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Fort George guardhouse, a souvenir of Ontario History

Ontario History, A province with a history as fierce as Niagara Falls!!

One cannot talk about Canada and its history without mentioning Ontario History. Ontario history is unique; how many places could be called “lower” while on the northern side?

It has witnessed indigenous people, their wars, Europeans, their settlements, their fights over its land, etc. Many famous names and figures in Canada’s history have been to Ontario or lived there. Here in this article, we take a look at Ontario history and talk about some of its finest historical sites.

Looking into Ontario history, events, and dates

Ontario history takes us back to thousands of years ago when indigenous people occupied the land. It was not any sooner than the 17th century that Europeans started exploring the area we know today as Ontario. Samuel Hudson, Samuel de Champlain, etc., all had trips inside Ontario, discovering the area.

Although areas inside New BrunswickNewfoundland, etc. were discovered sooner, in 1639, the first French settlement inside Canada was erected in Ontario, named Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. In 1649 the settlers who were missionaries decided to burn the settlement, so the hostile natives could not use it.

In 1763, fate held a significant turn for Ontario history, the British seized all of the new French after the Seven Years’ War, and in the following decades, Ontario was host to many fleeing Loyalists from the US. The Loyalists were people who wanted to be the Crown subjects rather than Americans.

Remember in the introduction we talked about being in the north, but called Lower Canada? It happened in 1791 when Canada was torn into two pieces. The point is, the names were according to the St Louis River, which flows from south to north. So Upper Canada is closer to the origin of the river, which is in the south, and Lower Canada is farther from the river origins, into the north!!

Important events and dates in Ontario history
Before the 17th centuryOntario was originally home to Natives and a battlefield between Algonquians and Iroquois.
1611Samuel Hudson explored Hudson Bay and claimed it for Britain.
1615Samuel de Champlain explored Ontario.
1639the First French settlement in the interior of Canada was established, Saint Marie Among the Huron.
1670Hudson’s Bay Company was granted a monopoly over Hudson’s Bay watershed.
1673Cataraqui was established, evolving into today’s Kingston.
1763End of the Seven Years’ War, Britain obtained full control of Ontario.
1784Fleeing “Loyalists” from the revolting United States entered Ontario, residing in reserved lands along the St. Lawrence River.
1791The Old Province of Quebec was divided into two parts, Upper Canada (Today Quebec) and Lower Canada (Today Ontario).
1800Ottawa as we know it today was established by Europeans, first named Wright’s Town.
1812-15War of 1812, territories were lost and captured by both United States and Canada, but the Treaty of Ghent ended the war with no boundary change.
1841Upper and Lower Canada were united, Upper Canada became known as Canada West, and Lower Canada became Canada east.
1857Ottawa was made the capital of the Province of Canada, approved by Queen Victoria.
1867Ontario became a province of Confederation of Canada through the establishment of the Dominion of Canada.
1876Telephone was created by Alexander Graham Bell at Brantford, Ontario.
1950s-60sOntario became the destination for many immigrants from Europe after WWII, helping it become more prosperous.

As you read above, Ontario History is one of the longest in Canada, like Atlantic provinces, for example New Brunswick. Who would have thought Ontario as we see today has been torn up to two pieces before? 

Left tokens of Ontario history

Knowing about Ontario history, now is the time to take a look at some of its historical sites. Although they could not only be called historic sites, some are so great they could easily be called the best tourist attractions.

Rideau Canal

A token of the Ontario history, Rideau Canal; after the War of 1812, the fear of Americans attacking Canada again made Canadians take some defensive measures such as Citadel in Halifax and Rideau Canal in Ontario. Rideau Canal was dug to ensure the naval connection between Montreal and Kingston. The work began in 1826 and was finished by 1832.

After the 1812 war, there was no military confrontation between Canada and the US; thus, the canal was mostly used for commercial and pleasure boating. Rideau Canal was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.

Fort George

Serving as a fortification in the War of 1812 which was a notable point in the Ontario history, fort George was constructed in 1796-99. It was mostly destroyed through the war, but it was rebuilt in 1937-39, and since 1921 it’s been a national historic site.

Fort George guardhouse, a reminder of Ontario history

Fort George guardhouse

The Fort works as a living museum of Ontario history

The Fort works as a living museum

Last words on Ontario history

Ontario history is about discovery, wars, treaties, controversies, etc., but in the end, Ontario became a place for all. From any country, with any background, people were, and still are, welcomed to Ontario to live. 

Here we finish our article on Ontario history, but if you are interested in other provinces’ history, check our other articles about them and leave your feedback. We would be glad to know your opinion, anytime.

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