Southern Ontario: Wikis


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Southern Ontario

██ Core area ██ Extended area
Country Canada Canada
Province Ontario Ontario
 - Total 139,931 km2 (52,860 sq mi)
 - Extended area 13,112 km2 (5,062 sq mi)
 - Core area 126,819 km2 (48,565 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 - Total 12,100,000
 - Extended area 99,000
 - Core area 12,001,000
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Postal code prefixes K, L, M, N
Area code(s) 519/226, 905/289, 416/647, 613/343, 705

Southern Ontario is the portion of the province of Ontario, Canada that lies south of the French River and Algonquin Park. Depending on the inclusion of the Parry Sound and Muskoka districts, its surface area would cover between 14-15% of the province. It is the southernmost region of Canada.

Southern Ontario contrasts very greatly from Northern Ontario. The region has a larger population, different climate, and different culture than its northern counterpart. Southern Ontario can also be broken into smaller subregions, such as Central Ontario, Eastern Ontario, Southwestern Ontario, and the Golden Horseshoe (which includes the Greater Toronto Area).



Southern Ontario can be distinguished from Northern Ontario because it is far more densely populated and contains the majority of the province's cities, major roads, and institutions. (The north, in contrast, contains more natural resources and remote wilderness.) Although it has no saltwater coastline, the region has an abundance of fresh water coastline on three Great Lakes: (Huron, Erie and Ontario); and smaller inland lakes, (e.g., Lake Simcoe and Lake St. Clair. It is a major vineyard region and producer of Canadian wines.[1]

While Southern Ontario has been a part of the province of Ontario since its establishment, having previously formed the colony of Upper Canada, a large portion of the north did not become part of Ontario until 1912, 45 years after Ontario entered Confederation and the idea of a dissolution is discussed from time to time, mostly in the North.


Toronto, ON.

Southern Ontario is home to over 94 per cent, or 12.1 million, of Ontario's total population of 12.9 million people, compared to approximately 800,000 in Northern Ontario. This is due to many factors including the more arable land in the south, its more moderate climate, well-used transportation (water, land and air) routes, proximity to populated areas of the Northeastern and Midwestern United States, as well as a long history of early settlers, and colonialism.

Southern Ontario was first colonized by the British and the French. After the area was established, other European immigrants arrived as well, and later many immigrants from other parts of the world. The region still has many aboriginal communities as well, with combined populations of over 200,000.

The region is one of the top destinations for immigrants worldwide,[2] particularly in the Greater Toronto Area.

The area has a large manufacturing sector. Since the mid-2000s, Ontario produces more vehicles per year than the state of Michigan.[3] Southern Ontario is part of the Rust Belt.[4] Factory closings are still taking their toll on the region's cities. The province's two largest cities, Toronto and Ottawa, however, are very service-oriented, although Toronto still has a strong industrial presence. Toronto is the site of all of the major Canadian banks and its heart the financial sector including the Toronto Stock Exchange, while Ottawa, the national capital, is more heavily dependant on the public sector.

Some parts of Southern Ontario are heavily entwined with bordering cities in New York and Michigan, in terms of industry and people. The focus areas are the Niagara Region, Sarnia and Detroit-Windsor. Many people work and live on opposite sides of the border. The NEXUS program[5] is increasing in popularilty amongst bordering communities. Other areas with heavy trade traffic with Southern Ontario include Montreal and the province of Quebec, parts of northern Ohio, and western Pennsylvania.


Southern Ontario is well known for its attractions and tourism. Some popular tourist attractions include the CN Tower, Parliament Hill, Niagara Falls, National Gallery of Canada, Canada's Wonderland, CNE, Canadian War Museum, Toronto Zoo, Hockey Hall of Fame, Royal Canadian Mint, Marineland, The Rideau Canal, and the Royal Ontario Museum.[6]

Niagara Falls is the 6th most visited attraction by domestic and international tourists in the world, with over 14 million tourists each year. Toronto is the 7th most visited city by international tourists in the world with over 6.6 million visitors per year. Ottawa is the most visited city in Canada by domestic tourists, hosting over 6.9 million Canadian visitors per year.

Southern Ontario is home to several professional sports teams, including the Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Toronto FC, and three teams in the Canadian Football League. The region also hosts the Canadian Open (Golf) and Canadian Open (Tennis).

Niagara Falls, ON.

The area is home to many internationally renowned festivals and events including Toronto International Film Festival, Winterlude, Caribana, Bluesfest, Pride Week, Kitchener Oktoberfest, Havelock Jamboree, Toronto Indy, Sarnia Bayfest, Canada Day in Ottawa, International Freedom Festival in Windsor, Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and Virgin Festival.

Several large legal gambling establishments have been built throughout the Province,[7] with Caesars Windsor and Fallsview Casino being the two flagship casinos in the Province.[8][9] In addition to casinos Ontario has many legal horse racing facilities with slot machines. Racetrack slots are located throughout the Province. All gaming in the Province is overseen by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.[10]

Southern Ontario has many beautiful natural attractions as well. Wasaga Beach, Grand Bend, and Sandbanks are beaches along the Great Lakes. The Niagara Escarpment offers hiking, skiing, and hundreds of waterfalls including Niagara Falls. The Ottawa River has world class white water rafting which attracts rafters and kayakers from all over the globe. Ontario Parks governs all provincial parks, and Parks Canada governs all national parks.


Southern Ontario is home to both Canada's largest city and its capital city. Toronto is the provincial capital, Canada's largest, and North America's fifth-largest city. It has a population of 2,503,281, and a metropolitan population of over 5.5 million as of 2009. Ottawa is Canada's fourth largest city and capital city. It is home to most federal government departments and the Parliament of Canada. It has a population of 812,129, and a metropolitan population of over 1.4 million.

Southern Ontario communities have eight telephone area codes: 226, 289, 416, 519, 613, 647, 705, and 905, with 343 entering service in 2010.[11]

Southern Ontario's Largest CMA's

Statistics Canada's measure of a "metro area", the Census Metropolitan Area (CMA)[12], roughly bundles together population figures from the core municipality with those from "commuter" municipalities.[13] Note : A city's Metropolitan area may actually be larger than its CMA. For example many consider Oshawa part of the Greater Toronto Area, however it is considered its own CMA.

Ottawa, ON.
Southern Ontario Cities ( Not all CMAs listed ) 2006 2001
Toronto CMA 5,113,149 4,682,897
Ottawa CMA 1,130,761 1,067,800
Hamilton CMA 692,911 662,401
London CMA 457,720 435,600
Kitchener CMA 451,235 414,284
St. CatharinesNiagara CMA 390,317 377,009
Oshawa CMA 330,594 296,298
Windsor CMA 323,342 307,877
Barrie CMA 177,061 148,480
Kingston CMA 152,358 146,838
Guelph CMA 127,009 117,344
Brantford CMA 124,607 118,086
Peterborough CMA 116,570 110,876

Census divisions

The region is divided into 40 census divisions, including 22 counties, eight regional municipalities, nine single-tier municipalities and one district. To some, the line between the counties and regions of the south and the districts of the north forms the boundary between Southern and Northern Ontario. This is disputed however, as the demarcation line that is commonly referenced in provincial documents is that of the Nipissing Passageway, originally an Indian trail between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River. The trail follows the French River from Georgian Bay to Lake Nipissing. At North Bay, 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) of land separates Lake Nipissing from Trout Lake. From Trout Lake, the trail follows the Mattawa River to the Ottawa River.[14][15]

1 Muskoka and Parry Sound are commonly regarded as a transitional region between Southern and Northern Ontario. Although both divisions are geographically in the south, culturally and politically they may be regarded as northern divisions in some contexts.

Higher learning

Southern Ontario has always been an international destination for higher learning. It houses numerous internationally acclaimed public universities and colleges amongst its 13 universities and 20 colleges. It is also home to numerous private post-secondary institutions.


Ottawa River Parkway interchange.jpg

Southern Ontario has a vast automotive transportation system involving many freeways. The freeway system in Southern Ontario is referred to as the King's highways system, or the 400 series highways. With the exception of Highway 406, all the freeways in Ontario are at least 4 lanes wide, fully controlled with interchanges and divided. The major freeways in Southern Ontario are 400, 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407 (Toll), 409, 410, 416, 417, 420, 427, Don Valley Parkway, Gardiner Expressway, Queen Elizabeth Way, Queensway, Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway, Red Hill Valley Parkway, Conestoga Parkway, and the E. C. Row Expressway. A few other major highways which have not been granted freeway, or expressway status are the Ottawa River Parkway, W.R. Allen, Capital Airport Parkway, Hanlon Parkway, 115, 174, Hwy. 6, Hwy. 7, and Hwy. 8.

Highway 401, which runs the entire length of Southern Ontario, is one of the widest and busiest freeways in the world. At its widest point the 401 in Toronto is 18 lanes wide. In 2007 highway 401 was renamed the Highway of Heroes in honour of Canadian Forces personnel killed during the War in Afghanistan. [1] Highway 416 was named Veterans Memorial Highway in 1990 to honor Canadian veterans of all wars.

Freeways in Southern Ontario are digitally monitored by the MTO using the COMPASS-Freeway Traffic Management System[16]

Southern Ontario has some of the busiest land borders in North America[17] including the Ambassador Bridge, Detroit–Windsor Tunnel, Peace Bridge, Rainbow Bridge, Thousand Islands Bridge, Ogdensburg-Prescott Bridge, Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, and the Blue Water Bridge.

The Region has a long history of marine transportation. Hundreds of millions of tonnes of cargo travel along the Great Lakes, and Saint Lawrence Seaway each year. The Welland Canal is a vital part of the Great Lakes Waterway allowing ships to avoid Niagara Falls. The St. Clair River and Detroit River are also well travelled rivers between Lake Huron and Lake Erie in the Windsor, Sarnia area. Southern Ontario also has thousands of other fresh water lakes and rivers, as well as the Trent-Severn Waterway and Rideau Canal.

Another mode of transportation throughout Southern Ontario is train. The region is serviced mainly by Via Rail[18]. The Greater Toronto area also has a vast commuter train system called the GO Train[19].

Southern Ontario has several major international airports including the busiest airport in the Country Toronto Pearson International Airport, as well as Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, London International Airport, and Region of Waterloo International Airport. Many Southern Ontarians living close to the Michigan or New York State borders use either Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, or Buffalo Niagara International Airport as their local airport.


Waves on the Beach.jpg

Southern Ontario has a humid continental climate (Koppen Dfa to Dfb) with four distinct seasons.[20] The average highs in July for the region range between 25°C (77 °F) to 28 °C (82 °F). The average high in January ranges from -6 °C (21 °F) to 0 °C (32 °F). The highest recorded temperature in Southern Ontario was 45 °C (113 °F) and 52 °C (125 °F) with the humidex. During cold snaps, winter temperatures on occasion drop below -30 °C (-22 °F) in central and eastern parts of Southern Ontario, while in the southwest and Niagara region temperatures infrequently dip below -20 °C (-4 °F).

Harsh weather is not uncommon in the region, in the early summer months Southern Ontario is sometimes victim to tornadoes[21] but far more often, straight line wind damage, hail and localized flooding from severe thunderstorms. Although the majority of tornadoes rarely cause excessive damage, the region is on the periphery of Tornado Alley and (F4) tornadoes touchdown every few decades causing widespread damage. Southern Ontario also gets hurricane remnants, floods, ice storms, hail, and blizzards.

Small earthquakes occur in the region. The largest recorded in the region was 5.6 on the Richter scale around the Cornwall area.

The fall foliage in the region is second to none. Many tourists visit the area in the autumn months to look at the bright vibrant colours.

Southern Ontario has a very unique climate to the rest of the country. It is the only area of Canada that has Carolinian forest.[22] Many trees, plants, and wildlife in Southern Ontario are not found anywhere else in Canada. Some rare trees to Canada in this region include the tulip tree and the Cucumber tree. The Carolinian forests of Southern Ontario have in large part been destroyed by development sprawl. Very few areas of Carolinian forest remain in this region.

The region has the most fresh water beaches in the Nation. Due to the relatively warm summer months and the white sand the major beaches in the region are visited by millions of tourists every summer. The most popular beaches are Wasaga Beach, Grand Bend, and Sandbanks.



Southern Ontario has a long rich history. It was home to many battleground sites of the War of 1812,[23] a major destination for escaping slaves using the underground railroad[24], and a major bootlegging area during the prohibition era. (Second home to Al Capone)

See also


  • Chapman, L.J. and Putnam, D.F. The Physiography of Southern Ontario. 3rd ed. Toronto: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1984. (Ontario Geological Survey. Special volume 2) ISBN 0-7743-9422-6.

Chasing Canada, Ontario eclipses Michigan in auto production.


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  4. ^ Craig S. Campbell, "Rust Belt," in The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia, eds. Richard Sisson, Christian Zacher, and Andrew Cayton, Indiana University Press, 2007, p. 78.
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  13. ^ Statistics Canada "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations, 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data". Statistics Canada. 2008-11-05. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2009-04-01.  
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External links

Simple English

Southern Ontario is part of the Canadian province of Ontario that is south of the Algonquin Park. It is the farthest south part of Canada.

Over 12 million people live here, more than anywhere else in Canada.

Some cities in Southern Ontario are Toronto, Ottawa, Barrie, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, London, St. Catharines-Niagara, Waterloo, and Windsor.

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