4th Jan, 2013

Ontario: How it got its name

The province of Ontario Canada is an enormous 1,070,000 square kilometers, roughly 1,600 km wide and 1,600 km deep (1,000 miles x 1,000 miles).

Samuel Champlain visited Ontario (which was then called New France) in 1632 and jotted Lake Ontario down on his map as Lac St. Louis. In 1656 Nicolas Sanson marked the lake on a map as Ontario, ou Lac de St. Louys. A few years later, Rene de Brehant de Glinee called it Lac Ontario, and after that Louis Jolliet called it Lac Frontenac ou Ontario. Lasalle also called it Lac Frontenac in 1684, both men honouring the colonial governor Louis de Buade, Comte de Palluau et de Frontenac, governor of New France 1672-1682 and 1689-1698.

In 1683, Father Louis Hennepin reported that the name Ontario meant “beautiful lake.” He also reported that Niagara Falls was 600 feet high, when in fact it is only 176 feet. It seems he got it wrong about Lake Ontario too: beauty in geogreaphical features has never been a factor in Aboriginal naming. In one or more Iroquioan languages such as Mohawk, Seneca or Huron, the name Ontario means simply “a large body of water.”


The province was officially named in 1867, and was named after Lake Ontario, one of the five Great Lakes.

This brief history lesson is brought to you by D. W. Howard Realty, specializing in lakefront homes for sale in Fort Erie and surrounding area.


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