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Ontario, named after Lake Ontario, is the 4th largest, and most populated province in Canada, with around 13.5 million residents, accounting for almost 40% of the country's total population. Ottawa, the capital of Canada, is located in Ontario, as well Toronto, the country's most populous city and national hub, which also happens to be the capital of the province.

Many of Canada's renowned universities are in Ontario, attracting an international student population of almost 150,000 students per year. Out of Canada's top 10 Universities, 6 are in Ontario, including, York University, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, Western University, Queens University, and Mc Master University. In addition, 11 institutions in Ontario are ranked amongst the top world universities, in the QS World University ranking.

Recent reports show that graduates from universities in Ontario have the highest employment rate in Canada, with over 90% of graduates finding employment opportunities within the first year of graduating.

One of the best things about studying in Ontario is that you can easily take trips across the Canadian border into the USA, during your semester holidays, providing tremendous opportunities for sightseeing in New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and other American states.

Toronto has the longest underground pedestrian walkway in the world, PATH, a 30 km walkway that comprises of shops, movie theatres, hotels, office buildings, subway stations, government buildings and more. During winter, PATH provides an alternative walking commute for pedestrians.

Ontario has a well-connected public transport system, including road and rail networks.

Ontario comprises of the “Great Lakes”, which is over 300 kms long, offering plenty of opportunities for partaking in water sports and activities.


With just over 13.5 million residents, Ontario is one of the most diverse places in the world; 50% of the residents born outside Canada, representing over 200 nationalities and 160 languages; the most popular being, Indian, Greek, Chinese, Polish, Italian, and Filipino. Roughly 2% of the total Ontario population is aboriginal people, which is about one-fifth of the total aboriginal population in Canada.

More than 90% of the population lives in the southern part of the province, located a mere 200 kms from the US, in the ‘Golden Horseshoe', along the western shore of Lake Ontario, including greater Toronto, Hamilton, St Catharines, and Niagara Falls. The largest city in Ontario by population is Toronto, made up of 6 million residents, and continuing to increase. Ottawa is the second largest, with 1.3 million residents. Other major cities in the province include London, Windsor, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Kingston, and Sudbury.

Over 40% of the yearly 250,000 immigrants that come to Canada choose to settle in Ontario, Recent migration trends have shown that over the last two centuries, a rising number of migrants have arrived from South Asian countries, Latin America, and Europe.

In Ontario there is a great amount of religious diversity, and has officially been labelled as a secular society, with 23% of its residents not identifying with any religious faith, 32% Catholics, 6% Anglicans, and a significant number of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, and Sikh groups.

The median age of residents in the province is 40 years, with approximately 5 million households, and a life expectancy of 84 years for women, and 79 years for men. More than 64% of the Ontario population aged 25-64 years have completed at least post-secondary schooling, and the Ontario labour surpasses 6 million people, aged 25 and over.

The province houses 20 public Universities, and 24 colleges of applied Arts and Technology.


Ontario is bordered by Manitoba to its west, Quebec to the East, Hudson Bay and James Bay to the North, and the American states of Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York to the West.

Ontario is comprised of three distinct geographical regions:

  • Northern Ontario/The Canadian Shield: Northern Ontario is made up of two sub-regions; North-western Ontario and North-eastern Ontario, comprising more than 50% of the land area of Ontario. Two thirds of Ontario is covered by the Canadian shield forests; enriched with rounded hills, flat plateaus, lakes, rivers, and minerals.
  • The Hudson Bay Lowlands: is in the northernmost section of Ontario, and is mostly made up of swampy, sparse forest land.
  • Southern Ontario: is divided into four regions; Central Ontario, Eastern Ontario, Golden Horseshoe, and Southwestern Ontario (Formerly Western Ontario)
    • The highest point is Ishpatina Ridge at (2,274 ft) above sea level, in North-eastern Ontario.
    • Ontario comprises of over 100,000 kms of rivers, and has over 250,000 lakes, including Lakes Superior, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, making up approximately 1/5th of the world's total fresh water supply.
    • A key geographical feature of the province is Niagara Falls


Ontario is known for its multiculturalism and displays some of the greatest cultural diversity in the world, with flourishing cultural communities, making newcomers to the province feel right at home, earning a worldwide reputation for being one of the most welcoming places in the world.

Ontario's entertainment and creative industry is the third largest in North America and is the leading province for book and magazine publishing, sound recording, and film and television production.

Toronto has the most diverse variety of theatres and performing arts companies in Ontario, as well as a thriving art scene, with over 200 art and historical monuments, more than 70 Film Festivals, Broadway musicals, and popular festivals like the Shaw Festival, and Stratford Festival.

Ontario is rich in culture, academics and sports, with festivals like the renowned Toronto International Film Festival; one of the largest and most influential film festivals in the world, bringing together top filmmakers from around the globe. And the Toronto Caribana festival, the biggest Caribana festival in the world, takes place each year in Ontario, attracting over 1.2 million people each year.

The official language in Ontario is English, but there are several French speaking communities in the province as well. The French language has been extended to the Province's educational and legal systems, with many Government services provided in both English and French in selected regions across the province. Other popular languages spoken in Ontario includes Chinese, Italian, Punjabi, Spanish, German, Polish, Ukrainian, and Portuguese.

Ontario is a sports haven for avid sports lovers, with a range of professional sporting events taking place year-round, from professional Baseball (Toronto Blue Jays), National Basketball championships (Toronto Raptors), Ice Hockey league ( Toronto Maple Leafs), National Hockey League ( Ottawa Senators), Football with the Toronto Argonauts, or the Hamilton Tiger Cats, The championship lacrosse games (Toronto Rock), or major league soccer games with Toronto FC.


The Ontario climate varies by season and location. Three distinct air sources affect the climate; cold, dry, and arctic air from the North. The climate can be described as humid continental. Ontario has three primary climatic regions:

The surrounding Great Lakes, which influences much of the southern Ontario climate. During fall and wint

The surrounding Great Lakes greatly influence the climatic region of southern Ontario. During the fall and winter months, heat stored from the lakes is released, moderating the climate near the shores of the lakes. This makes some parts of southern Ontario have milder winters than mid-continental areas at lower latitudes.

Parts of Southwestern Ontario has a moderate humid continental climate. The region has warm to hot, humid summers and cold winters. making for abundant snow in some areas.

The next climatic region is Central and Eastern Ontario which has a moderate humid continental climate. This region has warm and sometimes hot summers with colder, longer winters, ample snowfall,

The Niagara Escarpment on the Bruce Peninsula. In the northeastern parts of Ontario, the cold waters of Hudson Bay depress summer temperatures, making it cooler than other locations in Canada or Ontario at similar latitudes. The same is true on the northern shore of Lake Superior, stored colder water left over from the winter does not warm sufficiently, cooling the over-riding hot humid air from the south, sometimes this creates large areas of fog. Along the eastern shores of Lake Superior and Lake Huron winter temperatures are slightly moderated but come with frequent heavy lake-effect snow squalls that increase seasonal snowfall totals upwards of 3 m (10 ft) in some places. These regions have higher annual precipitation in some case over 100 cm (39 in). The northernmost parts of Ontario — primarily north of 50°N — have a subarctic climate(Köppen Dfc) with long, severely cold winters and short, cool to warm summers with dramatic temperature changes possible in all seasons. With no major mountain ranges blocking sinking Arctic air masses, temperatures of −40 °C (−40 °F) are not uncommon; snowfall remains on the ground for sometimes over half the year. Snowfall accumulation can be high in some areas. Precipitation is generally less than 70 cm (28 in) and peaks in the summer months in the form of showers or thunderstorms.

Severe thunderstorms peak in summer. London, situated in Southern (Southwestern) Ontario, has the most lightning strikes per year in Canada, averaging 34 days of thunderstorm activity per year. In a typical year, Ontario averages 11 confirmed tornado touchdowns.

Tropical depression remnants occasionally bring heavy rains and winds in the south, but are rarely deadly. A notable exception was Hurricane Hazel which struck Southern Ontario centred on Toronto, in October 1954.
City July (°C) January (°C)
Windsor 28/18 0/-7
Niagara Falls 27/17 0/-8
Toronto 27/18 −1/−7
Midland 26/16 −4/-13
Ottawa 27/16 −6/−14
Sudbury 25/13 −8/−19
Thunder Bay 24/11 −9/−21
Kenora 24/15 −11/−21
Moosonee 23/9 -14/-26


Healthcare schemes in Canada vary from province to province, but under the law, all Canadian provinces and territories need to provide publicly-funded healthcare to all its citizens and residents. This means that basic health costs like doctor's visits, eye examinations, treatments from public hospitals, treatments from health professionals and medical practitioners, are publicly funded, and have no direct cost for the patient.

Some procedures like dental care and elective cosmetic surgery are not covered, unless residents aquire private healthcare on top of the publicly funded healhcare schemes.

In Ontario, Healthcare is available to all residents, at no cost. The healthcare scheme is known as Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), and covers the basic medical services of citizens and residents in Ontario, including doctor examinations, emergency care, medical testing, hospital care, and emergency dental care.

Ontario has 145 public hospitals across the province, 6 private hospitals, and 4 speciality psychiatric hospitals.

University Education

Higher education in Ontario is delivered through several post-secondary education institutions in the province including 22 public universities, 24 public colleges ( 21 colleges of Applied Arts and Technology and 3 Institutes of Technology and Advanced Learning) 17 privately funded religious universities, and over 400 private career colleges. 18 of the top research Universities in Canada are located in Ontario

Minimum entry requirements

Although all univeraities and colleges have their own entry requirements for International students, the minimum entry requirement to pursure higher education in Canada ( in most cases) is a high school diploma, and a minimum language proficiency. All programs and course offers varying length and pre-requisites

Universities usually offer undergraduate and graduate degrees, and other professional programs, while colleges offer certificate programs, diplomas, apprenticeships, and degrees

Between 2010 and 2018, there has been a 154% increase in the numbers of international students in Canada. At present the annual International student number in Canada is 572,000 + , with a majority of students coming from India (30%), China (25%), Vietnam ( 4%), France (4%), South Korea ( 4%), and USA ( 3%).

The fastest growing origin countries of International students coming to pursue Canada includes:

  • Bangladesh (53%)
  • Iran (48%)
  • Vietnam (46%)
  • Colombia (41%)
  • India (40%)
  • Philippines (29%)
  • Kenya (29%)

Top Universities in Ontario includes:

The reason why International students consistently choose Canada as a top study destination is because of the quality of the Canadian Education System, Safety, and because Canada is a non-discriminatory society; extremely multicultural and tolerant. 60% of International students that pursue higher studies in Canada end up applying for Canadian permanent residence. 60% of international students that pursue studies in Canada end up applying for permanent residence.

Economy/ Key Industries

The economy in Ontario is mostly reliant on mining, arts, hunting, fishing, whaling, tourism, transportation, oil and gas mineral exploration, housing development, military, research, and education.

The province is home to a strong modern service and information economy, along with a solid manufacturing base. Ottawa is the seat of government and of most federal ministries, which helps it to attract businesses as well as non-commercial organizations of an international nature.

Ontario's main international manufacturing sector is the auto industry, where Canadian companies are among world leaders. After a period of stagnation in the industry, recent years have seen major investments by leading manufacturers in new plants and technologies.

The province also has strong natural resource-based industries. A long-established mining sector includes nickel and iron mines. The province's vast forests support a lumber, pulp and paper industry that has adapted new sustainable practices. Eco-tourism is on the rise as people look to enjoy the various recreational activities that Ontario's natural environment has to offer.

The unemployment rate in Ontario is on par with the national average and stands at 6.8%. With a diverse, thriving economy, job opportunities in Ontario span the full range of professions, from agriculture to information technology. Job creation levels in the province have been strong in recent years, and are expected to continue.

Ontario generates 37% of the national GDP and is home to almost 50% of all employees in high tech, financial services and other knowledge-intensive industries”.Ontario and the North American market

Ontario lies in the core of the North American Free Trade area, which includes more than 460 million people and generates a combined gross domestic product of more than $18 trillion (purchasing power parity, current international $). In 2011, more than C$ 1.4 billion crossed the Canada-U.S. border each day and Ontario-US trade accounted for approximately C$ 716 million of that amount.


Ontario is part of the North American manufacturing heartland. Examples of Ontario's key manufacturing industries include autos, information and communications technologies, biotech, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

Here are some key facts about Ontario's manufacturing sector:

  • Ontario is the largest sub-national automotive assembly jurisdiction in North America
  • According to Statistics Canada, 88% of Ontario's vehicle production was exported (2011 figures), with almost all of the exports destined for the United States
  • In 2011, Ontario's manufacturing businesses shipped more than $258 billion
  • After California and Texas, Ontario has the most manufacturing employees of any jurisdiction in Canada and the United States


Ontario has more than half of the highest quality (“Class 1”) farm land in Canada. There are 51,950 farms in Ontario (Census of Agriculture, 2011) and they make up almost one-quarter of all farm revenue in Canada.

Ontario's agricultural production includes:

  • Fruit crops, such as grapes, apples, berries and other tender fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Cash crops, such as soybeans, corn, mixed grains, forage crops, wheat and barley
  • Commercial poultry, hog, dairy and beef cattle farms
  • Flowers and other ornamental plants


Ontario's forests play a major role in the province's economy. They contribute to a good standard of living by supporting more than 53,000 direct jobs in the forest industry (2011). In total, the forestry sector supports almost 200,000 direct and indirect jobs across 260 Ontario communities.


Mineral production in Ontario was more than $10 billion in 2011. The mining industry in Ontario is a global leader in productivity and has world leading environmental standards. Ontario is among the top 10 producers in the world for nickel and platinum group metals. The province is also a significant producer of gold, copper, zinc, cobalt and silver. Southern Ontario produces non-metallic minerals including salt, gypsum, lime, nephelinesyenite and structural materials (sand, gravel, stone). The sedimentary rocks of the south are also the site of Ontario's oil and gas industry.

Services industry

Although Ontario is a manufacturing powerhouse, the services sector is the largest part of Ontario's economy. It employs 79% (or 5.3 million people) of the province and makes up 76.9% of the province's economy. Examples of Ontario's major services sector include business and financial services, professional and scientific technical services, and arts and culture.

Ontario is Canada's leading manufacturing province, accounting for 52% of the total national manufacturing shipments in 2004.

Ontario's largest trading partner is the American state of Michigan. As of April 2012

Dominion Bond Rating Service rated it AA(low) in January 2013.Long known as a bastion of Canadian manufacturing and financial solvency, Ontario's public debt-to-GDP ratio is projected to be 37.2% in fiscal year 2019-2020, compared to 26% in 2007-2008

Mining and the forest products industry, notably pulp and paper, are vital to the economy of Northern Ontario. As of 2011, roughly 200,000 ha are clearcut each year; herbicides for hardwood suppression are applied to a third of the total. There has been controversy over the Ring of Fire mineral deposit, and whether the province can afford to spend CAD$2.25 billion on a road from the Trans-Canada Highway near Kenora to the deposit, currently valued at CAD$60 billions.

A container ship docked next to an Algoma Steel plant in Sault Ste. Marie. The Great Lakes provide a transportation link for freighters.

An abundance of natural resources, excellent transportation links to the North American heartland and the inland Great Lakes making ocean access possible via container ships, have all contributed to making manufacturing the principal industry of the province, found mainly in the Golden Horseshoe region, which is the largest industrialized area in Canada, the southern end of the region being part of the North American Rust Belt. Important products include motor vehicles, iron, steel, food, electrical appliances, machinery, chemicals, and paper.

Hamilton is the largest steel manufacturing city in Canada followed closely by Sault Ste. Marie, and Sarnia is the centre for petrochemical production. Construction employed more than 6.5% of the province's work force in June 2011. Ontario's steel industry was once centered in Hamilton. Hamilton harbour, which can be seen from the QEW Skyway bridge, is an industrial wasteland; U.S. Steel-owned Stelco announced in the autumn of 2013 that it would close in 2014, with the loss of 875 jobs. The move flummoxed a union representative, who seemed puzzled why a plant with capacity of 2 million tons per annum would be shut while Canada imported 8 million tons of steel the previous year. Algoma Steel maintains a plant in Sault Ste Marie.

Ontario surpassed Michigan in car production, assembling 2.696 million vehicles in 2004. Ontario has Chrysler plants in Windsor and Bramalea, two GM plants in Oshawa and one in Ingersoll, a Honda assembly plant in Alliston, Ford plants in Oakville and St. Thomas and Toyota assembly plants in Cambridge and Woodstock. However, as a result of steeply declining sales, in 2005, General Motors announced massive layoffs at production facilities across North America, including two large GM plants in Oshawa and a drive train facility in St. Catharines, that resulted in 8,000 job losses in Ontario alone. In 2006, Ford Motor Company announced between 25,000 and 30,000 layoffs phased until 2012; Ontario was spared the worst, but job losses were announced for the St Thomas facility and the Windsor Casting plant. However, these losses will be offset by Ford's recent announcement of a hybrid vehicle facility slated to begin production in 2007 at its Oakville plant and GM's re-introduction of the Camaro which will be produced in Oshawa. On December 4, 2008 Toyota announced the grand opening of the RAV4 plant in Woodstock, and Honda also plans to add an engine plant at its facility in Alliston. Despite these new plants coming online, Ontario has not yet fully recovered following massive layoffs caused by the global recession; its unemployment rate was 7.3% in May 2013, compared to 8.7 percent in January 2010 and approximately 6% in 2007. In September 2013, the Ontario government committed CAD$70.9 million to the Ford plant in Oakville, while the federal government committed CAD$71.1mn, to secure 2,800 jobs. The province has lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs in the decade from 2003, and the Bank of Canada noted that "while the energy and mining industries have benefitted from these movements, the pressure on the manufacturing sector has intensified, since many firms in this sector were already dealing with growing competition from low-cost economies such as China."

Toronto's Financial District from the northeast. The district serves as the centre for Canada's financial services

Toronto, the capital of Ontario, is the centre of Canada's financial services and banking industry. Neighbouring cities are home to product distribution, IT centres, and manufacturing industries. Canada's Federal Government is the largest single employer in the National Capital Region, which centres on the border cities of Ontario's Ottawa and Quebec's Gatineau.

The information technology sector is important, particularly in the Silicon Valley North section of Ottawa, home to Canada's largest technology park.IT is also important in the Waterloo Region, where the headquarters of BlackBerry is located

Tourism contributes heavily to the economy of Central Ontario, peaking during the summer months owing to the abundance of fresh water recreation and wilderness found there in reasonable proximity to the major urban centres. At other times of the year, hunting, skiing and snowmobiling are popular. This region has some of the most vibrant fall colour displays anywhere on the continent, and tours directed at overseas visitors are organized to see them. Tourism also plays a key role in border cities with large casinos, among them Windsor, Cornwall, Sarnia and Niagara Falls, the latter of which attracts millions of US and other international visitors

Popular Sightseeing Attractions

  1. Niagara Falls, Ontario - is probably Canada's most renowned landmarks. The falls straddles the border between Ontario and New York. The falls includes the Horseshoe falls at 790 metres ( 2,600 feet wide), and the American Falls, 320 metres (1,060 meters wide)
  2. CN Tower, Toronto - is a 553 metre high concrete communications and obsrvation tower, located in Downtown Toronto.
  3. Parliament Hill, Ottawa
  4. Blue Mountains, Ontario
  5. The Royal Ontario Museum
  6. Casa Loma
  7. A range national and provincial parks ( 6 national parks

The CN Tower is a 553.3 meter (1,815.3 feet) -high concrete communications and observation tower located in Downtown Toronto, Ontario. Built on the former Railway Lands, it was completed in 1976. Its name “CN” originally referred to Canadian National, the railway company that built the tower. The CN Tower held the record for the world's tallest free-standing structure for 32 years until 2007 and was the world's tallest tower until 2009 when it was overtaken by Burj Khalifa and Canton Tower, respectively.

The Royal Ontario Museum is a museum of art, world culture and natural history in Toronto. It is one of the largest museums in North America and the largest in Canada. It attracts more than one million visitors every year, making the ROM the most-visited in Canada.

Casa Loma is a Gothic Revival style mansion and garden in midtown Toronto, that is now a historic house museum and landmark. It was constructed from 1911 to 1914 as a residence for financier Sir Henry Pellatt. The architect was E. J. Lennox, who designed several other city landmarks. Casa Loma sits at an elevation of 140 meters (460 ft) above sea level.

Parliament Hill - Ottawa

Royal Ontario Museum - The Royal Ontario Museum in downtown Toronto is one of the premier museums in the province, featuring a broad range of collections, from natural history and science to cultural exhibits from around the world National Gallery of Canada - The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa houses some of the country's most important collections. It contains a particularly strong selection of works by Canadian artists, from the Group of Seven to Emily Carr and many other famous names. The gallery also displays important pieces by well-known international artists.

Toronto International Film Festival - The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is the most famous event on Ontario's calendar, attracting some of the biggest movie stars across North America. This 10-day festival, held in early September in Toronto, is one of the best attended film festivals in the world, with almost a half million visitors annually.

Muskoka and Cottage Country - One of Ontario's most famous summer hot spots is an area known as Cottage Country, or Muskoka. Located north of Toronto, this region is centered around Lake Muskoka and a number of other popular lakes in the area.

1,000 islands

Located on the St. Lawrence River, the 1000 Islands region is rich with scenery and history! Most people will hop on a boat tour and learn about the region's checkered past, from pirates and bootleggers to the politicians who lived and travelled there.