If you’re looking for some cool Ontario facts, you’ve come to the right place.
Thanks to the huge city of Toronto, the capital city of Ottawa, and the stunning natural wonder of Niagara Falls, Ontario is one of the most famous provinces in Canada. But the province is much more than major cities. The varied landscapes of Ontario include the mineral-rich Canadian Shield, a tremendous amount of forests, and more than 250,000 lakes. It’s also the second-largest province in Canada with Quebec to the east and Manitoba to the west.
Ontario is also the economic powerhouse of Canada with industries ranging from cultivating crops, mining minerals, manufacturing automobiles, designing software and leading-edge technology, and much more. It’s also one of the most multicultural places on Earth and is home to many festivals such as Caribbean Carnival, Oktoberfest and the Canadian Aboriginal Festival. It’s also home to more than one-third of Canada’s population.
Almost everyone has heard about the city of Toronto and the beauty of Niagara Falls, but after learning about these unique, cool, and interesting facts about Ontario, you’ll know more than almost anyone about this massive Canadian province. So whether you’re looking for facts about Lake Ontario or about one of its major cities, we’ve got you covered!
It’s Official, Ontario!
- Ontario’s Official Flag: The flag of Ontario is called the Red Ensign. It includes the Union Jack, representing Ontario’s ties to Great Britain, and the Coat-of-Arms of the Province.
- Ontario’s Official Motto: “Loyal She Began, Loyal She Remains.”
- Ontario’s Official Flower: The official flower of Ontario is the trillium, a delicate white three petalled flower that grows in profusion in the wild woodlands of the province in early spring.
- Ontario’s Official Gem: Amethyst, the rich purple semi-precious stone, is the official gem of Ontario. Large deposits are found in Northwestern Ontario.
- Ontario’s Official Bird: The Common Loon was adopted as Ontario’s official bird on June 23, 1994.
- Ontario’s Official Tree: The Eastern White Pine, Ontario’s official tree, was an important source of income and trade during the pioneering days, and continues to be a valuable resource for Ontario today.
What is the Coat-of-Arms of Ontario? The Coat-of-Arms of the Province consists of a green shield with three golden maple leaves surmounted by the Banner of St. George, a red cross on a silver background. The banner indicates Ontario’s close ties with Britain, while the colours, green and gold, are Ontario’s official colours; green symbolizes the land. Above the shield is a bear, with a moose and a deer supporting the shield; all representing the rich animal life of the province. The Latin motto is translated as “Loyal She Began, Loyal She Remains.” The shield was granted by Royal Warrant of Queen Victoria on May 25, 1868, and the crest, supporters and motto by Royal Warrant of King Edward VII on February 27, 1909.
Quick Facts about Ontario
- Population: Over 14 million
- Size: Ontario is Canada’s second-largest province, covering more than one million square kilometres (415,000 square miles) – an area larger than France and Spain combined.
- Land area: 894,639 sq. km (344,092 sq. mi.)
- Water area: 177,398 sq. km (68,490 sq. mi.), which is home to 250,000 lakes, which make up about one-fifth of the world’s freshwater.
- North/South Distance: 1,730 kilometres (1,075 mi.)
- East/West Distance: 1,680 km (1,050 mi.)
- Freshwater Shoreline: 3,081 km (2,362 mi.) along Great Lakes
- Saltwater Shoreline: 1,094 km (680 mi.) along James and Hudson bays
- Northernmost Point: Latitude 56×50′ at Ontario-Manitoba border; which is close to that of London, England and Warsaw, Poland
- Southernmost Point: Middle Island off Pelee Island (Latitude 40×41′; same as Rome, Italy, and Northern California)
- Highest Point: Timiskaming district (693 m/2,274 ft.)
- Lowest Point: Hudson Bay shore (sea level)
Ontario Facts about Nature
- Ontario covers more than one million square kilometres. This makes it larger than Spain and France combined!
- Ontario is home to Canada’s most southerly point – Pelee Island. Also worth noting is that Pelee Island is either completely south or partially south of a whopping 27 U.S states!
- Ontario is home to more than 250,000 lakes, which contain about one-fifth of the world’s freshwater!
- Polar Bear Provincial Park is the largest park in Ontario. It has no visitor facilities, is reachable only by air, and special permission is required before visiting it. Several hundred polar bears migrate through the area.
- Canada is a land of extreme weather and Ontario is no different. In summer, temperatures can soar above 30°C (86°F), while in winter they can drop below -40°C (-40°F).
- Niagara Falls remains one of the biggest draws to the province, as well as one of the most popular tourist attractions in North America.
- Scientists recently found 1.5-billion-year-old water in a mine 1.5 miles beneath Ontario, Canada.
Fun Ontario Facts about Cities and Towns
- There’s a town in Ontario called “Swastika”. For obvious reasons, there have been several attempts to change the name but the town fights back saying “To hell with Hitler. We had the swastika first”.
- Despite having just 200,000 people, Kitchener, Ontario is home to the largest Oktoberfest celebration outside of Germany.
- For as long as 15 years, London, Ontario had the largest concentration of serial killers in the world. Good god…
- Diabetes is a horrible disease and in London, Ontario, you’ll find the “Flame of Hope”, which was lit in 1989 as a tribute to Dr. Frederick Banting and all the people that have lost their lives to diabetes. The flame will remain lit until there is a cure for diabetes.
- Environmentalists better take heed of this one. A SINGLE SMOKESTACK in the town of Sudbury, Ontario is responsible for 20% of North America’s arsenic emissions, 13% of lead emissions, and 30% of nickel emissions into the atmosphere and environment. WOW. That’s awful.
- Speaking of Sudbury, it’s also home to the second-largest known crater on Earth, which was formed by an impact larger than the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs.
- If you like country music, you’ll be pleased to know that the city of Timmins had a museum dedicated to Shania Twain. I say had because it received so few visitors that it had to close down.
- Markham, Ontario has the highest visible minority population of any major Canadian city at 72.3% and is one of eight major cities with no majority racial group.
- Speaking of Markham, Pacific Mall was raided in 2019 by Canadian Police who seized over 49,000 counterfeit DVDs, 217 DVD burners and over 100,000 blank DVDs. An American government report claimed that Pacific Mall was “one of the world’s notorious sources of counterfeit goods.”
- The first quintuplets that were known to survive their infancy were taken from their parents to be tested, studied, and examined by the Canadian Government, which led to Ontario’s largest tourist attraction in the 1930s – Quintland.
- The city of Hamilton is known as the “Waterfall Capital of the World” with more than 100 waterfalls.
- The NHL’s all-time leading scorer, Wayne Gretzky, was born in Brantford, Ontario in 1961.
Fun Facts about Toronto, Ontario
- Toronto is the capital of Ontario and is the largest city in Canada with over 3 million residents.
- Almost 25% of Canada’s population lives within a 160 km radius of Toronto.
- There are over 140 languages and dialects spoken in Toronto and 44% of residents have a first language that isn’t English or French.
- Toronto was recently named the most multicultural city on Earth.
- In fact, approximately half of Toronto’s population was born outside of Canada.
- Thanks to this varied culture, Toronto has over 8,000 restaurants boasting food from around the world.
- Toronto is also the top city in Canada for screen-based movie production and is the third most popular in North America after Los Angeles and New York.
- Approximately 25% of Hollywood movies are actually filmed in Toronto.
- Toronto Pearson International Airport is the busiest airport in Canada with more than 40 million travellers passing through the airport each year.
- Toronto welcomes over 40 million visitors annually, which amounts to approximately $7.2 billion during their visits.
- Toronto is the only Canadian city with representation in 7 major league sports.
- The Toronto Islands is the largest urban car-free community in North America.
- There are over 10 million trees in Toronto.
- Toronto has over 1,500 parks which take up 18.1% of the city’s total area.
- The CN Tower, which is 1,815-ft tall, was the tallest freestanding structure in the world up until 2007.
- The Toronto Zoo is the largest zoo in Canada and the third-largest in the world, housing 16,000 animals of 491 different species.
- At 1,896 km in length, Yonge Street is the longest street in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
- Toronto has the second-largest public transit system in North America.
Fun Facts about Ottawa, Ontario
- In 1857, Queen Victoria of Britain chose Ottawa to be the capital of Canada.
- Ottawa was chosen as the nation’s capital due to its close proximity with both English and French Canada.
- The name Ottawa comes from the Algonquin word adawe – which means to trade, so it’s always been an important business centre.
- Ottawa is the seventh coldest capital in the world. The colder capitals include Ulaan-Baatar in Mongolia, Astana in Kazakhstan, Moscow, Helsinki, Reykjavik in Iceland and Tallin in Estonia.
- During the winter in Canada, Ottawa’s Rideau Canal becomes the longest skating rink in the world (7.8 km).
- Nearly half the population is under the age of 35 – making it one of the youngest cities in the country.
- Ottawa’s Canadian Museum of History is the most visited museum in Canada. The beautiful Château Laurier Hotel, one of the most famous hotels in Canada, is said to be haunted by the ghost of Charles Melville Hays, the president of the company that built the hotel. Hays died on the Titanic, 12 days before the hotel’s opening.
- Not far from Ottawa in a town called Carp, you can visit an underground nuclear bunker that was built during the Cold War. The Diefenbunker bunker is 100,000 square feet over four levels. It is made of 32,000 cubic yards of hand-poured concrete and 5,000 tons of steel. It is an extraordinary marvel of engineering and built to withstand a 5 megaton nuclear blast from 1.8 kilometres away.
- Also located within the Diefenbunker bunker is the world’s largest escape room!
Fun Facts about Niagara Falls
- Niagara Falls is made up of three separate waterfalls, which include the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls, which is the largest of them all.
- The three waterfalls form the second largest waterfall in the world (after Victoria Falls in Africa).
- More than 6 million cubic feet (168,000 cubic meters) of water (about 70 Olympic-size swimming pools), go over the falls every minute.
- The first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel was a 63-year-old schoolteacher. Seeking fame and fortune, Annie Taylor loaded herself – and her cat – up in a barrel and descended over the falls in 1901. Can you imagine?
- Not only is it dangerous but it’s also illegal to make an attempt to go over the Falls, and those who do so are fined $10,000.
- As powerful as they are, the falls actually stopped once. Back in 1848, the falls stopped for about 30 hours when ice fields from Lake Erie jammed at the source of the river.
- Speaking of facts, the Guinness World Record Museum is located in the town of Niagara Falls.
Lake Ontario Facts
- Although most people think the lake was named after the province, it was actually the opposite. The province was named after the lake.
- The bottom of Lake Ontario is so cold that skyscrapers use it as a coolant for AC systems.
- The volume of water in the Great Lakes would cover North America in about 3.5 ft of water.
- Before French explorers arrived in Canada in the 1600s, Lake Ontario’s shores were home to the Iroquois for thousands of years.
- Canada’s largest freshwater fish, the Lake Sturgeon, was once plentiful. Unfortunately, overfishing by the commercial fishing industry in the 20th century led to the fish being named a “species at risk.”
- Although many lakes freeze over during Canada’s winters, Lake Ontario is too big and too deep. The last time Lake Ontario fully froze was in 1934.
- Every now and then, the waters of Lake Ontario turn white. This is due to an increase in calcium carbonate, which can result in the “whitening” of the water.
- The lake is home to the American Eel, which has been called “the quintessential Lake Ontario fish.” Growing up to one metre in length, it used to be one of the most common fish in the lake but is now endangered.
- The second-oldest Great Lakes shipwreck, which was built in 1798, can be found in Lake Ontario.
- Lake Ontario is an interesting place to go scuba diving. Besides the shipwreck mentioned above, there are other cool treasures as well including a U.S. Air Force C-45 aircraft.
- More than 25% of Canada’s population lives within Lake Ontario’s watersheds.
- Lake Ontario is actually the reason why this area is known for its excellent wine. This is due to the lake breezes that create microclimates and longer growing seasons.
- There are over 100 beaches on Lake Ontario, including Sandbanks Provincial Park. Located in Prince Edward County, it’s home to the largest freshwater dune system on earth.
More Fun, Weird, and Interesting Facts about Ontario
- In Ontario, Canada there is a law stating saying “sorry” is not an admission of guilt.
- Around 87% of Ontario residents don’t realize that The Beer Store monopoly is not run by the government.
- The Largest Nuclear Power Plant in the world is in Ontario and their security force has won the U.S. National SWAT Championship four times.
- If you don’t pay a hotel bill in Ontario, there is a law that says that the hotel can sell your horse. What about your dog?
- The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board is one of the world’s largest institutional investors with assets totalling over $175 billion.
- Ontario citizens pay the highest rates for electricity in all of North America.
- The legendary Babe Ruth hit his first home run while playing for a minor league baseball team in Ontario in 1914. It occurred at Hanlan’s Point Stadium in Centre Island.
- In 1996, Ontario’s women won the right to be publicly nude from the waist up. However, very few, if any, actually walk around topless. Sorry, guys.
- In Ontario, the disabled do not need fishing licenses. Possession of any number of disabled-service documents is equivalent to a fishing license.
- Under Ontario traffic laws, it is illegal to operate a horse-drawn sleigh on public roads with fewer than two sleigh bells attached to it. The penalty on conviction is a fine not exceeding $5. something tells me they need to update their laws.
- Every country has its secrets and Canada is no exception. During World War II, Canada operated a spy school called Camp X near the town of Whitby, Ontario. Here, intrepid young men were trained to spy on the enemies of the Allies. Two famous men supposedly made up the class roster. These were Ian Fleming, creator of the James Bond series of books, and Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Today, Camp X is now Intrepid Park.
Want more? Well, you’re gonna have to wait because that’s all we have for now. I hope you enjoyed learning about these interesting Ontario facts. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out our article about 200 fun facts about Canada as well as our 89 awesome Alberta facts and subscribe to our newsletter to join 14,000 other people who just can’t get enough of Canada.
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