds of North America are warmed in their passage over them, and often much of the winter precipitation is in the form of rain, so that the weather has much less certainty than in the north. The summers are often sultry, though the presence of the lakes prevents the intense heat experienced in the states to the west and south. Owing to the mildness of its winters, the south-west peninsula is a famous fruit country with many vineyards and orchards of apples, plums and peaches. Indian corn (maize) is an important field crop, and tobacco is cultivated on a large scale. Small fruits and tomatoes are widely grown for the city markets and for canning, giving rise to an important industry. The normal temperatures (Fahr.) for three points in the southwestern, eastern and north-western portions are given below: - (A. P. C.) Population. - The following table shows the population of the province: - 1 The name given to the rural municipalities.

Any town in Canada can become incorporated as a city on attaining a population of 10,000.

Ontario is thus pre-eminently an agricultural province, though the growth of manufactures has increased the importance of the towns and cities, and many of the farmers are seeking new homes in the provinces of Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan. This emigration accounts in large measure for the slow increase of the population, though there has also been a slight decrease in the birth-rate. The population was long entirely confined to the southern and eastern sections of the province, which comprise an area of about 33,000 sq. m.; but in these districts it is now stationary or decreasing, whereas the northern and western portions are filling up rapidly. Toronto, the provincial capital, has grown from S9,000 in 1871 to about 300,000, partly through the absorption of neighbouring towns and villages. Other e 48: I Cobalt.

aul ie vviov 0 44 dstock Scale, 1:7,100,000 English Miles 20 o So 120 160 Railways +r? Canals of Greenwich 88 Longitude West important cities are Ottawa (the capital of the Dominion) (59,9 28 in 1 9 01), Hamilton (52,634), London (37,981), Kingston (17,961). The number of males slightly exceeds that of females. The population is chiefly of British descent, though in the eastern counties numerous French Canadians are flocking in from Quebec and in some instances by purchase of farms replacing the British. There are also about 20,000 Indians, many of whom are civilized, enjoy the franchise and are enrolled in the Dominion militia. There is no state Church, though buildings devoted to religious purposes are almost wholly exempt from municipal taxation. The Methodists are, numerically, the strongest religious body, then come Presbyterians, Roman Catholics and Anglicans, in the order named.


The executive power is vested in a lieutenantgovernor appointed for five years by the federal government, and assisted by an executive council, who have seats in and are responsible to the local legislature. This consists of one house only, of 106 members, elected by what is practically manhood suffrage.

The municipal system still embodies the spirit and purpose of the Baldwin Municipal Act which originated it in 1849. Though based rather on the simple English model than on the more complicated municipal governments of the United States, it has certain features of its own, and is revised from year to year. On it have been modelled the municipal systems of the other provinces. Municipal ownership does not prevail to any extent, and in the larger cities the powers of certain great corporations have tended to cause friction, but such matters as the provision of electric power and light are gradually being taken in hand both by the municipalities and by the province, and a railway and municipal board appointed by the local legislature has certain powers over the railways and electric tramlines.


By the British North America Act, which formed in 1867 the Dominion of Canada, the provinces have the right of direct taxation only. Against this, however, a strong prejudice exists, and in Ontario the only direct taxation takes the form of taxes on corporations (insurance, loan and railway companies), succession duties, liquor licences, &c. These, together with returns from various investments, earnings of provincial buildings, &c., yield about one-third of the revenue. Another third comes from the Dominion subsidy, granted in lieu of the power of indirect taxation, and the remainder from the sale or lease of crown lands, timber and minerals. Owing to the excellence of the municipal system there has been a tendency to devolve thereon, in whole or in part, certain financial burdens on the plea of decentralization. The finances of the province have been well administered, and only in recent years has a debt been incurred, chiefly owing to the construction of a provincial railway to aid in the development of the northern districts.


As early as 1797 500,000 acres of crown lands were set apart for educational purposes, and a well-organized system of education now exists, which, since 1876, has constituted a department of the provincial government. A laudable attempt has been made to keep the education department free from the vagaries and the strife of party politics, and the advantages of political control have been as much felt as its drawbacks. Since 1906 a superintendent has been appointed with large powers, independent of political control and with the assistance of an advisory council; attention is also paid to the advice of the provincial Educational Association, which meets yearly at Toronto.

School attendance is compulsory between the ages of eight and fourteen, and is enforced by truant officers. The primary or public schools are free and undenominational. They cannot, however, be called secular, as they are opened and closed with the Lord's Prayer and closed with the reading of the Bible. From these religious exercises any children may absent themselves whose parents profess conscientious objections. After a long and bitter struggle the Roman Catholics won in 1863 the right to separate schools. These may be set up in any district upon the request of not less than five heads of families. The rates levied on their supporters are devoted exclusively to the separate schools, which also share pro rata in the government grant. Although many Roman Catholic children attend the public schools, the number of separate schools is, under the influence of the priesthood, steadily increasing. Under certain conditions, Protestants and coloured persons may also claim separate schools, but of these only four or five exist. Numerous kindergartens have been established in the cities.

Secondary education is imparted in high schools and collegiate' institutes. These may exact fees or give free education at the ' A high school is raised to the rank of collegiate institute on complying with certain provisions, chief among which are the employment of at least four teachers with Degrees in Honours from a recognized Canadian university. Such an institution receives a slightly larger government grant.

option of the local trustees. There are also numerous private schools. Of these such as are incorporated are aided by exemption from municipal taxation. In and around Toronto are numerous boarding schools and colleges, of which those for boys are on the model of the great public schools of England. Of these the most celebrated is Upper Canada College, founded in 1829, and long part of the educational system of the province, but now under private control.

The provincial university is situated in Toronto, and since 1906 has been governed by an independent board, over which a power of veto is retained by the lieutenant-governor in council. With the affiliated colleges, it had in 1908 a staff of 356, and 3545 students. There are also numerous universities throughout the province, founded in early days by the various religious bodies. Of these Victoria (Methodist) and Trinity (Anglican) are in Toronto, and have become federated with the provincial university, in which they have merged their degree-conferring powers. MacMaster (Baptist) is also in Toronto, and retains its independence. The others are Queen's University, Kingston (Presbyterian); the Western University, London (Anglican); and the university of Ottawa (Roman Catholic). Women students are admitted to all the universities save Ottawa on the same terms as men, and form nearly one-third of the whole number of students. Theological colleges are supported by the various religious bodies, and are in affiliation with one or other of the universities.

The public and high schools tend rather to follow American than British methods, though less freedom is allowed to the local authorities than in most of the American states. Only those text books authorized by the central department may be used. Free text books may be issued at the discretion of the local authorities, but in most cases are provided by parents. Every school, public, separate or high, shares in the provincial grant, but the chief financial burden falls on the local authorities.

Owing to the low rate of salaries, the percentage of women teachers, especially in the public schools, is steadily increasing, and now amounts in these to almost 83%. The same cause has also reduced their age, and the teachers are in many cases exceedingly immature. The institution of a minimum salary by the provincial department led to such resistance that it was withdrawn, but a distinct advance in salaries has taken place since 1906. In the rural districts an attempt is being made to increase efficiency by the consolidation of several small schools and the conveyance of the children to one central building.

The curriculum, originally modelled on that of England, is being gradually modified by the necessities of a new country. In addition to the ordinary literary and scientific subjects, manual training, domestic science, agriculture and kindred subjects are taught in the public and high schools, and in the larger towns technical institutes are being founded. Many of the rural schools have gardens, in which the elements of agriculture, botany and kindred subjects are taught in a practical manner. Travelling libraries are sent through the country districts, and an attempt is being made to extend similar aid to the lumber-camps.

The training of teachers is carefully supervised. Numerous model and normal schools exist, and a well-equipped normal college at Toronto. The smaller county model schools have, since 1906-1907, been consolidated and centralized in the larger towns.

At Guelph is the Ontario Agricultural College, founded and endowed by the provincial government, and greatly enlarged and improved by the generosity of Sir William Macdonald (b. 1832). Its services in placing provincial agriculture on a scientific basis cannot be over-estimated. The government also maintains an institute for the deaf and dumb at Belleville and for the blind at Brantford. At Kingston it supports a dairy school and a large school of mining.


About three-fifths of the inhabitants are engaged in agricultural pursuits, and in 1910 the amount invested in lands, buildings, implements and stock was double that invested in the manufactures of the whole Dominion. Nearly all the farms are worked by their owners, and a simple and efficient system of landtransfer is in use. The farming population in the older parts of the province tends to decline in numbers, owing to emigration, partly to the towns, but especially to the newer lands of Manitoba and the west. Yet, owing to the increasing use of scientific implements and methods promoted by the federal and provincial governments, the total value of agricultural products increased by over 50% between 1881 and 1910. In general, the soil is fertile and the climate favourable. The district north of the Height of Land, long supposed to be a barren wilderness, has proved in part suitable for agriculture, and is steadily increasing in population. Mixed farming and the raising of live stock is becoming more and more the rule, so that the failure of any one crop becomes of less vital importance. The average farm varies in size from 100 to 200 acres. Wheat, barley, oats, peas, potatoes and other roots are staple crops, the average yield of wheat being about 20 bushels an acre; cattle are increasing in number and improving in quality, and all branches of dairy farming prosper. Owing to tariff restrictions, the United States' market is being more and more abandoned, and improvements in cold storage are making it possible to export to Great Britain increasing quantities of butter and cheese. The collection of milk by the creameries and cheese-factories is carried on with great efficiency. The number of horses and sheep is stationary or declining, but the raising of hogs, formerly abandoned in great part to the western states, is becoming an increasing industry. Large quantities of peas, corn, tomatoes and other vegetables are canned, chiefly for home consumption. Three-quarters of the orchard lands of Canada are in Ontario, the chief crops being apples and peaches. The cultivation of the latter centres in the Niagara peninsula, but apples flourish along the great lakes and the St Lawrence from Goderich to Cornwall. In Essex and Kent, and along the shore of Lake Erie, tobacco and grapes form a staple crop, and wine of fair quality is produced.


Slightly less than half remains of the forest which once covered the whole province. The lumber industry exceeds that of any other part of the Dominion, though Quebec possesses greater timber areas untouched. The numerous lakes and rivers greatly facilitate the bringing of the timber to market. All trees were long little thought of in comparison with the pine, but of late years poplar and spruce have proved of great value in the making of paper pulp, and hard-wood (oak, beech, ash, elm, certain varieties of maple) is becoming increasingly valuable for use in flooring and the making of furniture. In the spring the making of syrup and sugar from the sap of the sugar-maple is a typical industry.

Much splendid timber has been needlessly destroyed, chiefly by forest-fires, but also by improvident farmers in their haste to clear the land. Increased attention is now being paid by both provincial and federal governments to preservation and to reforestation. Special areas have been set apart on which no timber may be cut, and on which the problems of scientific forestry may be studied. Of these, the earliest was the Algonquin National Park, which also forms a haven of refuge for the wild creatures.

Northern Ontario is still a valuable fur-bearing and hunting country, moose, caribou, fox, bear, otter, mink and skunk being found in large quantities. Wolves, once numerous, have now been almost extirpated, though a bounty on each head is still paid.


The geographical distribution of the great mineral wealth of Ontario has already been indicated (see Physical Geography, above). Save for beds of lignite, said to exist in the extreme north, coal is not found, and has to be imported, chiefly from the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, though Nova Scotia furnishes an increasing quantity. The production of iron is stimulated by federal and provincial bounties. The province supplies over two-thirds of the iron ore mined in the Dominion, but much is still imported. The output of gold is decreasing. The nickel mines in the neighbourhood of Sudbury are the largest in the world, outrivalling those of New Caledonia. In the same district, and chiefly in connexion with the nickel mines, large quantities of copper are produced. When in 1905 the rich silver area was found in northern Ontario, a rush was made to it, comparable to those to the Australian and Californian goldfields. Cobalt, the centre of this area, is 103 m. from North Bay by the provincial railway (Temiscaming & North Ontario railway). In the same neighbourhood are found cobalt, arsenic and bismuth. In the older districts of the province are found petroleum and salt. The district around Petrolea produces about 30,000,000 gallons of petroleum yearly, practically the whole output of the dominion. Salt is worked in the vicinity of Lake Huron, but the production is less than half that imported. Natural gas is produced in the counties of Welland and Essex, and exported in pipes to Buffalo and Detroit. Among the less important metals and minerals which are also mined, is corundum of especial purity.

Manufactures and Commerce. - Manufactures are becoming of increasing importance. The obstacle due to lack of coal is offset by the splendid water powers 'afforded by the rapid streams in all parts of the province. Save for the flour and grist mills, few do more than supply the markets of the Dominion, of which they control an increasing portion. Woollen mills, distilleries and breweries and manufactures of leather, locomotives and iron-work, furniture, agricultural implements, cloth and paper are the chief. The great agricultural development of the western provinces, in which manufactures are little advanced, has given a great impetus to the industries of the older provinces, especially Ontario.


Numerous lakes and rivers afford means of communication, and obstacles thereon have been largely overcome by canals (see Canada). Railways gridiron the province, which contains over one-third the total mileage of the dominion; their construction is aided by provincial and municipal subsidies, in addition to that paid by the federal government. The provincial government owns a line running north from North Bay, operated by a board of commissioners. The other railways are owned by private companies, but are subject to the decisions of a federal railway commission. The provincial railway and municipal board also exercises control, especially over the city and suburban electric lines.


The first white man known to have set foot in what is now Ontario was Champlain. In 1613 he explored the Ottawa river as far as Allumette Island; in 1615, starting from Montreal, he reached the Georgian Bay by way of the Ottawa river, Lake Nipissing and French river, and then by way of Lakes Couchiching and Simcoe and the Trent river system of lakes and streams made his way to Lake Ontario, called by him Entouhoronon. The winter of1615-1616he spent among the Huron Indians, near the Georgian Bay. In 1615 a mission among these Indians was founded by the Recollet friars, and carried on with great success and devotion by the Jesuits, but in1648-1650the Huron nation was almost utterly destroyed by an invasion of their hereditary foes, the Iroquois. From its centre at Quebec French civilization extended along the Mississippi and the Great Lakes, and also northwards to Hudson's Bay. In the western country numerous posts were founded, wherein fur-trader and missionary were often at variance, the trader finding brandy his best medium of exchange, while the missionary tried in vain to stay its ravages among his flock. On the frontiers of what is now Ontario the. chief points were at the strategic centres of Fort Frontenac (now Kingston), Niagara, Michilimackinac and Sault-Ste-Marie. Farther north, in what is now New Ontario, their English rivals, the Hudson's Bay Company, had more or less permanent posts, especially at Fort Albany and Moose Factory.

With the cession of French North America to Great Britain in 1763, the Indian lords of the soil rose under Pontiac in a last attempt to shake off the white man, and in1763-1765there was hard fighting along the western frontier from Sault-Ste-Marie to Detroit. Thereafter for almost twenty years, Ontario was traversed only by wandering bands of trappers, chiefly belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company; but in 1782 bands of American loyalists began to occupy the fertile country along the Bay of Quinte, and in the Niagara peninsula, the first settlement being made in 1782 at Kingston. Between1782-1784about 5000 loyalists entered Ontario, and were given liberal grants of land by the British government.

The oligarchic constitution established in Canada in 1 774 by the Quebec Act did not suit men trained in the school of local self-government which Britain had unwittingly established in the American colonies, and the gift of representative institutions was soon necessary. In the debates in the British parliament Fox urged that the whole territory should remain one province, and of this the governor-general, the 1st baron Dorchester, was on the whole in favour, but in 1791 Pitt introduced and carried the Constitutional Act, by which Upper and Lower Canada were separated. The Ottawa river was chosen as the main boundary between them, but the retention by Lower Canada of the seigneuries of New Longueuil and Vaudreuil, on the western side of the river, is a curious instance of the triumph of social and historical conditions over geographical. To the new province were given English civil and criminal law, a legislative assembly and council and a lieutenant-governor; in the words of its first governor, Colonel John Graves Simcoe, it had, "the British Constitution, and all the forms which secure and maintain it." Simcoe set to work with great energy to develop the province, but he quarrelled with the governor-general over his pet scheme of founding military colonies of retired soldiers in different parts of the province, and retired in 17 9 6. Even before his retirement political feuds had broken out, which increased in bitterness year by year. In so far as these had other causes than the Anglo-Saxon love of faction, they were due to the formation by the loyalists, their descendants and hangers-on of a clique who more and more engrossed political and social power. The English church also formed a quasi-official clerical oligarchy, and the land reserved by the Constitutional Act for the support of "a protestant clergy" formed a fruitful source of bitterness.

For a time the War of1812-1814with the United States put an end to the strife. The war gave some heroic traditions to the province, and in special cemented that loyalty to Great Britain for which Ontario has been conspicuous. On the other hand, the natural dislike of the United States felt by the loyalists and their descendants was deepened and broadened, and has not yet wholly died away, especially among the women of the province. The jobbing of land by the official clique, whose frequent intermarriages won for them the name of "The Family Compact," the undoubted grievance of the "Clergy Reserves" and the well-meaning high-handedness and social exclusiveness of military governors, who tried hard but unavailingly to stay the democratic wave, soon revived political discord, which found a voice in that born agitator, William Lyon Mackenzie. A wiser but less vigorous reformer was Robert Baldwin, who saw that in responsible government lay the cure for the political green-sickness from which Upper Canada was suffering. But though Baldwin and Mackenzie were in the right, it is very doubtful whether their party could at the time have given the country as cheap and efficient a civil service as was given by the Family Compact, who had at least education and an honourable tradition.

In 1837 discontent flared up into a pitiful little rebellion, led by Mackenzie. This tragical farce was soon at an end and its author a fugitive in the United States, whence he instigated bands of hooligans to make piratical attacks upon the Canadian frontier. Thus forcibly reminded of the existence of Canada, the British government sent out Lord Durham to investigate, and as a result of his report the two Canadas were in 1841 united in a legislative union.

Meanwhile the southern part of the province had been filling up. In 1791 the population was probably under 20,000; in 1824 it was 150,066, and in 1841, 455,688. The eastern counties of Stormont and Glengarry, and parts of the western peninsula, had been settled by Highlanders; the Canada Company, organized in 1825 by the Scottish novelist, John Galt, had founded the town of Guelph, had cleared large tracts of land in the western peninsula, and settled thereon hundreds of the best .class of English and Scotch settlers.

Once granted responsible government, and the liberty to make her own mistakes, Upper Canada went ahead. The population rose to 952,004 in 1851 and to 1,396,091 in 1861. Politically she found Lower Canada an uneasy yoke-fellow. The equality of representation, granted at the union, at first unfair to Lower Canada, became still more unfair to Upper Canada, as her population first equalled and then surpassed that of her sister province. The Roman Catholic claim to separate state-aided schools, at length conceded in 1863, long set the religious bodies by the ears. Materially the province prospered. The "Clergy Reserves" were secularized in 1854, and in 1851 began a railway development, the excitement and extravagance caused by which led in 1857 to a financial crisis and the bankruptcy of various municipalities, but which on the whole produced great and lasting benefit. The Reciprocity Treaty with the United States, in operation from 1854 to 1866, and the high prices for farm produce due to the American Civil War, brought about an almost hectic prosperity. In the discussions from which sprang the federation of 1867, Ontario was the one province strongly in favour of the union, which was only rendered possible by the coalition of her rival leaders, J. A. Macdonald and George Brown.

Since Federation Upper Canada has been known as the province of Ontario. The first provincial government, formed on coalition lines by John Sandfield Macdonald, was thrifty and not unprogressive, but in 1871 was defeated by a reorganized liberal party, which held power from 1871 to 1905, and on the whole worthily. Under Oliver Mowat, premier from 1873 to 1896, the government, though strongly partisan, was thrifty afid honest. An excellent system of primary and secondary schools was organized by Egerton Ryerson (1803-1882) and G. W. Ross (q.v.), higher education was aided and a school of practical science established in Toronto and of mining in Kingston; agriculture was fostered, .and an excellent agricultural college founded at Guelph in 1874.

The great struggle of the time was with the federal government on the question of provincial rights. Several questions in which Ontario and the Dominion came into conflict were carried to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and in all of them Mowat was successful. Connected with this was the boundary struggle with Manitoba, the latter province being aided by the federal government, partly out of dislike for Mowat, partly because the crown lands in the disputed territory would, had it been adjudged to Manitoba, have been under federal control. Had Manitoba won, the boundary line would have been drawn about 6 m. east of Port Arthur, but in 1884 the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council unanimously decided in favour of Ontario; and in 1888 another decision gave her absolute control ,of the crown lands of New Ontario. Under Mowat's successors the barnacles which always attach to a party long in power became unpleasantly conspicuous, and in January 1905 the conscience of Ontario sent the conservatives into power, more from disgust at their opponents than from any enthusiasm for themselves. The new government displayed unexpected energy, ability and strength. The primary and model schools were consolidated and improved; the provincial university was given increased aid from the succession duties; various public utilities, previously operated by private companies, were taken over by the province, and worked with vigour and success. At the election of the 8th of June 1908 the conservative government was returned by an increased majority.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. - Statistical: The various departments of the provincial government publish annual reports, and frequent special reports. Among these may be noted those of the Bureau of Mines and the archaeological reports by David Boyle (1886-1906). Since 1889 the university of Toronto has published numerous valuable studies on historical, economic and social questions, e.g. Adam Shortt, Municipal Government in Ontario. Historical: The early history of the province is best given in the general histories of Canada by MacMullen and Kingsford (see CANADA). Ernest Cruikshanks has published numerous excellent studies on the Ontario section of the War of 1812. Lord Durham's celebrated Report (1839, reprinted 1902) is less trustworthy on Ontario than on Quebec. R. and K. M. Lizar's In the Days of the Canada Company depicts the life of the early settlers. Biographies exist of most of the chief men: C. R. W. Biggar, Sir Oliver Mowat (2 vols., 1905), is practically a history of Ontario from 1867 to 1896. The provincial government has issued an excellent Documentary History of Education in Ontario, by J. G. Hodgins (28 vols.). See also W. Kingsford, Early Bibliography of Ontario. (W. L. G.)

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