The Origin Of The Name "Ontario"
There are various interpretations as to the actual origin of the name "Ontario." The Archives of Ontario have found three sources and translations of the name, all of which are derived from an Iroquoian word. The Archives of Ontario has also found a source that disputes the Iroquoian translation of the three names. The three possible sources and the questioning of the translation are as follows:
1) The name is said to be a variation of the word "kanadario" which means "sparkling or beautiful water." This word was originally used to describe the large body of water that is currently known as Lake Ontario. The use of the word later grew to include the area of land along the shores of the lake and beyond. Source: Armstrong, G.H. The Origin and Meaning of Place Names in Canada. Toronto: Macmillan, 1930.
2) The name may be a variation of the term "Onitariio" which translates to "beautiful lake." Use of this term was also traced to identify the body of water currently known as Lake Ontario and later to include the land surrounding the lake. Source: Hamilton, William B. The Macmillan Book of Canadian Place Names. Toronto: Macmillan, 1978.
3) The name is said to have developed from the term "Skanadario" which is reported to mean "very pretty lake." Source: Beauchamp, William M. Aboriginal Place Names of New York. Albany: New York State Education Department, 1908.
4) It has been stated that the translations of the names given could not have been as descriptive as suggested. "In 1683 Fr Louis Hennepin had said that the name meant 'beautiful lake,' but beauty in geographical features is a concept alien to Aboriginal naming. In one or more of the Iroquioan languages, such as Huron, Mohawk and Seneca, the name probably means simply 'a large body of water.'" Source: Rayburn, Alan. Place Names in Ontario. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997.
THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO
About one-third of all Canadians live in Ontario. Although most people in Ontario speak English, the province also has the most French-speaking citizens of all the provinces except Quebec.
The Algonquin and Iroquois First Nations were the earliest people to live in the province we now know as Ontario. By the late 1700s, the population began to grow rapidly. The arrival of thousands of United Empire Loyalists was followed by waves of other newcomers from the United States and Britain. Newcomers from all over the world continue to settle in Ontario.
Throughout Canada's history, the large population, rich resources and strategic location of Ontario have helped the province build a powerful economy. The majority of people work in the service and manufacturing industries.
In southern Ontario, the auto industry produces cars, auto parts and other transportation equipment. Products from the auto industry are among Canada's key exports. Other manufactured goods include steel, machinery, metal, plastic and chemical products, and food.
Ontario mines are the biggest producers of metal in Canada. These metals include nickel, gold, silver, platinum, uranium, zinc and copper.
Ontario's forestry industry produces pulp, lumber, newsprint and other paper products. The province's numerous rivers are a vital source of electric power. In Ontario, Niagara Falls is a well-known example of water power that generates electricity.
Southern Ontario has rich farmland. The Niagara Peninsula is a major producer of peaches, apples, grapes and other fruit crops. Ontario farmers also raise dairy and beef cattle, poultry, and vegetable and grain crops.
Some Facts about Ontario
The varied landscape includes the vast, rocky and mineral-rich Canadian Shield, which separates the fertile farmland in the south and the grassy lowlands of the north.
There are over 250,000 lakes in Ontario -- they make up about one-third of the world's fresh water.
In summer, temperatures can soar above 30° C (86°F), while in winter they can drop to below -13° C (9°F).
Ontario's industries range from cultivating crops, to mining minerals, to manufacturing automobiles, to designing software and leading-edge technology.
Cultures from around the world thrive and are celebrated in Ontario with festivals such as Caribana (West Indian) and Oktoberfest (German).
Travelers can enjoy the many experiences Ontario has to offer, from a wilderness expedition in the north, to a "shop till you drop into your theatre seat" city excursion.
Even people who live in Ontario can have trouble appreciating the sheer size of this province. 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. More than 11 million people live in Ontario. If you look at a map of Ontario you will notice that the province is bounded by Quebec on the east, Manitoba on the west, Hudson Bay and James Bay on the north, and the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes on the south.
Ontario's most northerly communities are close to the same latitude as London, England and Warsaw, Poland. Ontario's southernmost point of land is Middle Island, in Lake Erie south of Point Pelee, roughly parallel to Barcelona, Spain or Rome, Italy
Ontario's quarter million lakes and countless rivers and streams hold about one-third of the world's fresh water. The rivers of southern Ontario flow into the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River system. Most northern Ontario rivers flow into James Bay and Hudson Bay.
Ontario's climate ranges from humid continental in the south, with chilly winters, warm summers and lots of humidity, to subarctic in the north. The large bodies of water in the north and south have a moderating effect on climate, making summer and winter temperatures less extreme, delaying autumn frosts, and reducing the differential between day and night temperatures. On average the coldest month of the year is January, the warmest is July. January temperatures around the Ottawa River in eastern Ontario average -13° C (9° F). From Niagara Falls to Windsor, the January average is about -4° C (25° F). The average temperatures in July range from 23° C (74° F) in southwestern Ontario, to 19° C (64° F) in eastern Ontario. The seasonal temperature differential is much greater in Northern Ontario. For example, at Kapuskasing the record low is -47° C (-53° F), while the record high is 38° C (101° F).
Ontario's weather is marked by considerable rain or snow throughout the year, caused by cold polar air from the north meeting warm moist air from the south. Annual precipitation in northern Ontario varies from 70 cm (28 in) in Moosonee, to 97 cm (38 in) in North Bay. In southwestern Ontario, precipitation averages about 95 cm (37 in) per year. The heaviest snowfalls occur in a belt lying inland to the east from Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, including Owen Sound where annual snowfall can exceed 339 cm (134 in).