“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Ontario Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on November 23, 2020

Ontario Coat of Arms, via Wikipedia Commons

 Ontario ranks 38th among provinces and states with markers in this database. Ontario is a province in Canada located in Central Canada. Ontario is some 669 thousand square kilometers in size with a population of around 13.5 million people. The province is divided into 203 counties and municipalities and 36 of them have entries in this database. In Ontario we have discovered historical markers in 110 cities and towns lying in 370 postal delivery areas.

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There are at least 871 historical markers in Ontario, by our count. We have cataloged 866 historical markers and 54 war memorials—each individually presented on 906 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another five historical markers in Ontario that we don’t yet have, and instead show on our Want List. Our correspondents have been finding and adding hundreds of markers a month to the database from all over the world, so next time you visit this page you will probably find that the numbers here have changed.

The first Ontario marker in the database, The British Garrison in London, was added May 13, 2009. It was photographed in London in Middlesex County. The last one added was submitted on October 27, 2020, and titled Tom Thomson 1877-1917. It is in Leith in Grey County. Keeping in mind that the erection date of many markers in the database is not known, the earliest historical marker we know of in Ontario was erected in 1837. It was this one: Pro Patria 1812-1814, and one of our correspondents found it in Kingston in Frontenac County on May 23, 2015.

Ontario Historical Topics
214 • War of 1812
154 • Settlements and Settlers
127 • Waterways and Vessels
125 • Industry and Commerce
100 • Colonial Era
93 • Notable Buildings
77 • Man-Made Features
64 • Churches and Religion
62 • Native Americans
58 • Forts or Castles
    ... and others ...

Ontarians don’t want to forget their War of 1812 history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from Ontario about War of 1812—214 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Settlements and Settlers with 154 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the War of 1812 topic was Hull's Landing 1812, added August 11, 2010. It had been erected in 1958 in Windsor in Essex County. The last one submitted was submitted on May 19, 2020, and titled Churches of South Dundas. It had been erected in Morrisburg in Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Counties. The earliest marker erected with the War of 1812 topic that we have listed was erected in 1837. It is Pro Patria 1812-1814, found in Kingston in Frontenac County on May 23, 2015.

What is the most interesting historical marker in Ontario? What we know is that Little Norway is the most viewed entry in the database from Ontario since it was added in 2009. It is located in Toronto in Toronto County. This year so far, the most viewed Ontarian entry is also located in Toronto. It is Mary Ann Shadd Cary.

Counties, municipalities, Cities and Towns

The Ontario county or municipality with the most historical markers listed in this database is the Regional Municipality of Niagara, with 239 of them. It is followed by Leeds and Grenville United Counties with 191 markers. The Niagara Falls area of the Regional Municipality of Niagara has the highest number of markers within its limits, 72. In Leeds and Grenville United Counties the area with the most markers, 111, is Brockville.

Historical Markers in These
Ontario Counties and municipalities
239 • Regional Niagara
191 • Leeds and Grenville United Counties
72 • Ottawa Division
43 • Essex County
40 • Chatham-Kent Division
37 • Lanark County
35 • Frontenac County
28 • Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Counties
26 • Thunder Bay District
25 • Middlesex County
    ... and others ...

Checking the database for the city or town in Ontario with the most markers we again find Brockville at the top of the list with 111 markers in or near it. And Niagara Falls also shows up again in next place, with 72 markers. For the postal code with the most markers it’s L0S 1J0 at the top of the list with 72 markers in its delivery area. It is followed by postal code L0S 1L0 with 22 markers.

Historical Markers Near These
Ontario Cities and Towns
111 • Brockville
72 • Niagara Falls
72 • Ottawa
63 • Niagara-on-the-Lake
38 • St. Catharines
35 • Kingston
27 • Queenston
27 • Smiths Falls
26 • Amherstburg
23 • London
    ... and others ...

Getting back to the Regional Municipality of Niagara, the first marker added to the database from there, Niagara on the Lake Historical District, was added November 15, 2009. in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The last one submitted was uploaded on September 25, 2019, and is titled Township of Niagara War Memorial, in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The earliest marker erected in the Regional Municipality of Niagara that we have listed was erected in 1856. It was Brock's Monument, found in Queenston on November 28, 2011.

Latest entry from Ontario. Click to go there
By Doreen Thomson, July 15, 2016
Latest Entry from Ontario
“Tom Thomson 1877-1917”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Brockville. The first: Ogle Robert Gowan, 1803-1876, was added May 20, 2015. The last: Centennial of Confederation added on March 23, 2020. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1921: Brockville Recorder, added on March 21, 2020.

Who Puts Up Historical Markers?

Ontario Heritage Trust is currently in charge of the familiar blue and gold official historical markers found all over the province. You will also find official markers erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board, a predecessor. We have 224 of their markers in the database.

In addition, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada has also erected numerous historical markers in Ontario, and we have 333 of their Ontario markers in the database. Also, a number of counties and municipalities have erected historical markers on their streets and roads and within their public areas, as have some cities and towns.

Latest entry from Ontario. Click to go there
By Kevin Craft, May 19, 2017
A Ontario Heritage Trust Historical Marker

Then there are federal government agencies that put up historical markers, especially in national parks and other areas under their jurisdiction. And finally, there are the numerous public and private organizations and individuals that erect markers. Some do this as a continual endeavor, and others once in a while, to mark something, someone, or someplace they find important or interesting. When one of our correspondents comes across one that satisfies our criteria, we add it to the database.

Off the Beaten Path

You’ll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of Ontario have been marked with history. Check out Hamilton Division, Grey County and Elgin County. We've only found one historical marker in each. Visiting one or more of these parts of Ontario might make for a pleasant road trip, and maybe you’ll discover more historical markers while you’re there. If you do, perhaps you’ll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

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Nov. 23, 2020