Is your voice starting to hurt from belting out all those classic road trip tunes? Maybe those repeating dashed white lines are starting to blur? Are you looking for a way to pass the time on your next road trip? How about some fun Ontario trivia that will have you loving the province even more?
This blog post will explore some interesting facts about Ontario that you may or not know. From its diverse cultural attractions to its unique natural environment, Ontario is a fascinating province with abundant information to discover.
So, if you’re ready to learn something new and get your Ontario trivia game on point, buckle up and get ready for an unforgettable ride!
Interesting Historical Facts About Ontario Canada
- “Ontario” was initially used to describe the area around the easternmost Great Lakes in 1641. Later it was known as “Old Ontario” until 1867 when the region was officially made a province.
- As previously mentioned, the entry into the Confederation was on July 1st, 1867.
- When the first Europeans arrived in the late 1700s, the region of Ontario was home to numerous Native American tribes, including the Ojibwa, Cree, Algonquin, Iroquois, and Petun.
- In 1611, English explorer Henry Hudson was the first to sail into The Hudson Bay, while Samuel de Champlain discovered Lake Huron in 1615.
Fun Facts About Ontario
The pronunciation of Ontario, aan-TEH-ree-ow.
The roots of the name “Ontario” stem from the Iroquois word “kanadario”; this term translates to “sparkling” water. This makes sense since as a fifth of the province’s area comprises lakes and rivers.
2. Pronunciation Of Those Hailing from Ontario
Residents of Toronto are referred to as Torontonians, and those from Ottawa as Ottawans. Ontarians is the umbrella term encompassing all people from Ontario.
3. Ontario’s Official Flag
The Red Ensign was officially declared the flag of Ontario on May 21, 1965. It features the Union Jack, symbolizing Ontario’s connection to the United Kingdom, and the provincial Coat-of-Arms.
4. Ontario’s Coat-of-Arms
Ontario’s Coat-of-Arms features a silver field with a green shield and three golden maple leaves, a red cross on a silver background, topped by the Flag of St. George. These two colours, green and gold, are the official colours of Ontario; green represents the land. A bear, moose, and deer support the shield, representing the province’s abundant animal life.
The Latin motto, “Loyal She Began, Loyal She Remains,” was given a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria on May 25, 1868, and a Royal Warrant from King Edward VII on February 27, 1909.
Ontario is quite expansive, spanning two time zones. Most of the province is in Eastern Time, while areas beyond 90° west longitude are in Central Time. Like the rest of Canada, daylight savings time is annoying but observed in Ontario.
Ontario’s Geography | How BIG Is Ontario?
6. Land Area
How big is Ontario? Ontario spans an impressive 1 million square kilometres, more than France and Germany’s combined area. It would take a driver roughly 21 hours to traverse from one end of the province to the other.
7. Location & Border
Ontario is bordered to the west by the province of Manitoba, with the Hudson Bay and James Bay to the north, Quebec to the east and the US states Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York to the south.
It’s incredible to think that, of the entire border with the US, only 1 km is land – the rest follows bodies of water, ranging from the Lake of the Woods to the Great Lakes and finally ending at the St Lawrence River.
This is remarkable, considering that the border stretches for thousands of kilometres.
8. Official Language
In Ontario, English is spoken by 93% of the population, while French is the primary language of 3%. The remaining 4% comprise various minority languages.
With a population of 15 million, Ontario is Canada’s most populous province, representing around 40% of the country’s total population. The Greater Toronto Area alone accommodates about half of the province’s population (more about this below). Ottawa, Hamilton, Kitchener, and London are other major cities.
10. Aboriginal Peoples Of Canada
Approximately 2% of Ontario’s population comprises First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. This amounts to one-fifth of Canada’s total Aboriginal population. The Algonquin, Potawatomi, Ojibwa, and Odawa are all First Nations peoples who reside in the province.
11. Population Density
Despite its large population, the province of Ontario has a surprisingly low population density of just 14 people per square km. This is likely due to the major northern regions that are subject to harsh winters and have a limited number of inhabitants.
Unique Attractions and Landmarks
12. CN Tower
The CN Tower (Canadian National Tower) is a 553.3-meter-tall (1,815.4 ft) concrete communications and observation tower located in downtown Toronto. It was completed in 1976 and is the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere.
The CN Tower is an iconic symbol of Toronto and one of its most popular tourist attractions, with over two million visitors annually. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the city skyline and Lake Ontario from its observation deck.
FYI: If to look closely at the Road Trip Ontario logo, you’ll notice that the CN Tower is used not only to symbolize where we are based but the starting point for all our Day Trip, Weekend Getaway and Road Trip Itineraries.
13. Casa Loma
Casa Loma is a historic house and garden located in midtown Toronto. It was built between 1911 and 1914 as a residence for financier Sir Henry Pellatt, who had made his fortune in the Canadian Pacific Railway.
The castle-like structure features 98 rooms, including secret passages, towers, and an 800-foot tunnel. Visitors can explore the grounds, which include five acres of gardens and a conservatory.
Casa Loma is one of Toronto’s most popular attractions, with over 350,000 visitors annually.
14. The Grotto
The Grotto is a natural wonder located in the Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario. It’s a cave-like formation created by the waves of Georgian Bay crashing against the limestone cliffs.
The Grotto is one of the most popular attractions in the park, with visitors coming from all over to explore its unique beauty. The cave is accessible via a staircase and boardwalk that leads down to the shoreline.
Visitors can take in stunning views of Georgian Bay and enjoy swimming and kayaking in its crystal-clear waters.
15. Flower Pot Island
Flowerpot Island is a small island located in Georgian Bay, Ontario. It’s part of the Fathom Five National Marine Park and is known for its unique rock formations resembling flowerpots.
The island is accessible by boat from Tobermory, and visitors can explore its trails, beaches, and caves. The island also features two lighthouses that were built in the 19th century.
Visitors can take in stunning views of Georgian Bay from the top of the island’s cliffs or enjoy swimming and kayaking in its crystal-clear waters. There are also plenty of opportunities for bird watching as the island is home to over 100 species of birds.
16. Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is one of the most iconic attractions in Ontario. Located on the border between Canada and the United States, Niagara Falls comprises three waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. The falls are a popular tourist destination, with over 12 million visitors annually.
Visitors can take in stunning views of the falls from various observation points or take a boat tour to get up close and personal with the cascading waters. There are also plenty of activities to enjoy in the area, such as zip lining, helicopter tours, and even cave exploring. Plenty of spas and restaurants are nearby for a more relaxing experience.
17. The Rideau Canal
The Rideau Canal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Ontario, Canada. It’s a 202-kilometre (125-mile) long canal connecting Ottawa to Kingston on Lake Ontario. The canal was built in the early 19th century as a military supply route and is now used for recreational purposes.
Visitors can explore the canal by boat or drive along its banks. There are plenty of activities to enjoy, such as fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming. The canal also features numerous locks and dams that visitors can explore. In addition, several parks and historical sites along the way offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Fascinating People and Events
Ontario is home to many fascinating people and events. When it comes to music, sports and actors/actresses, the list is endless, so we’ve narrowed it down to names you will most likely recognize.
18. Musicians From Ontario
Drake, Barenaked Ladies, Jully Black, Blue Rodeo, Kardinal Offishall, Our Lady Peace, Rush, Shawn Mendes, Snow, Platinum Blonde, The Weeknd, Fefe Dobson and Nelly Furtado (Toronto)
Justin Bieber (Stratford), Bruce Cockburn & Alanis Morissette (Ottawa), Avril Lavigne (Napanee), Gordon Lightfoot (Orillia), Paul Shaffer (Thunder Bay), The Tragically Hip (Kingston), Shania Twain (Timmins), Tamia Washington (Windsor), Honeymoon Suite (Niagara Falls) and Alessia Cara (Brampton)
19. Actors & Actresses
Will Arnet, John Candy, Christopher Plummer, Catherine O’Hara, Mike Myers and Rick Moranis (Toronto), Dan Aykroyd, Sandra Oh (Ottawa), Neve Campbell (Guelph), Jim Carrey (Newmarket), Michael Cera (Brampton), Emily VanCamp (Port Perry), Martin Short, Eugene Levy (Hamilton) and Rachel McAdams (London)
Doug Gilmour (Kingston), Wayne Gretzky (Brantford), Tim Horton (Cochrane), Bobby Orr ( Parry Sound), Milos Raonic (Thornhill) and Darryl Sittler (Kitchener)
Margaret Atwood (Ottawa & Toronto) & James Cameron (Kapuskasing and Niagara Falls)
Festivals & Events
While thousands of events occur annually here in Ontario, we’ve highlighted some big ones.
Winterlude is an annual winter festival held in Ottawa. It’s one of the largest winter festivals in Canada and attracts over 600,000 visitors each year.
The festival features a variety of activities, such as ice skating on the Rideau Canal, snow sculptures, live music performances, and more. Plenty of food vendors offer delicious treats like beaver tails and maple taffy.
Winterlude usually takes place in February and lasts for three weeks.
23. Stratford Shakespeare Festival
Stratford is home to the world-renowned Stratford Shakespeare Festival, which has been running since 1953.
The festival features a variety of plays, musicals, and other performances that take place in four different theatres throughout the city. It’s one of Ontario’s most popular tourist attractions and draws thousands annually.
The festival runs from April to October and offers various shows for all ages. Visitors can also enjoy special events such as workshops, lectures, and outdoor activities.
24. Ottawa Tulip Festival
The Ottawa Tulip Festival is an annual event that celebrates the arrival of spring with a display of over one million tulips in bloom. The festival takes place each year during the last week of May and the first week of June and features a variety of activities such as live music, art installations, food vendors, and more.
25. Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival
The Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival is an annual festival held in Toronto. It celebrates the culture and traditions of the Caribbean diaspora. The festival features a variety of events, including parades, concerts, art exhibitions, and food festivals.
The carnival takes place over three weeks in July and August each year. During this time, the city comes alive with vibrant music, costumes, and performances. The main parade features colourful floats and costumed dancers on the first Saturday of August.
26. Canadian National Exhibition
The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) is an annual event in Toronto. It’s one of North America’s largest fairs and features various attractions, including live music, carnival rides, food vendors, and more.
The CNE takes place over 18 days in August and September, attracting over 1.5 million visitors yearly.
27. Kitchener Waterloo Oktoberfest
Kitchener Waterloo Oktoberfest is an annual festival held in Kitchener-Waterloo. It is the largest Bavarian festival in North America and celebrates German culture and heritage.
The event takes place over nine days in late September/early October and features a variety of activities such as parades, concerts, carnival rides, beer gardens, and more. Visitors can also enjoy traditional German food like bratwurst, sauerkraut, pretzels, and strudel.
28. Niagara Icewine Festival
The Niagara Icewine Festival is an annual event that celebrates the unique and delicious ice wine produced in the region. The festival takes place over two weekends in January and features a variety of activities, such as tastings, seminars, live music, and more.
Visitors can sample some of the best ice wines from local wineries while enjoying delicious food and entertainment. The festival includes winter activities such as snowshoeing, skating, and sleigh rides.
29. Toronto Black Film Festival
The Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF) is an annual event celebrating the work of filmmakers from the African diaspora. The festival was founded in 2014 and has grown to become one of North America’s largest black film festivals.
TBFF showcases films from around the world, focusing on stories often overlooked by mainstream media. The festival also features panel discussions, workshops, and networking events for filmmakers and industry professionals.
30. Toronto International Film Festival
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. It takes place annually in September and showcases films from around the globe. The festival has been running since 1976 and has grown to become one of North America’s largest public film festivals, with over 500,000 attendees each year.
The festival features a variety of screenings, including premieres, galas, special presentations, and more. There are also industry events such as panels and workshops for filmmakers to network and learn about the latest trends in filmmaking.
TIFF also hosts several awards ceremonies throughout the festival to recognize excellence in filmmaking.
31. Taste Of The Danforth
The Taste of the Danforth is an annual festival held in Toronto. It’s one of the largest street festivals in Canada and features over 1.6 million visitors annually.
The festival celebrates Greek culture and cuisine with various food vendors, live music, and cultural performances. Visitors can also explore the many shops and restaurants or participate in face painting and carnival games.
The event is usually held in August and is a great way to experience the vibrant culture of Toronto’s Greektown neighbourhood.
Ontario Culinary Culture
32. Ontario Farms
Incredibly, 25% of all farm income in Canada comes from the over 50,000 farms in Ontario.
This province is abundant in fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and livestock, contributing to Ontario’s economy. Many people may not be aware, but Ontario is a major ginseng producer! It’s quite remarkable.
Top Wine regions in Ontario
Ontario is home to some of the best wine regions in Canada. From the Niagara Peninsula to Prince Edward County, there are plenty of options for wine lovers exploring Ontario’s vineyards. Here are some 5of the top wine regions in Ontario:
Located on the Niagara Escarpment, this region is known for its award-winning wines and stunning views. It is home to over 70 wineries, including Inniskillin Wines, Peller Estates Winery, and Trius Winery.
34. Prince Edward County
This region is located on a peninsula at the eastern end of Lake Ontario and features a unique microclimate that produces excellent wines. Some popular wineries include Sandbanks Estate Winery, The Grange of Prince Edward County Winery, and Closson Chase Vineyards.
35. Twenty Valley
Located in the heart of Niagara’s wine country, this region offers visitors a chance to sample some of Ontario’s finest wines from over 30 wineries, such as Flat Rock Cellars and Cave Spring Cellars.
36. Lake Erie
This region is home to some of the oldest vineyards in Ontario and offers visitors a chance to sample some of the best wines in the province. Popular wineries include Colio Estate Wines, Southbrook Vineyards, and Pelee Island Winery.
Top Breweries In Ontario
Ontario is also home to some of the best craft breweries in Canada, with plenty of options for beer lovers looking to explore Ontario’s craft beer scene.
37. Great Lakes Brewery
Located in Toronto, this brewery has been producing award-winning beers since 1987. They offer a wide range of beers, from IPAs to stouts.
38. Muskoka Brewery
Located in Bracebridge, this brewery has been producing craft beers since 1996. They offer a wide range of beers, from ales to lagers.
39. Amsterdam Brewery
Located in Toronto, this brewery has been producing craft beers since 1986. They offer a wide range of beers, from pale ales to porters.
40. Nickel Brook Brewery
Located in Burlington, this brewery has been producing craft beers since 2005. They offer a wide range of beers, from IPAs to sours.
40. Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
Located in Barrie, this brewery has been producing craft beers since 2009. They offer a wide range of beers, from IPAs to porters.
Wildlife and Nature of Ontario
Hiking through the thick boreal forest and Northern Ontario’s unspoiled nature provides an unforgettable experience. All these activities unite to make Ontario a beautiful destination no matter the season.
41. Provincial Tree Of Ontario
In 1984, Ontario designated the Eastern White Pine as the provincial tree of Ontario.
Growing up to 40 m tall, it is the tallest tree species in Eastern Canada. These pines are abundant in the province and are viewed by the Haudenosaunee people of Southern Ontario as “the tree of peace”.
The Eastern White Pine remains a valuable resource in Ontario, having been an integral source of income and commerce in pioneering days.
42. Official Flower Of Ontario
The trillium was selected in 1937 as the official flower of Ontario in memory of Ontarian soldiers who sacrificed their lives in WWI.
This three-petalled bloom, known for its beauty and purity, symbolizes rebirth and recovery. The trillium usually appears in white but can also come in various colours, such as red, purple, pink, yellow, and green, that bloom in the wild woodlands in the spring.
43. Official Bird Of Ontario
In 1994, the common loon was made the official bird of Ontario. With its silver feathers, round head, red eyes, and pointy bill, it is no surprise that this majestic bird is featured on the Canadian one-dollar coin, aka the “loonie,” and some older editions of the 20-dollar bill.
The loon is known to be a symbol of wilderness and autonomy.
44. Official Gem
Amethyst is the official gemstone of Ontario, a rich purple semi-precious stone.
Large deposits of the quartzite stone, renowned for its vibrant purple colour, can be found along Lake Superior’s coast and in North Bay and Bancroft areas. In addition to amethyst, Ontario has several other valuable mineral resources, such as gold, platinum, quartzite, and diamond.
The gold rush of 1866 began in Madoc, Ontario.
45. Highest Point
Ishpatina Ridge, a word derived from the Ojibwe language meaning “high ridge”, is the highest point in Ontario, rising to a height of 693 meters (or 2,200 ft). Situated in Temagami, Northern Ontario, Ishpatina Ridge is a mere hour’s drive from Sudbury.
46. Lowest Point
Ontario’s lowest point is at Hudson Bay, dipping to the same level as the distant sea.
47. Southernmost Point In Ontario & Canada
Pelee Island, located in Lake Erie, is Canada’s southern point. Ferry services provide convenient access to the island from the mainland, and its warm climate and proximity to large bodies of water make it an ideal destination.
Visitors can explore the rustic lighthouse and uncover hidden beaches, making it an unforgettable experience.
48. Facts About Lake Ontario, Fresh Water & Rivers
Approximately 180,000 square kilometres, which translates to about 20% of Ontario, are comprised of water. So let’s talk water…
49. 250,000 bodies of fresh water!
It is fascinating that Ontario boasts over 250,000 freshwater lakes and thus consists of one-fifth of all the world’s freshwater – Naturally, water sports are incredibly popular.
When the weather is warm, people can partake in kayaking, swimming, sailing, or fishing on one of the numerous picturesque lake shores in the province; one could even opt for a tranquil stroll along them.
Likewise, when the temperature drops, people can partake in various winter activities like skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice climbing or even dog sledding, which is highly popular among travellers.
50. 100,000 kilometres of rivers!
Did you know that Ontario’s rivers measure a stunning 100,000 km length? It’s the equivalent of travelling a quarter of the way to the moon! The Ottawa River and the St. Lawrence River are important, playing a major role in the province’s geography, economy and tourism. They have also been involved in numerous historical events.
51. Saltwater Shoreline
The span between James Bay and Hudson Bay is roughly 1,094 kilometres (or 680 miles).
52. Freshwater Shoreline
Ontario’s remarkable 15,000-mile-long freshwater coastline, stretching from the province’s west to the northeast, can be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. Its stunning scenery and crystal clear waters are home to many beautiful beaches along the Great Lakes’ 3,081 kilometres (2,362 miles).
For a unique experience, one can dip in Lake Superior, float down the Ottawa River, or marvel at the view. No matter the preference, Ontario’s breathtaking coastline has something special to offer.
53. National parks
Ontario is home to some of the most beautiful national parks in Canada.
Other popular national parks include Killarney Provincial Park, which features a picturesque landscape of rocky hills and crystal-clear lakes; Bruce Peninsula National Park, which offers breathtaking views of Georgian Bay; and Point Pelee National Park, which is home to over 300 species of birds.
Whether looking for a peaceful escape or an adventure-filled getaway, Ontario’s national parks are sure to provide an unforgettable experience.
54. Provincial Parks
Ontario is home to some of the most beautiful provincial parks in Canada. From Algonquin Provincial Park to Killarney Provincial Park, plenty of outdoor activities and stunning landscapes exist to explore.
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful camping trip or an adventurous hike, Ontario’s provincial parks have something for everyone. Check out the local wildlife, take in the breathtaking views, and enjoy all that nature offers!
Fun Facts About Ontario Cities & Towns
Ontario is a popular destination for many travellers, boasting many of Canada’s most renowned cities, such as Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ottawa and Kitchener-Waterloo.
55. Toronto Facts
Toronto, the most populous city in Canada, is the capital city of Ontario and has a population of around 3 million. Toronto is the fourth most populous city in North America, and almost one-quarter of Canada’s population is located within a 160 km radius.
This makes it the perfect cultural, financial and industrial center of Canada, hosting the Toronto Stock Exchange and the headquarters of five major banks and many multinationals. That said, although Toronto is located within the province of Ontario, the actual capital of Canada is Ottawa.
56. Fun facts about Ottawa
Speaking of Ottawa, one of the interesting facts about Ontario is that it boasts the longest skating rink on the planet along the renowned Rideau Canal.
57. Facts about Sudbury
Sudbury is famously known for having the biggest nickel, but it is also home to the second-largest crater in the world. This crater was thought to be caused by an asteroid bigger than the one that extinguished the dinosaurs.
58. Hamilton Canada facts
Hamilton is proudly known as the “waterfalls capital of the world,” boasting an amazing 156 cascading waterfalls in its city borders.
59. Kitchener, aka Little Germany
Kitchener is renowned for its Oktoberfest celebration, the biggest celebration outside Germany. The festival, founded in 1969 to honour Kitchener’s German-Canadian culture, is going strong today.
Markham’s visible minority population is the highest of any major urban area in Canada, reaching 72.3%. It is one of eight major Canadian cities with no discernible racial majority.
One of the most intriguing facts about Ontario is London, Ontario, was once considered by many to be the “serial killer capital of the world. Located two hours west of Toronto, it was once known as the “Serial Killer Capital of the World” due to its having the highest concentration of serial killers of any city in the world.
62. Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is renowned globally for being a popular honeymoon spot for couples from everywhere.
If you grew up in Ontario, Niagara Falls has been a school trip destination, a date, honeymoon or wedding anniversary destination or a place to take you to visit relatives or friends. No matter your opinion on Niagara Falls, its allure is not denied.
From local restaurants to well-known chains, adventure to a casino offers various experiences. Plus, its proximity to Niagara-on-the-lake, one of the top wine regions in Ontario, is perfect!
The world’s most dangerous rapids
Between The Horseshoe Falls and the Niagara Falls Whirlpool, the Niagara River contains the fiercest Class VI Rapids, the most treacherous white water rapids in the world – And the only one with that class designation.
From the historic Fort Henry, a landmark since 1832, to the interactive Ontario Science Centre, which began welcoming guests in 1969, there are plenty of options to experience and enjoy while visiting Ontario.
On February 10, 1841, Kingston was named the first capital of the United Province of Canada. Although the city lost this designation in 1844, it has maintained its importance as a military installation.
In the midst of World War II, Whitby, Ontario, became the site of the top-secret Canadian spy school named “Camp X.” The school taught its recruits the ins and outs of espionage, from lock picking and combat techniques to sabotage and other undercover operations.
Ontario Facts Wrap Up
Ontario is a magnificent Canadian province that offers something for everyone to enjoy. From its stunning attractions and rich history to its beautiful landscapes and warm and friendly people, Ontario should be at the top of your list of places to visit! Not only do you get to experience all the amazing sights, but you can also learn interesting facts about this wonderful province.
Whether it’s a weekend escape or a longer vacation, you will surely have an unforgettable experience in Ontario. Congratulations. You are now ready for your next bout of road trip trivia.