Ontario Canada Basics

Learn about Ontario Canada

Toronto, the Capital of Ontario
Carlo Allegri / Getty Images

Ontario Getaways | Toronto Basics | Niagara Falls Travel Guide

Ontario is one of the ten provinces in Canada. It is the most populous province, the second largest - next to Quebec - by land mass, and home to the national capital, Ottawa. Ontario's provincial capital, Toronto, is the country's biggest and probably most famous city.

Southern Ontario is the most densely populated region in the country, specifically the Golden Horseshoe area that encircles Lake Ontario and includes Niagara Falls, Hamilton, Burlington, Toronto, and Oshawa. 

Aside from all the people, Ontario has wide-ranging, natural features, including waterfalls, lakes, hiking trails and excellent provincial and national parks. Heading north of Toronto is a vast stretch of "cottage country" and well north of that can be downright uninhabited for miles. 

Fun fact: It takes a full day to drive across Ontario on the Trans-Canada Highway. 

Where is Ontario?

Ontario is in central eastern Canada.It is bordered by Quebec to the east and Manitoba to the west. U.S. states to the south are Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. The 2700 km Ontario / U.S. border is almost completely water.


The varied landscape includes the rocky and mineral-rich Canadian Shield, which separates fertile farmland in the south and the grassy lowlands of the north. The 250,000 lakes in Ontario make up about one-third of the world's fresh water. (Government of Ontario )


12,160,282 (Statistics Canada, 2006 Census) - about one-third of Canada's population lives in Ontario. The majority of Ontario's population lives in the southern region, especially around Toronto and elsewhere along the northern shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.


Summers are hot and humid; temperatures can rise above 30°C (86°F). Winters are cold and snowy, with temperatures at times dropping to below -40°C (-40°F).

See also Toronto weather.

Popular Ontario Destinations

Some of Ontario's most popular destinations include Toronto, Ottawa, Prince Edward County,  and Niagara Falls. See our list of Ontario getaways.

Ontario Tourism

Ontario offers a wide range of tourist experiences, such as wilderness adventures and camping and hiking to urban excursions like shopping, galleries and theatre. Ontario also has a large wine region between Toronto and Niagara Falls. During the fall, Ontario offers some spectacular fall foliage viewing.

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