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Southwestern Ontario
Country Canada Canada
Province Ontario Ontario
 - Total 36,746 km2 (14,188 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 - Total 2,443,484
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Postal code prefixes N
Area code(s) 519/226, 905/289

Southwestern Ontario is a subregion of Southern Ontario in the province of Ontario, centred on the city of London. It extends north to south from the Bruce Peninsula on Lake Huron to the Lake Erie shoreline, and east to south-west roughly from Kitchener to Windsor. The region had a population of 2,443,484 in 2006. Other significant towns and cities in the region are Chatham, Ingersoll, Owen Sound, Sarnia, St. Thomas, Goderich, Stratford, Tillsonburg and Woodstock.

The Bruce Peninsula and Georgian Bay shoreline, including the Blue Mountains are also part of the Georgian Triangle. Southwestern Ontario is bordered by Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers, and Lakes Erie and Ontario.

Another popularly mentioned sub-region within Southwestern Ontario is "Midwestern Ontario", stretching from roughly Lake Huron to Lake Erie, containing Bruce, Grey, Dufferin, Wellington, Perth, Huron, and Oxford Counties, with some definitions extending into Brant County, and even Halton Region and Norfolk County. The major centres in this region are Wingham, Goderich, Mount Forest, Walkerton, Hanover, Collingwood, Owen Sound, Woodstock, London, Ingersoll, Tillsonburg, and Delhi, with Brantford and Orangeville occasionally being considered part of the area. In short, Midwestern Ontario is considered as the eastern quarter of the region along the edge of the Greater Toronto Area, and stretching back through the hilly regions near Shelburne, back toward Goderich and Kincardine.

Most definitions reach eastward to include Guelph and Orangeville, though recently these municipalities are also included in on the western side of the growing Greater Golden Horseshoe region and many of their residents commute into the Greater Toronto Area.

Southwestern Ontario constitutes the western portion of the original province, present-day southern Ontario, which was first settled as Upper Canada prior to 1840.

During the 19th century and early 20th century, the largest city in Southwestern Ontario was Windsor, however as both cities grew, Windsor was outpaced by the faster growth of London, and passed the mantle of regional anchor to that city in the 1960s.

The region may also be referred to as Western Ontario, particularly in the names of institutions such as the University of Western Ontario. This term is falling into disuse, however, as the region is no longer the westernmost portion of the province. Western Ontario may also designate all the counties of southwestern Ontario except Essex, Kent, and Lambton—that is, the region of which London, Ontario is the central city.

Southwestern Ontario is a prosperous agricultural region whose chief crops are tobacco, sweetcorn, soybean, winter wheat, canola, and tomatoes. Dairy and beef farming, breeding and training of standardbred horses and wine growing and production are also important industries. Its climate is among the mildest in Canada, although brief periods of winter can be severe, summers are hot and humid with a longer growing season than most of the country.

A large section of Southwestern Ontario was part of the Talbot Settlement, and the region has benefited from the settlement’s facilitation of agriculture and of trade in general. Its economy is heavily tied in with that of the midwestern United States, in particular the border state of Michigan. Auto manufacturing and parts, agriculture and hi-tech industries are key components of the region’s economy. The region also provides important transportation routes for commercial trucking, railway and tanker shipping from Detroit-Windsor and Port Huron, Michigan-Sarnia linking Canada with major markets in the eastern and midwestern United States.

Southwestern Ontario is the setting for many of the short stories of prize-winning author Alice Munro.

List of counties or divisions


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

North America : Canada : Ontario : Southwestern Ontario

Southwestern Ontario is the geographic area of Ontario extending from the Bruce Peninsula and Lake Huron on the north, the Lake Huron shoreline on the west, the Lake Erie shoreline on the south, and neighbouring the Toronto-Hamilton-Niagara Golden Horseshoe region on the east. Its principal population centres are on the '401 corridor' cities - Windsor and Chatham-Kent, London and St Thomas, Woodstock and Ingersoll, Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph, with Sarnia, the western terminus of highway 402; Brantford, on highway 403, and Stratford. Other significant centres are Collingwood and Owen Sound, Goderich, Tillsonburg and Simcoe.

  • Elora
  • Fergus
  • Goderich
  • Ingersoll
  • Paris
  • St. Jacobs
  • Simcoe
  • Tillsonburg
  • Point Pelee National Park of Canada 50 km (30 miles) south-east of Windsor, one of Canada's smallest national parks, attracts approximately 300 000 visitors each year.
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