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Why is Ontario, Canada so special?

Yours to Discover, truly!

Ontario is our home, and it is breath-takingly beautiful!

Having had the luxury to travel a broad swath of the province (yet barely touching a fraction of it’s possibility), it’s natural beauty pops in its geography. Ontario offers vastly diverse landscapes from the grassy lowlands of the north and west to the glacier-scraped Canadian Shield of its center, to the rich fertile southern Ontario growing regions.

lakes and streams of the Canadian shield to enjoy (click any pic to enlarge)There’s lakes and streams galore, forests that seem to never end, rolling hills and valleys of the Ottawa Valley leading to rocks the size of a house tumbled from glacial motion. There’s winding roads through forested countryside with abundant deer, moose and bears (among many other animals) visible as you wind your way through the middle of the province. And in the south, flat rich farmland growing produce and sustaining livestock on family farms and homesteads surrounding many bustling cities and small towns.

8 WOWZA facts about Ontario, Canada

What’s so unique about Ontario, you ask?

  • what a grand province to exploreOntario is Canada’s second largest province being more than 1 million km2 in size (or 415,000 miles).
  • Ontario has hundreds of thousands of fresh-water lakes (aboot 250,000 lakes with 20% of the worlds fresh water supply).
  • There are over 100,000 km (62,000 mi) of rivers throughout the province.
  • Ontario’s Pelee Island is Canada’s southernmost point and is on the same latitude as northern California. Interestingly, 27 of the US’s 50 states touch farther north than Pelee Island, 13 are completely farther north.
  • Ontario temperatures range from the mid 30’C (90’F) in summer to winter activities take you into the outdoorsmid -30’C (-20’F) in winter – think boating and campfires to skiing and snowmobiling.
  • It would take about 20 hours to cross the province from east to west.
  • Vast forests cover about 66% of the province (70 million hectares), can you fathom?
  • Both Ontario’s capital - Toronto and Canada’s capital - Ottawa are in Ontario.

Ontario and its Great Lakes

Part of what makes Ontario so appealing to outdoors enthusiasts are the Great Lakes and it’s share of the total 10,500 miles of shoreline. Four of the five Great Lakes create the border between Canada and the United States and more than 94% of Ontario’s 13.5 million residents live within the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin.

All together, the Great Lakes hold over 20% of the worlds surface fresh water. Created from glacial melt about 14,000 years ago, this expansive body of fresh water connects through each other to the Atlantic Ocean via the St. Lawrence River.

The Great Lakes from west to east:

  • Toronto skyline from Lake OntarioLake Superior – largest of the Great Lakes and largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. Borders Ontario to it’s north and Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan on the south-facing US side.
  • Lake Michigan – wholly in the United States and bordered by Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. Third largest by surface area.
  • Lake Huron – second largest of the Great Lakes by surface area bordered by Ontario to it’s north and east and Michigan, USA to it’s west. Manitoulin Island is the worlds largest lake island and separates the core of Lake Huron with the Georgian Bay section.
  • Lake Erie beaches - Turkey PointLake Erie – fourth largest and warmest of the great lakes. Creates the international border with Ontario to it’s north and has Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York on its western, southern, and eastern shores.
  • Lake Ontario – last in the Great Lakes chain before it flows with the St. Lawrence river system to the Atlantic, Lake Ontario, being the smallest of the five great lakes, has Ontario on it’s north shores and New York State on it’s south and east shores.

Ontario’s Provincial Parks

As part of the conservation programs of the Province of Ontario protecting the unique diversity in landscape and species of within Algonquin Provincial Parkan area, over 300 provincial parks (covering over 82,000 km2 (31,600 miles2)) were created to protect these ecosystems. We have the responsible pleasure to enjoy these parks and all they offer for outdoor enjoyment and learning value.

How do you get around Ontario’s 1 Million sq. km?

Ontario is an exceptionally large province (remember the 20 hours to traverse the province east to west?), but the province has structured its highways well to help get from point A to point B while enjoying the scenic changes in the landscape along the way.

Best routes to navigate the province:

  • main highways to get around OntarioHighly travelled 401 corridor traverses the most populous region of the country (along which about half of Canada’s population resides) from the Quebec border (further leading to Montreal and Quebec City) directly southwest to Windsor. This highway runs 828 km (514 mi) and is notably North America’s busiest highway. Also memorialized as Canada’s Highway of Heroes.
  • More scenic Highway 17 (or the Trans Canada Highway) runs within Ontario from the Manitoba border eastwards 1960 km (1220 mi) to Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.
  • Highway 400 runs north-south joining Toronto (along the 401) to the Trans Canada Highway system.
  • OnRoutes exist along the way for your travel stops.

More explore Ontario Resources:

There is so much to explore within the diversity of Ontario. These are but a few of the resources to help you choose where to begin your adventure.

Ontario is “Yours to Discover” for it’s natural beauty, it’s diverse landscapes and its rich multicultural heritage. Having lived here our entire lives and traveled all but the northernmost regions of the province, it’s fun to be a tourist in your own back yard. New things to see and do are constantly surfacing, enlivening us to explore more of the province, no matter the season. As we re-open this crazy shut-down, COVID world and as safety returns, I welcome you to explore Ontario and all that’s available.

Have you had the opportunity to visit Ontario? What was your most favorite memory? We’d love to know. Share a comment below and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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