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Ontario History Timeline


  • (1610 - 1612) Etienne Brule of France, explored southern Ontario
  • (1611) Henry Hudson visited Hudson Bay, claimed area for Great Britain
  • (1615) France missionaries established outposts in region
  • (1670) Hudson Bay Company received British royal charter to conduct Indian trade
  • (1673) Fort Frontenac established near present-day Kingston
  • (1680 - 1681) Robert Cavellier de la Salle sailed through (present day) Toronto on his way south to the Gulf of Mexico.
  • (1689 - 1697) English-French War occurred
  • (1689) Heavy fighting between France and Five Nations Iroquois occurred
  • (1701) Peace established between French and Five Nations Iroquois
  • (1721) France built fur post at Toronto
  • (1730) Hudson Bay Company established trading post at Moose Factory
  • (1749 - 1751) French built fort at Toronto
  • (1758) British captured Fort Frontenac
  • (1759) British captured Fort Niagara; French abandoned Fort Rouille in Toronto
  • (1760) French forces surrendered; fall of New France
  • (1763) Peace established between France and Britain(Proclamation of 1763); Indians attempted resistance of British
  • (1765) Indians made peace with Britain
  • (1774) Quebec Act passed, Ontario region added to Quebec Province
  • (1784) Over 9,000 United Empire Loyalists settled in(now) southern Ontario
  • (1788) Governor General Lord Dorchester proclaimed land area to be divided into Lower Canada with French legal system and Upper Canada with British legal system; British purchased 250,000 acres, began settlement of York (now Toronto)
  • (1791) Upper Canada founded (future Ontario)
  • (1793) John Graves Simcoe appointed first governor of Upper Canada, encouraged immigration from U.S., built roads, abolished slavery
  • (1812 - 1814) War of 1812, Upper Canada chief target of Americans due to large population of American immigrants
  • (1832) Rideau Canal from Kingston to Ottawa completed; cholera outbreak from Lower Canada spread, thousands died
  • (1837) Upper Canada Rebellion in favor of responsible government occurred
  • (1841) Upper and Lower Canada united by Act of Union to form Province of Canada; Upper Canada became Canada West, Lower Canada became Canada East
  • (1847) Canada overwhelmed with over 100,000 immigrants escaping Irish Potato Famine, many suffered from typhus, 1700 deaths occurred
  • (1855) American canal at Sault Ste. Marie opened
  • (1858) Ottawa approved as permanent capital
  • (1867) Parliament of United Kingdom passed British North America Act; Province of Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia joined to form country of Canada
  • (1872-1896) Oliver Mowat took office as Premier of Ontario, leader of the Ontario Liberal Party; defended provincial rights, expanded provincial power
  • (1875) Construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway began at Fort William, Ontario
  • (1883) Mineral deposits found near Sudbury, mining boom in northern Ontario
  • (1884) Boundary dispute resolved between Ontario and Manitoba
  • (1886) The first Workman's Compensation Act was passed in Ontario
  • (1893) Economic recession affected province's industrial output
  • (1896) Sir Oliver Mowat resigned after 24 years as premier
  • (1906) Hydro-Electric of Ontario was created, first publicly owned electric utility in the world
  • (1910) Ontario Hydro transmission line brought generated electricity to Kitchener, Ontario from Niagara - first long-distance transmission of electricity in Canada
  • (1911) Forest fire swept into South Porcupine, Ontario; burned town to the ground, killed 50 people
  • (1912) Regulation 17 banned teaching in French after first year of school, teaching of French after fourth year
  • (1916) 233 lives lost in forest fire in northern Ontario
  • (1917) Women won right to vote and hold public office
  • (1931) Statute of Westminster removed legislating power of United Kingdom over Dominion of Canada
  • (1934) Dionne Quintuplets born
  • (1943) George Drew's Progressive Conservative Party won Ontario election, began 42 years of Conservative government
  • (1951) Fair Employment Practices Act passed forbidding discrimination due to race, creed, color, nationality, ancestry, place of origin; Equal pay legislation passed
  • (1954) First crude oil reached Sarnia, Ontario through pipeline from Edmonton
  • (1955-1956) 17,000 General Motors auto workers struck in Ontario
  • (1965) 10,000 postal workers in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia struck for higher wages
  • (1970) Lake St. Clair Fishery closed due to mercury contamination
  • (1974) Pauline McGibbon was appointed first woman Lieutenant-Governor
  • (1976) CN Tower opened in Toronto
  • (1979) Train derailment in Mississauga caused largest evacuation of city in North America
  • (1980) Terry Fox ended marathon near Thunder Bay when cancer reappeared in his lungs
  • (1982) Acid rain killed fish in 147 Ontario lakes; Canada Act 1982 passed by British Parliament severed all remaining constitutional and legislative ties between Canada and United Kingdom
  • (1989) Canada, U.S Free Trade Agreement took effect
  • (1990 - 1992) Major recession hit Ontario, many companies downsized, threatened to leave Canada
  • (1994) North America Free Trade Agreement went into effect
  • (1995) Gay Adoption Law struck down; Ontario Coalition Against Poverty began public protests against government
  • (1997) Teachers struck in Ontario - largest teachers strike in North America
  • (2003) Blackout cut power in Ontario, eight US states, affected over 10 million Canadians, 40 million Americans
  • (2003) Ontario declared public health emergency due to SARS, 44 died, tourist revenues dropped by half
  • (2003) Court of Appeals, Ontario, legalized same-sex marriage
  • (2005) Global groups united against Islamic arbitration in Ontario; Legionnaires disease killed 16, sickened dozens at Toronto seniors' home; Air France jetliner crashed at Toronto Airport, all passengers, crew survived; Prime Minister Paul Martin's government ousted in no-confidence vote
  • (2006) Series of thunderstorms hit Ontario killed two, caused extensive damage; 12 men, five youths arrested for planning series of terrorist attacks in southern Ontario
  • (2008) Explosions at propane facility in Toronto forced thousands to evacuate from homes; two killed; train from Vancouver to Toronto quarantined after one person died, others became ill; Prime Minister Stephen Harper won bid to suspend parliament
  • (2009) Man survived plunge at Niagara Falls
  • (2010) Brutal winter storm left over 300 people stranded in vehicles on Highway 402
  • (2012) Three members of Afghan immigrant family in Kingston convicted following honor murders of four female relatives
  • (2012) Train derailment near Toronto killed three, injured 45