Ontario is Canada's most populous and second-largest province. It stretches from Canada's southernmost point at Middle Island in Lake Erie in the south, to the Manitoba-Ontario border on Hudson Bay in the north, and from the banks of the St. Lawrence River in the east, to the Manitoba border in the west.

Fall colours

May 09, 1781

Indigenous Peoples 

Niagara Purchase of 1781

The Niagara Purchase of 1781, also known as Treaty 381, was one of the first land agreements between Indigenous peoples and British authorities in Upper Canada (now Ontario). As a result, a 6.5-km-wide strip along the west bank of the Niagara River connecting Lake Erie and Lake Ontario was made available for settlement by Loyalists, who had been displaced by the American Revolution. The Niagara Purchase was one of many agreements made in the 1700s and 1800s that are collectively known as the Upper Canada Land Surrenders.

September 03, 1783

Government and Politics 

Treaty of Paris 1783

This treaty ended the American Revolution, recognizing the independence of the American colonies. The boundary between British and American territories was set along the St. Lawrence River and through the Great Lakes. Post-war life in the United States was very difficult for British Loyalists, who endured property loss and discrimination. Many left and began to arrive in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Québec and Ontario. Famous migrant Loyalists include Lieutenant James Moody, Laura Secord and Richard Pierpoint.

May 22, 1784

Indigenous Peoples 

Mohawk Families Arrive at Bay of Quinte

During the American Revolution (1775–83), the British promised their allies, the Mohawks, that their homeland would be returned to them after the war. But when the revolution ended, the Treaty of Paris gave traditional Mohawk territory to the United States. The British instead offered the Mohawks their choice of any unsettled land in Upper Canada (now Ontario). They chose land along the north shore of Lake Ontario on the Bay of Quinte. About 20 Mohawk families (100–125 people) travelled by canoe from Lachine and arrived at the Bay of Quinte on 22 May 1784. (See also Crown Grant to the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte.)

August 01, 1785

Indigenous Peoples 

John Collins’s Purchase of 1785

John Collins’ Purchase of 1785 is one of the oldest land agreements between Indigenous peoples and British authorities in Upper Canada (now Ontario). It concerned the use of lands extending from the northwestern end of Lake Simcoe to Matchedash Bay, an inlet off Georgian Bay in Lake Huron. The purpose was to provide the British with a protected inland water route between Lake Ontario and Lake Huron, away from potential American interference. John Collins’s Purchase is one of many agreements made in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, known as the Upper Canada Land Surrenders.

May 20, 1790

Indigenous Peoples 

McKee’s Purchase of 1790

McKee’s Purchase of 1790 (also known as the McKee Treaty or Treaty 2) was an early land agreement between Indigenous peoples and British authorities in Upper Canada (now Ontario). The southernmost Upper Canada treaty, it consisted of a large strip of territory from the southwestern shore of Lake Erie north to the Thames River and east to a point southwest of modern-day London, Ontario. This land was made available for settlement by Loyalists who were displaced by the American Revolution. McKee’s Purchase legitimized the land transfers of 1784 and 1786 as well as many other private illegal sales of Indigenous land to settlers.

April 01, 1793

Indigenous Peoples 

Crown Grant to the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte

Upper Canada Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe executed Treaty 3½ or the Simcoe Deed to recognize the Mohawks’ contributions to the British during the American Revolution. The treaty granted the Mohawks some 92,700 acres (375 km2) on the Bay of Quinte, an area about the size of a township. However, the government gave Mohawk land to Loyalists, who continued to arrive between 1820 and 1843. As a result, the Mohawk tract was reduced ultimately to 18,000 acres (73 km2).

February 16, 1813


Winter march of the 104th Regiment of Foot

Governor-in-Chief Sir George Prevost ordered the transfer of soldiers from the Atlantic region to the Canadas to help protect them from impending US attacks. Soldiers from New Brunswick began their snow-shoed march from Fredericton to Québec City, eventually reaching Kingston, Ontario. Some died of frostbite on the nearly six week journey.

June 24, 1813

The Battle of Beaver Dams, Monument

People  Resources and Environment 

Battle of Beaver Dams

A force of 400 Caughnawaga and Mohawk warriors from both Upper and Lower Canada, with British regulars in support, forced the surrender of nearly 500 advancing American soldiers at what is now Thorold, Ontario. The battle was the largest Indigenous victory without significant non-Indigenous involvement.

November 11, 1813

War of 1812

People  Resources and Environment 

Battle of Crysler's Farm

American forces on the St. Lawrence River were halted when British and militia units defeated them at the Battle of Crysler's Farm near Cornwall, Ontario. After defeats at Châteauguay and Crysler's Farm, the Americans abandoned the St. Lawrence campaign, guaranteeing British control of the important river.

November 30, 1823

Flight Locks, Welland Canal

Resources and Environment 

Welland Canal Initiated

Construction began on the first Welland Canal, joining Lakes Erie and Ontario, with a sod-turning ceremony that included its chief promoter William Hamilton Merritt.

November 30, 1829

Flight Locks, Welland Canal

Resources and Environment 

Welland Canal Opened

Two schooners passed from Port Dalhousie to Port Robinson, Upper Canada, symbolically opening the Welland Canal and linking Lakes Erie and Ontario for the first time. The canal opened the way to the west and countered the threat of the US Erie Canal.

August 28, 1833

Government and Politics  People 

Slavery Abolition Act Receives Royal Assent

The Slavery Abolition Act received royal assent, becoming law across the British Empire. Ontario, then Upper Canada, was a progressive force in the abolition movement. In 1793, Governor John Graves Simcoe passed the Act to Limit Slavery, which made it illegal to bring slaves into the region and created a safe haven for escaped American slaves.

January 08, 1838


Attack at Amherstburg

A Patriote attack against Amherstburg, Upper Canada (Ontario), was defeated by Canadian militiamen.

June 04, 1838

Tecumseh Baseball Park

Sports and Culture 

First Baseball Game in Canada

A game of baseball was played in Beachville, Ontario (near Woodstock). It predated by 7 years the establishment of Cartwright's New York Knickerbockers and the "New York game" with 9 men on the field.

October 27, 1854

Communication and Transportation 

Rail Disaster at Chatham

At Baptiste Creek, 24 km west of Chatham, Ont, a gravel train was hit by an express train that was running 7 hours late. The accident killed 52 and injured 48 others, the worst rail disaster in North America to that time.

November 17, 1856

Grand Trunk Railway

Communication and Transportation 

Grand Trunk Completed

The Grand Trunk Railway was completed from Guelph to Stratford, Ont; the last stretch from St Marys to Sarnia was finished on November 21. The GTR was a significant factor in the economic development of Canada.

January 01, 1857

Government and Politics 

Gradual Civilization Act Passed in the Province of Canada

The government attempts to assimilate First Nations men by offering them the right to vote if they voluntarily enfranchise. This means giving up rights, including treaty rights. Only one person elects to do so under this Act. (See also Indigenous Peoples in Canadian Law.)

February 28, 1857

Resources and Environment 

First Oil Production

The world's first commercial oil production began at Petrolia, Ont, 2 years before the first well in the US.

July 01, 1867

Western Settlement

Government and Politics  People 

Canada Comes Into Existence

The Dominion of Canada came into existence, consisting of Ontario, Québec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

January 01, 1868

Government and Politics 

Coats of Arms Bearing the Maple Leaf

The coats of arms granted to Québec and Ontario each incorporated a sprig of three maple leaves in their design.

March 03, 1870

Execution of Thomas Scott

Government and Politics  Resources and Environment 

Scott Sentenced to Death

A Métis court martial sentenced Thomas Scott to death. He was executed by firing squad at Fort Garry the following day, causing a furor in Ontario.

July 15, 1870

Prince Rupert

Government and Politics  Resources and Environment 

Transfer of Rupert's Land

The British Crown officially transferred Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory to Canada. These lands comprise present-day Manitoba, most of Saskatchewan, southern Alberta, southern Nunavut, and northern parts of Ontario and Québec.

January 01, 1871

Canadian Red Ensign (1871-1921)

Government and Politics 

The Red Ensign in Canada

Soon after Confederation, Canadians began flying the Red Ensign with the quartered arms of Ontario, Québec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in the fly. As provinces joined Confederation, the arms of Canada increased in detail. By 1921 nine provinces had joined Confederation, and the shield was difficult to recognize, especially at sea.

January 17, 1871


Obituary of Distinguished Black Veteran

On 17 January 1871 in Cornwall, Ontario, the death of John Baker at 105 was announced. In some ways, Baker's life was unique. He may have been the last surviving enslaved Upper Canadian. He had seen his adopted homeland become Upper Canada, Canada West and then, the Dominion of Canada.

May 15, 1872

Nine Hour March

Government and Politics  People 

Nine-hour Day March

Demand for a 9-hour day began on a march in Hamilton, Ont, and spread across Canada, the first unified labour protest in Canada.

October 31, 1872

Sir Oliver Mowat

Government and Politics 

Mowat Takes Office

Oliver Mowat assumed office as premier of Ontario and leader of the Ontario Liberal Party; he remained premier until 1896.

October 03, 1873

Government and Politics  Resources and Environment 

Treaty 3

Treaty 3 was signed by the Saulteaux (Chippewa) of northwestern Ontario and of Manitoba. For the surrender of a tract comprising about 55,000 sq. miles, the Dominion Government reserved not more than one square mile for each family of five and agreed to pay $12 per head and an annuity of $5 per head.

April 16, 1874

Melatonin Subjects

People  Resources and Environment 

Agricultural College Opens

The agricultural college at Guelph, Ont, received its first students.

June 01, 1875

Ottertail Bridge

Communication and Transportation 

Construction Begins on CPR

At the Kaministiquia River, near present-day Thunder Bay, Ont, construction began on the CPR.

September 20, 1875

Government and Politics  Resources and Environment 

Treaty 5

Treaty 5 was concluded at Lake Winnipeg ceding an area of approximately 100,000 sq. miles inhabited by Chippewa and Swampy Cree (Maskegon) of Manitoba and Ontario.

October 01, 1876

Resources and Environment 

First Wheat Shipped

The first western Canadian wheat was shipped to Ontario.

March 07, 1878

Université de Montréal

Government and Politics 

Universities Incorporated

The University of Montreal and the University of Western Ontario were incorporated.

February 04, 1880


Donnelly Massacre

Five members of the Donnelly family were massacred near Lucan, Ont.

January 04, 1884

Resources and Environment 

Last Eastern Cougar Shot in Canada

The last known eastern cougar in Canada was shot in Ontario. The cougars were officially declared extinct in 2011 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but unconfirmed sightings persist throughout eastern Canada.

September 15, 1885

Sports and Culture 

Death of Jumbo

A Grand Trunk Railway locomotive struck and killed Jumbo, beloved circus elephant in Barnum and Bailey’s “Greatest Show on Earth,” near St. Thomas, ON. The autopsy showed that Jumbo’s stomach contained “a hat-full” of English pennies, gold and silver coins, metal trinkets and a police whistle, among other things. The death of the elephant made headlines world-wide.

March 25, 1886

Nine Hour March

Government and Politics 

Workman's Compensation Act

The first Workman's Compensation Act was passed in Ontario.

December 21, 1891

Sports and Culture 

First Rules of Basketball Written

James Naismith of Almonte, Ontario, wrote the original 13 rules for the game of basketball.

May 27, 1893

Algonquin Park

Resources and Environment 

Algonquin Park Created

The Ontario government created Algonquin Park, Canada's first provincial park.

August 14, 1903

Silver Mining

Resources and Environment 

World's Richest Vein of Silver

A claim was filed for what turned out to be the richest silver vein in the world, at Cobalt, Ont, by railway workers. By 1906 there were thousands of prospectors working the area but the boom subsided only 3 years later.

October 10, 1904

Communication and Transportation 

Ford Motor Company of Canada

The new Ford Motor Company of Canada started producing cars in Walkerville (now Windsor), Ontario. The company started as Walkerville Wagon Works, but officially teamed up with Henry Ford in August of 1904, and grew quickly. By 1913, the original 17 employees had grown to 1,400.

May 14, 1906

Beck, Adam

Resources and Environment 

Ontario Hydro Created

The Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario was created, with Adam Beck as chairman. It was the first publicly owned electric utility in the world.

September 05, 1907

Resources and Environment 

Cornwall Earthquake

A 5.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Cornwall, Ont. Though the earthquake was moderately severe, its rumble was felt as far away as Windsor, ON, in the west and Québec City to the east. Considerable damage was done to homes and buildings in Cornwall. The town’s mayor noted that some 2,000 chimneys required repairs.

August 12, 1909

Government and Politics  People 

Freight Handlers Strike

Fort William (Thunder Bay), Ont, was placed under martial law as Greek and Italian strikers engaged Canadian Pacific Railway police in a protracted gun battle.

October 11, 1910

Communication and Transportation 

First Long-distance Transmission

An Ontario Hydro transmission line brought Niagara Falls-generated electricity to Berlin (Kitchener), Ont, the first long-distance transmission of electricity in Canada.

July 11, 1911

South Porcupine Fire

Resources and Environment 

South Porcupine Fire

A forest fire swept into the Northern Ontario town, killing about 50 people and burning the town to the ground.

January 03, 1912

Sports and Culture 

First Pro Hockey Game West of Ontario

The Victoria Cougars hosted the first professional hockey game played west of Ontario and Michigan.

May 14, 1912

Government and Politics  Resources and Environment 

Ottawa Transfers Land

The federal government divested itself of responsibility for vast tracks of northern land by granting boundary extensions to Manitoba, Ontario and Québec.

January 01, 1914

Morning Mist

Resources and Environment 

​Thousand Islands National Park Established

Thousand Islands National Park was established. One of the smallest National Parks, it is comprised of 26 islands and about 90 islets scattered for 80 km along the St. Lawrence River from Brockville to Kingston, ON. The park was formerly called St. Lawrence Islands National Park.

March 08, 1914

Sports and Culture 

Birth of Lacrosse Superstar Bill Isaacs

Wilton “Bill” Isaacs was born in the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation. He became one of Canada’s most outstanding lacrosse players. Isaacs was a superstar of box lacrosse, the indoor version of the game, which was extremely popular in the 1930s and 1940s.

May 23, 1915


Lieutenant Clyde Scott is Rescued by Enemy Forces

Lieutenant Clyde Scott, a soldier from Perth, Ontario, was wounded while fighting near St. Julien, Belgium, and mistaken for dead. He lay wounded in a pile of corpses until German soldiers found him, attended to him medically to save his life and took him as a prisoner of war. After the war, he returned to Canada and had a daughter who became an Olympic gold medal figure skater.

July 29, 1916

Communication and Transportation  Resources and Environment 

Cochrane and Matheson Burn

Fires started by lightning and locomotive sparks combined into a firestorm that struck Cochrane and Matheson, Ont, burning both towns and killing at least 233 people.


Women Get Vote in Ontario

Women were granted the right to vote and hold public office in Ontario.

July 08, 1917

Tom Thomson

People  Sports and Culture 

Tom Thomson Drowns

Artist Tom Thomson, whose paintings of Algonquin Park have become talismans of our image of the Canadian landscape, died under suspicious circumstances at Canoe Lake, Ont.

October 20, 1919

Drury, Ernest Charles

People  Resources and Environment 

United Farmers of Ontario

In an Ontario general election, the Conservative government was defeated by the United Farmers of Ontario, led by E.C. Drury, who became premier.

January 21, 1922


Birth of Lincoln Alexander

Lincoln Alexander, CC, OOnt, lawyer, parliamentarian, public servant, lieutenant-governor of Ontario, was born in Toronto, ON. The first Black Canadian to sit in the House of Commons (1968) and to hold a viceregal position (1985).

February 27, 1932

Communication and Transportation  People 

Death of William Southam

Newspaper publisher and philanthropist William Southam died in Hamilton, ON. In 1877, Southam and his partner took over the failing Hamilton Spectator, turning its fortunes around. Southam Inc. would eventually acquire the Ottawa Citizen, Calgary Herald and Windsor Star, among other media and broadcasting outlets.

September 14, 1933

Government and Politics  People 

Strike in Stratford, Ont

Furniture workers and meat packers went on strike in Stratford, Ont. Troops and armoured cars were moved into the town on September 27.

May 07, 1935


Sports and Culture 

David Dunlap Observatory

The David Dunlap Observatory at Richmond Hill, Ont, was completed, the second largest in the world at that time.

January 06, 1936

Barbara Hanley

Government and Politics  People 

Barbara Hanley Elected as First Female Mayor in Canada

Barbara Hanley was elected mayor of Webbwood, a town west of Sudbury, Ontario, defeating Robert E. Streich by 13 votes. She served Webbwood as mayor for eight terms and was the first female mayor in Canada.

September 14, 1936

Government and Politics  People 

Birth Control Arrest

Dorothea Palmer, a nurse, was arrested in Eastview, Ont, for distributing information on birth control.

April 08, 1937

General Motors Strike

Government and Politics  People 

Oshawa Strike

More than 4000 workers of the huge General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ont, struck. GM accepted many of the union's demands, without recognizing the union.

April 17, 1943


Birth of Bobby Curtola

Singer-songwriter Bobby Curtola, who emerged as a teen idol and dominated the Canadian pop chart in the 1960s, was born in Port Arthur, Ontario (now Thunder Bay). Curtola was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 1997 for his contributions to the Canadian recording industry as well as his many charitable works.

August 04, 1943

George Drew, politician

Government and Politics 

Conservatives Win Ontario

George Drew's Progressive Conservative Party won the Ontario election, beginning a political dynasty that would last 42 years.

March 14, 1944

Government and Politics  People 

Ontario Passes Racial Discrimination Act

Ontario was the first province to respond to social change when it passed the Racial Discrimination Act of 1944. This landmark legislation effectively prohibited the publication and display of any symbol, sign, or notice that expressed ethnic, racial, or religious discrimination. It was followed by other sweeping legislation.

January 18, 1945

Resources and Environment 

Brantford Adds Fluoride to Water

Brantford, Ont, was one of 3 North American cities to add fluoride to its drinking water in an experiment in the prevention of tooth decay.

July 22, 1947

Resources and Environment 

Canada's First Nuclear Reactors

The NRX reactor, the ancestor of Canada's unique CANDU reactors, "went critical" at Chalk River, Ont. The NRX was based on Canada's first nuclear reactor, ZEEP (1 watt of power), which was built at Chalk River in 1945.

May 04, 1949

Frost, Leslie

Government and Politics 

Frost Becomes Premier

Leslie Frost signing the oath of premier, Queen's Park, Ontario, May 4, 1949 (Ontario Archives, 478).

April 24, 1952

Dingman Discovery Well No 1

Resources and Environment 

First Alberta Oil in Ontario

The first shipment of oil from Alberta arrived in Ontario via pipeline and freighter.

January 08, 1954

Resources and Environment 

First Pipeline Oil in Ontario

The first crude oil reached Sarnia, Ont, through the pipeline from Edmonton.

August 10, 1954

Resources and Environment 

Seaway Groundbreaking

An international ceremony was held at Cornwall, Ont, and Massena, NY, for the groundbreaking for the St Lawrence Seaway.

September 02, 1954

Communication and Transportation 

Toronto Telegram Covers the Dresden Story

Discrimination against Black people continued in the 1950s, despite legislation prohibiting it. In 1954, two Black patrons visited rural Dresden, ON. and were refused service in two restaurants. The Toronto Telegram sent Black "testers" to investigate, who were also refused. When the Telegram ran the story, it confirmed what many Black Canadians suspected, that Canada's laws and regulations were ineffective.

September 19, 1955

Government and Politics  People 

General Motors Strike Begins

Some 17 000 General Motors auto workers in Ontario began a lengthy strike that did not end until 14 February 1956.

February 14, 1956

Day of Protest

Government and Politics  People 

GM Strike Ends

A 148-day strike by 17 000 General Motors employees ended.

July 01, 1958

Resources and Environment 

Sinking of the Lost Villages

As part of the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway, a large cofferdam was demolished, flooding of over 160 km2, including the sites of seven villages and three hamlets in Ontario. The blast was an “unspectacular whisper,”and the flooding took four days.

March 26, 1959


York University Founded

Ontario's 10th university, York University in Toronto, was formed.

November 08, 1961

Confederation of Tomorrow

Government and Politics 

Robarts Becomes Premier

John Parmenter Robarts succeeded Leslie Frost as premier of Ontario.

June 29, 1962

Shaw Festival

Sports and Culture 

Shaw Festival Opens

The Shaw Festival opened its first season in a renovated courthouse in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

September 25, 1963

Government and Politics  People 

First Black Person Elected to a Canadian Parliament

Leonard Braithwaite became the first African-Canadian in a provincial legislature when he was elected as the Liberal member for Etobicoke, Ontario in 1963.

January 01, 1965

Government and Politics 

Last Racially Segregated School in Ontario Closes

Thanks to the activism of Black parents, racially segregated schools in Ontario were gradually phased out. The last racially segregated school in Ontario, School Section No. 11 in Colchester, closed in 1965. This was accomplished after newly elected MPP Leonard Braithwaite pushed for the clause on segregated schools for Blacks to be officially removed from provincial education policy. Ontario and Nova Scotia were the only provinces to legislate racially segregated schools. The last one in Nova Scotia, in Guysborough County, closed in 1983. However, informal segregation was present in other provinces including AlbertaSaskatchewanNew Brunswick and Prince Edward Island

July 22, 1965

Government and Politics  People 

Postal Strike

About 10 000 postal workers in Ontario, Québec and BC struck for higher wages.

August 11, 1965


Klan Activity in Amherstburg 

In 1965, racial tension ran high in Amherstburg, ON. A cross-burning set the tone; the Black Baptist Church was defaced and the town sign was spray-painted "Amherstburg Home of the KKK." Five days of racial incidents threatened to escalate but the situation was saved by an investigation by the Ontario Human Rights Commission. No arrests were made.

November 09, 1965

Resources and Environment 

Electrical Blackout

The failure of a relay device of Ontario Hydro's Queenston generating station triggered a massive power failure extending from the Atlantic coast of the US to Chicago, and from Florida to southern Ontario, lasting up to 12 hours.

December 18, 1968

Sports and Culture 

Henry Moore's Donation

Henry Moore, the British sculptor, announced a donation of 400 to 600 of his works to the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.

March 24, 1970

Resources and Environment 

Lake St Clair Fishery Closes

The government banned commercial fishing on Ontario's Lake St Clair because of contamination by mercury.

May 22, 1971

Ontario Place

Sports and Culture 

Ontario Place Opens

Ontario Place opened on the Toronto lakeshore.

June 03, 1971

Communication and Transportation 

Spadina Expressway Cancelled

The Ontario government halted construction of the Spadina Expressway due to intense public opposition to the project.

July 21, 1972

Communication and Transportation  Sports and Culture 

CRTC Grants Licence to Global

The CRTC granted a licence to Global to operate a TV network in southern Ontario.

November 23, 1972

Government and Politics 

Access to Credit Agency

Ontario introduced legislation to allow individuals access to credit agency information banks.

January 17, 1974

Government and Politics  People 

First Woman Lieutenant-Governor

Pauline McGibbon was appointed lieutenant-governor of Ontario, the first woman to hold the position of lieutenant-governor in Canada.

August 16, 1974

Sports and Culture 

Cindy Nicholas Breaks Record

Sixteen-year-old Cindy Nicholas, of Toronto, broke the record for fastest swim across Lake Ontario. The crossing took her 15 hours and 10 minutes.

October 26, 1974

Sports and Culture 

Henry Moore Centre Opens

The Henry Moore Centre at the Art Gallery of Ontario opened.

November 18, 1975

Government and Politics 

Mandatory Seat Belts

Ontario introduced legislation to make the wearing of seat belts mandatory.

April 07, 1977

Sports and Culture 

Blue Jays Win First Game

The Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Chicago White Sox 9-5 in Toronto in the franchise's first game.

September 01, 1980

Terry Fox, philanthropist and marathon runner

People  Sports and Culture 

Terry Fox Ends Marathon

Terry Fox was forced to end his Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada fund-raising run, near Thunder Bay, Ontario, when cancer spread to his lungs.

January 26, 1985

Government and Politics  People 

Frank Miller Chosen Leader

Frank Miller was elected leader of the Ontario Conservative Party. He replaced Bill Davis as premier in February.

May 31, 1985

Resources and Environment 

Tornado Hits Barrie

A tornado hit Barrie, Ont, in the worst inland storm since Hurricane Hazel. Some 300 houses were destroyed, at least 8 were killed and thousands were left homeless.

September 20, 1985

Alexander, Lincoln M.

Government and Politics  People 

Lincoln Alexander Sworn In

Lincoln Alexander was sworn in as Ontario's lieutenant-governor, the first Black person to hold the vice-regal position in Canada. Alexander was also the first Black MP and federal Cabinet minister.

June 05, 1989


Sports and Culture 

First Game in SkyDome

The Toronto Blue Jays played their first home game in the new SkyDome, against the Milwaukee Brewers. The SkyDome was the first stadium with a successful retractable roof.

September 06, 1990

Government and Politics 

NDP Captures Ontario

The New Democrats took 74 of 130 seats in Ontario's provincial election, making leader Bob Rae the first NDP premier in Ontario's history.

October 24, 1992

Sports and Culture 

Blue Jays Win World Series

The Toronto Blue Jays became the first team from outside the US to win the World Series.

January 01, 1993

Government and Politics 

Ontario Launches Anti-Racism Education Guidelines

In 1993, the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training launched the Anti-Racism and Ethnocultural Equity in School Boards guidelines — a resource for school boards to implement policies to identify and eliminate various forms of racism. Since then, the anti-racism education movement has grown and progressed throughout Canada.

January 23, 1995

Government and Politics 

Morin Conviction Overturned

The Ontario Court of Appeal overturned a conviction of Guy Paul Morin for the 1984 murder of a neighbourhood girl. DNA evidence showed that he could not have been the killer.

February 21, 1995

Government and Politics 

Kingston Women's Prison Report

A federal ombudsman released a report accusing officials of the Prison for Women in Kingston, Ont, of using excessive force in quelling a disturbance in April 1994.

May 24, 1995

Gay Pride Vancouver

Government and Politics  People 

Gay Adoption Law Struck Down

Judge James Nevins of the Ontario Court struck down a provincial law preventing same-sex couples from adopting children.

January 29, 1996

Government and Politics 

Ontario Gains Fiscal Controls

The province of Ontario passed a Bill giving the government sweeping powers to overhaul fiscal policy and social services programs.

January 13, 1997

Harris, Michael

Government and Politics 

Ontario Reforms Municipalities

The Ontario government of Mike Harris announced drastic changes to Ontario municipalities.

August 12, 1997

Government and Politics  Resources and Environment 

Nuclear Reactors Shut Down

Ontario Hydro, North America's largest electric utility, announced that it would shut down the 7 oldest of its 19 nuclear reactors: 3 at the Bruce facility on lake Huron and 4 at Pickering on lake Ontario.

October 27, 1997

Government and Politics  People 

Teachers Strike in Ontario

Five unions representing 126 000 teachers went on strike in Ontario, the largest teacher strike ever in north America. The teachers protested reforms put forward by the Mike Harris government. The strike ended Nov 7.

March 06, 1998

Dionne Quintuplets

Government and Politics  People 

Dionne Quintuplets Get Award

The Ontario government announced that the 3 surviving quints, Annette, Cecile and Yvonne had accepted $4 million in compensation for the 9 years that they spent on display at a tourist theme park.

May 20, 1999

Government and Politics  People 

Gay Spousal Rights

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the definition of the term "spouse" in Ontario law under which homosexuals were denied the right to sue for spousal support.

August 14, 2003

Resources and Environment 

2003 Blackout

Widespread power outage due in part to a software glitch in an alarm system at an Ohio energy company control room left an estimated 10 million people in Ontario and 40 million people in eight northeastern and midwestern states in the dark. In many places, the blackout lasted up to two days.

February 09, 2004

Communication and Transportation  People 

Death of Janusz Zurakowski

Aviator Janusz Zurakowski, who made the first flight of the Avro Arrow (CF-105), an advanced supersonic jet, died in Barry's Bay, ON.

June 28, 2004

Government and Politics  People 

Bev Oda Elected to Parliament

Bev Oda became the first Japanese Canadian Member of Parliament, when she was elected as the representative for Durham, Ontario.

June 23, 2010

Ottawa, Satellite Image

Resources and Environment 

Earthquake Near Ottawa

An earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter Scale hit 60 km north of Ottawa, causing tremors that shook central Ontario and part of Québec. Though no lives were lost and only minimal damage occurred, the quake was unique in that it was felt as far away as New York.

October 19, 2012


Death of Lincoln Alexander

Lincoln Alexander, CC, OOnt, lawyer, parliamentarian, public servant, lieutenant-governor of Ontario, died in Hamilton, ON. The first Black Canadian to sit in the House of Commons (1968) and to hold a viceregal position (1985).

February 11, 2013

Kathleen Wynne

Government and Politics 

First Female and LGBTQ Premier of Ontario

Kathleen Wynne was sworn in as Ontario’s twenty-ninth premier, making her the province’s first female and the first LGBTQ premier.

July 31, 2013

Government and Politics 

Bob Rae Steps Down as Liberal MP

After a combined 23 years of service in government, former NDP MP, Ontario premier, Liberal MP and interim Liberal Party leader Bob Rae, OC, stepped down from political life.

November 28, 2013

Alexander, Lincoln M.

Government and Politics 

Lincoln Alexander Day Act

The Legislative Assembly of Ontario declared 21 January of each year Lincoln Alexander Day citing Alexander's life as "an example of service, determination and humility. Always fighting for equal rights for all races in our society, and doing so without malice, he changed attitudes and contributed greatly to the inclusiveness and tolerance of Canada today."

January 10, 2014

Resources and Environment 

First Indigenous Constitution in Ontario

Members of the Nipissing First Nation voted in favour of adopting their own constitution, or Gichi-Naaknigewin, believed to be the first such document among First Nations communities in Ontario. Its purpose is to allow the nation to define its membership and create laws. Legal experts say it is unclear, however, whether this constitution will run up against Canadian laws such as the Indian Act, which it is designed to replace.

September 23, 2014

Government and Politics  People 

Lieutenant-Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell

Elizabeth Dowdeswell, former undersecretary general of the United Nations, was sworn in as Ontario Lieutenant-Governor. She previously served as CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies and as assistant deputy minister at Environment Canada.

November 19, 2014

Government and Politics 

Staffer Sentenced for Role in Robocall Scandal

The Ontario Court of Justice in Guelph, ON, sentenced former Conservative staffer Michael Sona to nine months in prison for his role in the robocall scandal that erupted in the wake of the 2011 federal election. On the day of the election, 6,000 Guelph voters received automated calls directing them to incorrect voting locations. Sona was the only person charged in relation to the fraudulent calls.

November 29, 2014

Sports and Culture 

​Death of Brian Macdonald

Prolific choreographer and director Brian Macdonald died in Stratford, Ontario.

March 22, 2016

Rob Ford

Government and Politics  People 

Death of Rob Ford

Rob Ford, the municipal politician who became an international celebrity during his scandal-plagued term as the mayor of Toronto from 2010 to 2014, died after a battle with cancer. A staunch conservative, Ford campaigned against tax hikes and fought to cut spending at City Hall, famously running for office under the slogan "stop the gravy train."

March 30, 2016


Death of Howard Cable

Composer Howard Cable died in Toronto, Ontario, at age 95. Over a prolific career that spanned more than seven decades, Cable made a profound impact on music in Canada. In addition to his work in radio, television and musical theatre, he composed, arranged and conducted music for a wide variety of organizations and bands.

May 30, 2016

Kathleen Wynne

Resources and Environment 

Premier Wynne Issues Residential Schools Apology

In response to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne formally apologizes on behalf of the provincial government for the abuses committed against Indigenous peoples in the residential school system, as well as for the oppressive policies and practices supported by past Ontario governments. The province announces a $250-million, three-year investment in several initiatives aimed at reconciliation.

June 22, 2016

Bathhouse Raids


Toronto Police Express Regret for Bathhouse Raids

Toronto police chief Mark Saunders publicly expressed "regret" on behalf of his force for the 1981 bathhouse raids. On 5 February of that year, Toronto police officers arrested about 300 gay men on charges of being found in a common bawdy house or keeping a common bawdy house. Most of the charges were dropped, but the raids further persecuted and marginalized a group whose rights were largely unprotected in Canadian society of the time. They also spurred a new era of political activism in the city’s LGBT community.

June 26, 2016


Death of Austin Clarke

Novelist, short-story writer and journalist Austin Clarke died in Toronto at age 81. Clarke grew up in Barbados and moved to Canada in 1955 to study at the University of Toronto. While his varied career ranged beyond literature to positions such as cultural attaché of Barbados in Washington (1973) and general manager of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (1975), he is best known for his fiction, which includes the Giller Prize-winning novel The Polished Hoe (2002). Called “the grandfather of Black Canadian literature” by Lawrence Hill, Clarke — a vocal social critic and civil-rights advocate — was among the first Black writers in Canada to gain international recognition and win major literary prizes.

August 11, 2016

Sports and Culture 

Penny Oleksiak’s Olympic Medal Record

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 16-year-old swimmer Penny Oleksiak became the first Canadian to win four medals at a Summer Games. The first-time Olympian from Toronto skyrocketed to fame in the space of two weeks, stepping onto the podium again and again as the country looked on with amazement. She took home gold in the 100 m freestyle, silver in the 100 m butterfly and bronze in both the 4x100 m freestyle relay and 4x200 m freestyle relay.

September 19, 2016

Annie Pootoogook, Fine Liner Eyebrow, 2001-2002.


Death of Annie Pootoogook

The body of artist Annie Pootoogook, 47, was found in the Rideau River in Ottawa, Ontario. An internationally exhibited winner of the Sobey Art Award, Pootoogook came from a family of accomplished Inuit artists. She moved from Cape Dorset, Nunavut, to Ottawa in 2007, after achieving international recognition.

Days after her death, Ottawa police officer Chris Hrnchiar wrote remarks widely condemned as racist in the comments section of an article on Pootoogook’s death in the Ottawa Citizen. The incident resulted in an internal investigation and, ultimately, a three-month demotion for Hrnchiar, who pleaded guilty to two charges under the Police Services Act.

Ottawa police were still investigating suspicious elements of the case several months after Pootoogook’s death.

October 19, 2016


Death of Adam Zimmerman

Businessman Adam Hartley Zimmerman died in Toronto, Ontario, at the age of 89. Zimmerman was a long-time executive at Noranda Mines, serving first as assistant comptroller in 1958 then rising through the ranks to become president and CEO in 1982. Zimmerman retired in 1994. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1967.

November 17, 2016

Ontario Legislature, 2012

Government and Politics 

Election of the Youngest MPP in Ontario History

Nineteen-year-old Sam Oosterhoff became the youngest member of Provincial Parliament in the history of Ontario, winning the riding of Niagara West–Glanbrook in a by-election. The Progressive Conservative candidate beat out the NDP’s Mike Thomas and Liberal Vicky Ringuette.

November 29, 2016

Government and Politics 

Ontario’s All Families Are Equal Act Passed

Ontario passed Bill 28, the All Families are Equal Act, giving all parents equal rights under the law, “whether they are LGBTQ2+ or straight, and whether their children were conceived with or without assistance.”

December 10, 2016

Toronto FC Fans

Sports and Culture 

First Canadian Team to Play MLS Cup Final

Toronto FC became the first Canadian club to reach the Major League Soccer Cup final, facing off against Seattle Sounders FC at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario. They lost the match 5–4 in penalty shootout. (See also Soccer.)

December 13, 2016

Sports and Culture 

Penny Oleksiak Wins Lou Marsh Trophy

Swimmer Penny Oleksiak of Toronto, Ontario won the Lou Marsh Trophy for Canada’s best athlete of 2016, the year of her triumphant four-medal record at the Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The award is given out annually by a panel of Canadian sports journalists.

January 02, 2017


Death of Tom Harpur

Tom Harpur, theologian, priest and journalist with the Toronto Star, died at the age of 87.

February 14, 2017

Sixties Scoop

Resources and Environment 

First Victory of a Sixties Scoop Lawsuit

Ontario Superior Court judge Edward Belobaba ruled in favour of Sixties Scoop victims, finding that the federal government did not take adequate steps to protect the cultural identity of on-reserve children taken away from their homes. This was the first victory of a Sixties Scoop lawsuit in Canada.

February 19, 2017


Death of Bob White

Labour leader Bob White died in Kincardine, Ontario. Among his many achievements as a union organizer, White was the founding president of the Canadian Auto Workers union. In 1990, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

March 02, 2017

Franco-Ontarian Flag


“Notre Place” Named Official Anthem of Franco-Ontarians

Following a campaign led by the Association des professionnels de la chanson et de la musique, the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario and Ottawa’s Montfort Hospital, the Government of Ontario adopted a motion making Paul Demers’ song “Notre Place” the official anthem of the Franco-Ontarian community.

March 04, 2017


Death of Bonnie Burnard

Short story writer and novelist Bonnie Burnard died in London, Ontario, at age 72. The four books she published in her lifetime earned her critical acclaim and literary prizes, including the Giller Prize in 1999 for her novel A Good House.

March 20, 2017


Death of Betty Kennedy

Ottawa-born journalist and broadcaster Betty Kennedy, known for CBC’s Front Page Challenge and her Toronto radio program The Betty Kennedy Show, died at the age of 91. She was an Officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Senate, and was also inducted into the Canadian Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the Canadian News Hall of Fame.

May 02, 2017


Death of Gerry Martiniuk

Progressive Conservative politician Gerry Martiniuk died at the age of 79. Martiniuk served as a Member of the Provincial Parliament of Ontario from 1995 to 2011. He was first elected when the Mike Harris government swept into power with its “Common Sense Revolution” campaign.

May 18, 2017


Death of Michael Bliss

Historian Michael Bliss died in Toronto, Ontario. One of Canada’s leading historians, Bliss wrote numerous prize-winning books on Canadian and medical history, including The Discovery of Insulin and William Osler: A Life in Medicine. He received many career honours, including the Order of Canada, honorary degrees from six universities and honorary fellowship in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. For many years he was in demand as a lecturer, speaker and public intellectual in North America and Europe.

June 19, 2017

Order of Canada


Gord Downie Appointed to the Order of Canada

Tragically Hip front man Gord Downie was made a Member of the Order of Canada. In addition to his iconic career with the Hip, his citation recognizes his devotion to “promoting dialogue, raising awareness of the history of residential schools and moving the country along the path to reconciliation.” His bandmates were to be inducted at a later date.

June 19, 2017


Death of Zoltan Sarosy

Hungarian chess master Zoltan Sarosy, who emigrated to Halifax and then Toronto after the Second World War, died at the age of 110 of natural causes. At the time of his death, he was considered one of the oldest people in Canada.

July 26, 2017

Gas pipeline construction

Resources and Environment 

Supreme Court Rules on Pipeline Projects

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Indigenous peoples do not have the power to veto resource development projects such as pipelines. It stated that while the government has a duty to consult with Indigenous communities, the National Energy Board (NEB) is the “final decision maker.” The Chippewas of the Thames First Nation had appealed the NEB’s approval of a modification to Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline, which runs through traditional Chippewa territory near London, Ontario.

September 14, 2017

Government and Politics 

Death of Arnold Chan

Arnold Chan, Liberal member of Parliament for the Ontario riding of Scarborough-Agincourt, died at age 50 after a battle with cancer. He was remembered by colleagues in Parliament and at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, where he previously served as an aide, as an exemplary politician who deeply valued democracy and civic engagement. In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote, “he distinguished himself as a thoughtful, kind and — above all — tireless advocate for Canadians.”

October 01, 2017

New Democratic Party Logo

Government and Politics 

Jagmeet Singh Wins Federal NDP Leadership

The New Democrats elected Jagmeet Singh to replace Tom Mulcair and lead the party into the 2019 federal election. A member of provincial parliament with a seat in Brampton, the 38-year-old Sikh criminal lawyer served as deputy leader of the Ontario NDP before stepping down to run for the federal leadership. Singh is the first member of a visible minority to lead a federal political party in Canada.

January 01, 2018


Toronto's oldest artifact trusted to the care of the city over 80 years after its discovery

An Indigenous arrowhead, estimated to be between 4,000 and 6,000 years old, has been trusted to the care of the city of Toronto by the woman who discovered it during a class trip to Fort York in 1935. Jeanne Carter discovered what is now considered the oldest artifact discovered on the present-day territory of the city of Toronto.

February 15, 2018

Government and Politics 

Candidates chosen for the Ontario PC leadership race

Christine Elliott, Tanya Granic Allen, Caroline Mulroney and Doug Ford entered a snap election for leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. The race was triggered after party leader Patrick Brown was forced to step down following accusations of sexual assault.

April 23, 2018

Site of Toronto Van Attack


Toronto Van Attack Kills 10, 8 of them Women

At 1:24 p.m., a 25-year-old man who identified as an incel (involuntary celibate), drove a rented van onto the sidewalk on Yonge Street in Toronto’s North York business district. He proceeded to drive south, intentionally running over pedestrians. When he was stopped by police 10 minutes later, 10 people (eight of them women) were dead and 16 were injured. The driver was found guilty of 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.

June 07, 2018

Government and Politics 

PC Party wins majority government in Ontario

PC Party leader Doug Ford won a majority government in Ontario’s 2018 general election. The premier-designate was voted into Queen’s Park with 76 seats and nearly 41 per cent of the popular vote. This victory ended nearly 15 years of Liberal government, first under Dalton McGuinty from 2003 to 2013, and then under Kathleen Wynne from 2013 to 2018. A total of 58 per cent of the electorate exercised its right to vote, compared to 51 per cent in the previous election. The NDP gained official opposition status under Andrea Horwath with 40 candidates elected. The Liberals won only 7 seats at Queen’s Park, falling short of the 8 required for official party status. Kathleen Wynne resigned as leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. The Green Party succeeded in getting its first Ontario MPP elected — its leader Mike Schreiner in the riding of Guelph.

September 13, 2018

Indigenous Peoples 

Agreement Reached in Williams Treaties Dispute

In 1992, the seven Williams Treaties First Nations filed a lawsuit against the federal government asking for financial compensation for land surrenders and loss of rights dictated by the Williams Treaties. Ten years later, a trial began in which Canada and Ontario acknowledged limited off-reserve treaty harvesting rights, but litigation was dropped in favour of out-of-court negotiations. These began in March 2017. A negotiated settlement approved on 13 September 2018 gave financial compensation to the First Nations involved. It recognized their harvesting rights and allowed each First Nation to add up to 4,452 hectares to their reserves by purchase from willing sellers.

February 06, 2019


Government and Politics  People 

NDP MP Paul Dewar Dies

Former teacher and union leader Paul Dewar died at age 56 after a year-long battle with brain cancer. He served as the MP for Ottawa Centre from 2006 to 2015 and was the NDP’s foreign affairs critic for many years.

February 10, 2019

Canadian Parliament


Former Finance Minister and Diplomat Michael Wilson Dies at Age 81

A former Progressive Conservative MP for Etobicoke Centre, Wilson served in Parliament for more than ten years. He was finance minister and minister of international trade under Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Wilson was Canada’s ambassador to the United States from 2006 to 2009 and served as chancellor of the University of Toronto from 2012 to 2018.

April 22, 2021

Doug Ford

Government and Politics 

Doug Ford Apologizes for Widely Criticized Measures

Ontario premier Doug Ford apologized for measures his government had introduced a week earlier. Many of the new rules, including closing all playgrounds and empowering police to detain people out in public during a stay-at-home order, were criticized as “draconian.” On 26 April, three armed forces medical teams were sent to Toronto to assist health care workers, while hospitals worried about possibly having to start triaging patients.

May 11, 2021

A bottle of polio vaccine

Government and Politics 

Ontario Pauses Use of AstraZeneca Vaccine

Ontario announced that it would be pausing the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to concerns over a rare but potentially fatal blood clotting disorder caused by the vaccine. As of 8 May, more than 900,000 shots of the vaccine had been given in the province. There had been eight cases of the disorder in Ontario and at least four more in the rest of the country. Three people had died.

June 06, 2021


Muslim Family Killed in Hit-and-Run Hate Crime

Two parents, a grandparent and a daughter were killed and a nine-year-old son was left in serious condition after the family was struck by a pickup truck while walking along the sidewalk in London, Ontario. Police confirmed that the attack was “a planned, premeditated act and that the family was targeted because of their Muslim faith.” (See also Islamophobia in Canada.) A vigil was held in London two days later. The accused was charged with four counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. He was also charged with terrorism under section 83 of the Criminal Code. The nine-year-old orphaned boy was released to relatives a week later.

January 28, 2022

Government and Politics 

“Freedom Convoy” Arrives in Ottawa and Begins Occupation of Capital

Embed from Getty Images

Convoys of truckers, which had been making their way to Ottawa from Western and Eastern Canada, finally arrived in Canada’s capital to protest public health mandates and restrictions. The convoys were cheered by supporters across the country, many of whom greeted them along highway overpasses. However, the protest’s stated goal of unseating Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and overthrowing the government left many Canadians uneasy and brought to mind the insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January 2021 — as did the presence of Confederate and Nazi flags among the protesters. With 85 per cent of Canadians vaccinated, including about 90 per cent of all truckers, the protest was seen as a far-right fringe movement. Observers noted that online rhetoric surrounding the protest had grown “increasingly worrisome.” Similar Freedom Convoy protests formed blockades at a border crossing in Coutts, Alberta, and at the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan, on 29 January and 7 February, respectively.