Ontario doesn't need an introduction. Internationally, it's known for the Great Lakes, Niagara Falls and the CN Tower. Nationally, it is known for its politics. It's home to Canada's largest city (Toronto) and Canada's capital city (Ottawa).
However, Ontario's role on the national and international stage stretches much further back than Confederation in 1867. A century before, in 1788, Ontario was under control of the Province of Quebec and was split into four sections. The divisions continued over the next fifty years, and by 1838 Ontario was divided into twenty sections! In 1867, when Canada first became a country, Ontario's borders with the newly acquired "Rupert's Land" came into question. Over the next 40 years there would be many adjustments due to the creation and expansions of new provinces (Manitoba, Quebec) and the adjusting of borders because of conflicts (the Red River Rebellion).
Today, Ontario is split unofficially into two sections: southern Ontario and northern Ontario. The reason for this division is because of the vast geographical differences between the the two. The Great Lakes in southern Ontario help keep the area warm in the winter and are responsible for its summer growing season. Northern Ontario has much less water, and is thus much dryer, creating very long, very cold winters. The majority of Ontario's population lives around the Great Lakes, while a very small minority of people live in northern Ontario.
Ontario has been that province I've had to visit several times during stop-over flights to other destinations, but not one that I've ever visited for fun. However, Ontario is Canada's most popular province for vacationers and tourists, so there is definitely plenty to see there! I've been following several bloggers from Ontario and they have really helped change my opinion of the province, so I too would like to visit it one day! Have you ever been?
A huge thank-you to and1online for the usage of his picture as my cover image. Be sure to give him a follow for more amazing Ontario pictures!
I hope you enjoy part 8 of 13, "Instagramming Canada - Ontario"!
Small Town Life
Algonquin Provincial Park
Lakes and Rivers
And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
As I stood in the courtyard of Fort Henry, I heard screams emanating from within. Fort Henry was constructed to protect the Kingston Royal Dockyard from the invading American forces during the War of 1812. The threat was so real that the capital of Canada – which was then Kingston – was moved to Quebec to protect it. The docks are all that stood between the United States and the St. Lawrence River and both countries were all too familiar with how easily it would turn the tides of battle.
As the screams from inside Fort Henry faded, I turned to the man beside me. He had come with his family. We got talking, trying to calm our nerves as bloodied clowns and undead mimes began wandering out from inside the fort.
Last summer my family and I tried fishing up in Northern Saskatchewan. We had a great weekend, but we caught nothing. I wasn't too disappointed though, as I have never actually caught a fish. After 25 years of fishing and failing, I have officially given up on the sport.
That is until I was invited to visit Medicine Hat, Alberta and go sturgeon fishing on the South Saskatchewan River. I was hesitant, but I said yes. I really didn't want to spend eight hours out on the water just to come home empty-handed, but I figured to give it one more shot.
My guide for the day, Brent Thorimbert, picked me up at my hotel around 8:30 a.m. and drove us to a valley located just outside of Medicine Hat. We got out on the water about 9 a.m. and arrived at our fishing spot twenty minutes later. Brent explained that sturgeon fish are "bottom feeders" so they swim along the bottom of the riverbed and eat up bugs and small fish. Our fishing lines were weighted for this very reason. The bait should sit on the riverbed and would get sucked up by an unsuspecting sturgeon.
Last autumn I visited Kingston, Ontario for the first time in about seven years, and while I mentioned I had been there before, I never explained why.
Several years ago I travelled to Kingston to represent Southern Saskatchewan at the NEXT Generation Leaders Forum. The purpose of this international forum was to discuss urban planning in the mega-cities of tomorrow. We had to think outside the box and solve problems like housing, garbage collection, employment, energy and transportation. When the forum was complete, and we submitted our ideas to a panel of judges, my group won the "Global Vision" award for our ideas on improving housing for the future.
For seven years that award and my time in Kingston sat on my bedroom shelf collecting dust, and while the experience was memorable, it never amounted to anything.