More About Ontario

Ontario is more than one million square kilometers, stretching 1,700 km east to west and north to south at its widest points. Its diverse landscape ranges from lush agricultural areas to the south, to rocky and forested central areas, to northern regions featuring a sub-arctic ecosystem. The Canadian Shield, a vast area of ancient rock rich in mineral ores such as copper, nickel, and silver, covers nearly two thirds of the province and is largely forested. Ontario also has a quarter million lakes and countless rivers and streams which hold about one third of the world’s fresh water.


Ontario is Canada’s second-largest province, covering more than one million square kilometres, and it is also the province with the largest population at 15,109,416 – one in three Canadians lives here. Most Ontarians live in urban centres, mainly near the western shores of Lake Ontario. Over 6 million people live in the Greater Toronto area, close to half of Ontario’s population. The vast space of northern Ontario is much less densely populated.  Today over half the people in northern Ontario live in the five biggest northern cities of Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay, and Timmins.


Ontario's climate provides warm, often humid weather during the summer, moderate temperatures in fall and spring, and cold, snowy winters.

Natural Resources

Water - It played a crucial role in Ontario’s development, providing an essential method of transportation to the province’s interior for First Nations inhabitants and early European settlers, as well as providing an ample food source through fishing. Today, water from sources such as the Great Lakes provides a freshwater drinking supply for most provincial residents, and powers homes and businesses thanks to hydro electric production.

Forestry - There are 70 million hectares (173 million acres) of forests in Ontario – 2% of the world’s total. The value of goods produced from timber is close to $7 billion annually, consisting of exports of softwood lumber, wood pulp, and newsprint.

Mining - Ontario is also one of the world’s top ten mineral producers with an annual production value in mining of approximately $10 billion. It is the leading producer of nickel in Canada, and also mines significant amounts of gold, copper, zinc, platinum, palladium, cobalt and silver from areas across the Canadian Shield. In the south, non-metallic minerals such as salt, lime, talc and gypsum are quarried. The province’s first diamond mine opened in the James Bay region in 2009, producing small but extremely pure stones.