Timeline of Ontario history

From Academic Kids

Ontario came into being as a province of Canada in 1867. This article also covers the pre-1867 history of the territory Ontario now occupies.

For a complete list of the premiers of Ontario, see List of Ontario premiers.

Contents

1762 and earlier

Province of Quebec, 1763 to 1790

At the same time large numbers of Iroquois loyal to Britain arrive from the United States and are settled on reserves west of Lake Ontario.
Kingston and Hamilton became important settlements as a result of the influx of Loyalists.
  • 1788–The British purchase 250,000 acres (1,000 km&sup2) on which they begin the settlement of York, now Toronto

Upper Canada, 1791 to 1840

The population of Upper Canada is about 14,000 (Lower Canada's is about 165,000).
  • 1793John Graves Simcoe is appointed as the first governor of Upper Canada. He encourages immigration from the United States, builds roads, and abolishes slavery, which was not an important economic institution in Upper Canada. Slavery is abolished in 1793 by the Act Against Slavery, with the intent that all slaves be released by 1810; this goal was probably reached ahead of time.
  • 1794–The Jay Treaty is signed November 19 by which Britain agreed to vacate its Great Lakes forts on U.S. territory.
  • 1800–First European settlement on the site of present-day Ottawa
  • 1803–The Northwest Company moves its mid-continent headquarters from Grand Portage, Minnesota to Fort William, now part of Thunder Bay to be in Upper Canada.
  • 1803Thomas Talbot retires to his land grant in Western Ontario and begins settling it. He eventually becomes responsible for settling 65,000 acres (260 km&sup2). His insistence on the provision and maintenance of good roads, and on reserving land along main roads to productive uses rather than to clergy reserves leads to this region becoming the most prosperous in the province.
  • 1804–First European settlement on the site of present-day Waterloo
  • 1807–First settlement, Ebytown, on the site of present-day Kitchener
  • 18121814–The War of 1812 with the United States. Upper Canada is the chief target of the Americans, since it is weakly defended and populated largely by American immigrants. However, division in the United States over the war, the incompetence of American military commanders, and swift and decisive action by the British commander, Sir Isaac Brock, keep Upper Canada British.
One of the legacies of the war in Upper Canada is strong feelings of anti-Americanism which persist to this day and form an important component of Canadian nationalism.

The united Province of Canada, 1841 to 1866

  • 1841–Upper and Lower Canada are united by the Act of Union (1840) to form the Province of Canada, as recommended by Durham. Upper Canada becomes known as Canada West and Lower Canada as Canada East.
  • 1841–Sydenham dies in a riding accident and is replaced by Sir Charles Bagot. The movement for responsible government which had been growing under Sydenham is now so strong that Bagot realizes that to govern effectively he must admit French leaders to his executive council. Once admitted, Canada East Reformer Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine insists that Canada West Reformer Robert Baldwin also be admitted. Bagot admits Baldwin as well, creating a Reform bloc.
  • 1843–Bagot retires because of illness and is replaced by Sir Charles Metcalfe, who is determined to make no further concessions to the colonists. Metcalfe refuses a demand by Baldwin and Francis Hincks that the assembly approve official appointments. The ministry in the assembly resigns, and in the ensuing election a slim majority supporting Metcalfe is returned.
  • 1846–The Colonial Secretary, Lord Grey, rules that the British North American lieutenant governors must rule with the consent of the governed. Executive councils are to be selected from the majority in the assembly, and change when the confidence of the assembly changes. Britain is abandoning the mercantilist principles which have guided its imperial policy, and since colonial trade will no longer be restricted, local colonial politics need no longer be restricted.
  • 1848Lord Elgin, who had replaced Metcalfe in 1847, asks Baldwin and Lafontaine to form a government following their success in elections for the assembly. This is the Province of Canada's first responsible government.
  • 1849–Elgin signs the Rebellion Losses Bill, which provided compensation for losses suffered during the Patriotes Rebellion, over the opposition of English conservatives (Tories) in Canada East, who were accustomed to having the governor support them. A Tory mob burns down the parliament building in Montreal but Elgin, supported by majorities in both Canada East and Canada West (which had already passed a similar bill), does not back down, and responsible government is established in fact.
  • 1849–The Canada East Tories then sponsor an Annexation Manifesto calling for the province of Canada to join the United States. They were motivated by the loss of trade threatened by the repeal of the British Corn Laws. However, the rest of the Canadian population opposes the manifesto, including the Tories of Canada West, who favour provincial union. Union with the United States ceases to be an important political issue.
  • 1850–The Robinson Treaties are negotiated by William Benjamin Robinson with the Ojibwe nation transferring to the Crown the eastern and northern shores of Lake Huron and the northern shore of Lake Superior.
  • 1851 - The population of Canada West is now numerically superior to that of Canada East. Politicians of Canada West begin to argue for representation by population.
  • 1854An agreement for reciprocal lowering of trade barriers is reached between British North America and the United States. The British North American provinces can now send their natural products (principally grain, timber, and fish) to the United States without tariff, while American fishermen are allowed into British North American fisheries. Lake Michigan and the St. Lawrence River are opened to ships of all signatories.
  • 1854–A law secularizing the clergy reserves is passed; the Anglican and Presbyterian churches retain their endowments.
  • 1855–The American canal at Sault Ste. Marie on the St. Marys River (Michigan-Ontario) opened in May which opened Lake Superior to American and Canadian navigation, and made access to the Red River colony easier.
  • 1858–Canada has become increasingly sectional, with Canada West electing Clear Grit Liberals and Canada East electing Conservatives. A coalition government led by John A. Macdonald and Antoine-Aimé Dorion falls in two days. In the assembly Alexander Galt proposes a federal union of the British North American colonies as a solution to the problem.
  • 1858– The provisional judicial districts of Algoma and Nipissing are created, the first in Northern Ontario.
  • 1859–The Clear Grit Liberals under George Brown propose specific arrangements for a federal union of the two Canadas.
  • 1864–A committee proposed by George Brown to inquire into solutions to the parliamentary deadlock between the Canadas recommends a federal union of the British North American colonies, a solution which is welcomed by all sides. A government of Liberals and Conservatives, the Great Coalition, is formed to pursue this goal. Representatives of the coalition attend the Charlottetown Conference called to discuss union of the maritime colonies and persuade the representatives to endorse the Canadian plan for a broader federal union. A conference in Quebec City draws up the Quebec Resolutions, a plan for this union.
  • 1866–The Westminster Conference endorses the Quebec Resolutions with minor changes.

Canada, Dominion of the British Empire, 1867 to 1930

Dominion of Canada 1867-1982. The Province of Ontario 1867 and after.

Canada, Sovereign Dominion, 1931 to 1982

Independent Canada, 1982 and after

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