Algonquin Provincial Park
Ontario is one of Canada’s must-visit destinations, a beautiful, massive province with a bit of something for everyone. Ontario is home to thousands of lakes and rivers, incredible waterfalls, exciting city breaks, and world-class attractions. If you are looking at Ontario as your next holiday destination, flights to Toronto can make it happen, and this guide will get you better acquainted with the province, presenting interesting facts and unique stats to inspire your visit.
Ontario has more than 250,000 lakes
Georgian Bay, Lake Huron
Ontario is blessed with a vast number of lakes, with over 250,000 scattered throughout the province. The number of lakes is so large in fact, that its lakes contain one-fifth of the world’s freshwater.
Ontario’s lakes offer a wide range of fun activities to look forward to, including swimming, boating, fishing, and camping. Many of the lakes are also surrounded by Canada’s famous natural landscapes, making them perfect for hiking, birdwatching, and other outdoor pursuits. There’s no question that the large number of lakes in Ontario makes this a special destination for those who love the outdoors and want to experience all that nature has to offer.
Not only are there thousands of lakes in Ontario, but some of the most famous lakes in the world are also located here, such as Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Superior, and Lake Huron. Stephanie, from the travel blog, This Lady’s Travel Blog, has been to Lake Huron and shares this insight about Huron Country:
“Set along the shores of Lake Huron you’ll find Ontario’s West Coast. Stretching from Grand Bend in the south to Amberley to the north is Huron County. Roughly a 3-hour drive from Toronto, Huron County makes for a perfect weekend getaway. But if you have a week’s vacation, you’ll still be hard-pressed to see it all.”
Ontario means ‘beautiful water’
Did you know that the name ‘Ontario’ means ‘beautiful water’? It comes from an Iroquois word, who are a First Nations people indigenous to Canada, also known as Six Nations. More than 45,000 Six Nations people are living in Canada today.
The translation isn’t exact, but the word ‘Ontario’ could also mean ‘beautiful lake’ or ‘big body of water’ depending on the context. At any rate, it’s easy to see why the province has this name, with the incredible number of lakes, waterfalls, and rivers that call Ontario home.
READ ALSO: Insight into Canada’s First Nations
Ontario is larger than France and Spain combined
Map of Ontario
Ontario is approximately 1.07 million square kilometres, which is roughly the same size as France and Spain combined. Ontario is absolutely massive but somehow it is only the second-largest province in Canada, after Québec, and this doesn’t even include territories like Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.
To give some further perspective on the size of Ontario, it is about four times the size of the UK and slightly larger than the state of Texas in the United States. It is also larger than several other countries, including Germany, Italy, and Japan.
Canada is one of the biggest countries in the world, with Ontario only accounting for 10.8% of the country as a whole. Thanks to Canada’s epic nature, there is a wide array of landscapes, climates, and activities to enjoy, making Canada and Ontario, the perfect holiday destination.
Ontario is home to 100,000 kilometres of rivers
Kayaking at sunset on the St Lawrence River
Ontario is well known for its freshwater cruising, and this is partly due to the province being home to 100,000 kilometres of rivers. It’s a staggering number and actually works out to more than twice the circumference of the Earth in Ontario rivers!
Whether it’s fly fishing, cycling by the river, or going for a relaxing cruise, people flock from all over to take advantage of Ontario’s rivers. Two of the most famous rivers in Ontario are the St Lawrence River and the Ottawa River. There are many trails along both rivers that offer great views and the opportunity to explore the surrounding areas as well as historic landmarks.
Christina and Kevin, from the family travel blog, The Wandering Wagars, live in Ontario and have highlighted how blessed the area is with activities, including on its rivers: “The province is filled to the brim with amazing activities. And no matter what season you visit, you will have lots to see. Winter has incredible festivals. Spring offers amazing hikes at some of Ontario’s best provincial parks. Summer is perfect to take in a river cruise in the amazing cottage country.”
40% of Canada’s population resides in Ontario
A busy street in Toronto
Around 40% of Canada’s population lives in Ontario, making it the most populous province in the country. With big cities like Toronto, Ottawa, and Hamilton, as well as many smaller towns and communities, the province is naturally well-populated.
The majority of Ontario’s population is concentrated in the south, with the Toronto metropolitan area being the most populous region in the province. The population of Ontario is a very diverse one, with many different cultural and ethnic groups represented. The province is also home to a large number of Indigenous peoples, including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit.
Those seeking the hustle and bustle of a big city like Toronto, and those looking for the quiet of Canada’s majestic wilderness, will both find something to suit them with an Ontario holiday thanks to its colossal size.
Ontario is home to the waterfall capital of the world
Albion Falls, Hamilton
The city of Hamilton is known as the waterfall capital of the world, and it is able to claim this title due to over 100 waterfalls being within the city limits. Hamilton’s waterfalls range in size and style, from small cascades to large, dramatic falls. Better still, many of the waterfalls are easily accessible and can be visited on foot or by car.
The 19-metre-tall Albion Falls is one of the most famous, known for its picturesque cascades; Devil’s Punch Bowl is another must-visit, popular for its dramatic and powerful waterfall. The highest waterfall in Hamilton is Tew’s Falls, 41 metres high, accessed via a moderate hike and set amidst beautiful surroundings.
Linda and David, from the travel blog, Retired and Travelling, have spent time enjoying Hamilton’s waterfalls and shared what a pleasant and convenient experience it was: “We explored the Hamilton waterfalls in all seasons and always got a treat. Hamilton was a short day trip for us from Toronto in Ontario, Canada. So, it was easy to check out more than one waterfall on a visit. The waterfall views were great. But many sites also offered good hiking opportunities for a day outside.”
While Hamilton might be the waterfall capital of the world, the most famous waterfall of them all is also found in Ontario. Niagara Falls is one of the province’s most iconic attractions and a holiday destination in its own right. You can experience Niagara Falls via boat, zipline, and helicopter to get a unique view of this jaw-dropping feat of nature.
READ ALSO: The most popular attractions in Ontario
One of the tallest buildings in the world is in Ontario
CN Tower in Toronto
Taking the time to visit Toronto is a must on any Ontario holiday and no Toronto city break would be complete without visiting the iconic CN Tower. This world-famous landmark is synonymous with Toronto and is in fact the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere.
The CN Tower is 1,815 feet tall and was once the tallest structure of its kind anywhere in the world until the Burj Khalifa came along in 2007. Visitors can enjoy incredible views from the tower’s SkyPod Observation deck and thrill seekers can even summon up the courage to walk along the side of the tower, 116 stories above the city floor.
For something a little more relaxing, however, the CN Tower’s 360-degree restaurant is a perfect choice, providing beautiful Toronto views and great food in one package.
READ ALSO: Things you didn’t know about Toronto
Interesting facts about Ontario
– Ontario has more than 250,000 lakes
– Ontario means ‘beautiful water’
– Ontario is larger than France and Spain combined
– Ontario is home to 100,000 kilometres of rivers
– 40% of Canada’s population resides in Ontario
– Ontario is home to the waterfall capital of the world
– One of the tallest buildings in the world is in Ontario
Ontario is a wonderful province, making for a truly special holiday destination. If these facts have inspired you to visit Ontario for yourself, we would love to make it happen. Get in touch with our Canada travel experts and we will tailor-make a package perfect for you.
For more tips, guides, and advice, make sure to visit our blog.