European exploration of Ontario was started by the usual suspects, France and England. Étienne Brûlé explored the south for France between 1610 and 1612 while in 1611 Henry Hudson claimed the territory around Hudson Bay for England. After France gave up its claim to the territory under the 1763 Treaty of Paris, Britain governed the area as part of the Québec Colony. When the Americans went on the Revolutionary warpath, there was a large influx into the south of loyalists who did not want to be part of an independent USA. In 1791 this resulted in Québec Colony being split into English speaking Upper Canada (now Ontario) and French speaking Lower Canada (now Québec).
Downtown Toronto from Casa Loma
Most of the population of Ontario can be found in the south east of the province and the biggest city in Canada is found here on the shores of Lake Ontario. This photograph taken from the northern suburbs shows how Toronto’s skyline is dominated by the tallest building in the world, the 553 metre (1815 foot) high CN Tower. Tall skyscrapers in the downtown area ensure that the huge lake to the south of the city is invisible even from this elevated viewpoint. You can find out more about the city on the Toronto page.
Gardens of Casa Loma
Outside Casa Loma there are 2 hectares (5 acres) of beautiful gardens. The original gardens were designed to look like a typical English Gentlemen's Garden, but after Sir Henry Pellatt got into financial difficulties they fell into disrepair. The gardens were renovated by the Garden Club of Toronto over a period of 5 years from 1987. Although some features have been restored it was not possible to rebuild the gardens as they would have been in Pellatt’s days.
Thousand Islands Bridge & St. Lawrence River from Ontario side
For about 80 kilometres (50 miles) east of Lake Ontario the St. Lawrence River becomes very wide but filled with islands. In truth there are over 1800 islands, but Thousand Islands is the name that has stuck to this border area. The Thousand Islands Bridge connects the USA and Canada and because it has to island-hop it is actually a series of bridges. This picture shows the American span of the bridge from Hill Island, Ontario.
Casa Loma from gardens, Toronto
In the northern suburbs of Toronto can be found a castle. Built between 1911 and 1914 by financier and electricity mogul Sir Henry Pellatt, Casa Loma was designed to marry his fantasy of a medieval castle with his need for a practical house for his family. Inside the house is beautifully decorated, and filled with fine art from Sir Henry’s travels in Europe. The castle theme is reflected in the towers, secret passages, and a 250 metre (800 foot) tunnel. Sir Henry and Lady Pellatt lived in the house until 1924 when mounting tax debts forced him to give up the house. After failed attempts to turn it into a hotel, Casa Loma was turned into a tourist attraction owned by the City of Toronto.
'Maid of the Mist' by Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls
The purpose of this picture is show just how much spray is created by one of the world’s most famous waterfalls. This is not the highest waterfall in the word, nor the widest or even the one that carries the greatest volume of water. However of all the major waterfalls in the world Niagara is by far the easiest to visit. You even have a choice of countries as one side is in Canada and the other in the USA. We visited both the US and Canadian sides, and found the view from the Canadian side much better. Pictures from our visit to the Canadian side can be found in the page dedicated to Niagara Falls in the Oh! Canada section of the web site.
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