A Parliament for Ontario - 1867 (continued)

Composite picture of the Members of the 1st Parliament of Ontario, 1867 to 1871.

A composite picture of the Members of the 1st Parliament of Ontario, 1867-1871. © Archives of Ontario

Sandfield Macdonald’s parliament had 82 Members. Most ridings were in the south of the province – a large portion of what is now northern Ontario was then part of Rupert’s Land, which was not brought into Confederation until 1870. Ontario’s borders continued to change, finally settling into its present-day dimensions in 1912.

The first meeting of the new Legislature took place on December 27th, 1867 in the Legislative Building then located at Front and Simcoe Streets in Toronto. Opened in 1832, the ageing structure had been used for meetings of the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada during the 1830s, and off and on for over two decades by the joint Legislatures of Canadas East and West (Quebec and Ontario).

The initial legislative agenda for the province’s Members of Provincial Parliament included bills encouraging settlement to more northerly areas of the province, an extension of rail systems, reform of social welfare institutions and the creation of new colleges.