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  • contains Canada’s federal capital of Ottawa
  • has about 250,000 lakes, with water covering 1/6 of the province
  • larger than Spain and France combined
  • highest elevation point is 693 metres above sea level
  • second largest province in Canada
  • the only province that borders the Great Lakes
  • has the world’s largest body of fresh water, Lake Superior
  • is the southernmost point of Canada’s mainland
  • provincial flower White Trillium
  • provincial tree Eastern White Pine
  • provincial bird Common Loon
  • provincial capital is Toronto, which is Canada’s largest city
  • most of the province in the Eastern Time Zone, portions of the west and north in the Central Time Zone

Ontario is located in the central part of Canada, and bordered by Manitoba to the west, Quebec to the east, and the US states of Michigan, New York and Minnesota to the south. Ontario’s borders with the United States are natural – the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. It is bordered by Hudson Bay and James Bay on the north.

Geography – The Canadian Shield covers northern Ontario from Lake Superior to the Hudson Bay lowlands. Together the Canadian Shield and the Hudson Bay Lowlands cover 90 percent of the province’s 1,068,580 square kilometres of territory, but are home to only 10 percent of the population, as the land is largely musky wet lands and scrub cover.

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Lowlands contain most of the population, industry, commerce and agricultural lands. The Saint Lawrence Seaway allows navigation to and from the Atlantic Ocean as far inland as Thunder Bay in north western Ontario.

The Carolinian forest zone covers most of the south western section. The most well-known geographic feature of this area is Niagara Falls. Point Pelee National Park is a peninsula that extends into Lake Erie and is the southernmost extent of Canada’s mainland.

Climate – Ontario’s climate ranges from sub arctic in the far north to humid continental in the south, with the major influence being the large bodies of water to both the north and south. These bodies of water influence the climate with cold winters, warm summers, and lots of humidity. There is a great deal of rain and snow caused by cold polar air from the north, meeting warm moist air from the United States.

Northern Ontario’s annual precipitation varies from 508 mm along the Hudson Bay coast to 889 mm near North Bay. Southern Ontario averages about 762 mm per year. The heaviest snowfalls happen in a belt lying inland from Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. More than 2,540 mm of snow may fall in one winter.

Climactic conditions can vary a great deal. The winter average temperature in the Ottawa area is -13°C, but to the south, along the Niagara to Windsor area of Southern Ontario it is -4°C. In the north along the Hudson Bay coast the average yearly temperature is less than 4°C with record lows being -47°C and a record high of 38°C.

National Parks – Ontario Canada has five national parks, and two marine conservation areas. Pukaskwa National Park is a wilderness park located in the northern forest. Bruce Peninsula National Park is located on the shores of Georgian Bay, and Georgian Bay Islands Park protects the islands in the bay.

Point Pelee National Park is the southern most point of Canada’s mainland, and its Carolinian forest is a magnet for birdwatchers. Fathom Five National Park is Canada’s first Marine Conservation Area, and Lake Superior National Marine Conservation area protects the world’s largest freshwater lake.