Ontario County, Ontario

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Ontario County was the name of two historic counties in the Canadian province of Ontario.

Ontario County
Coordinates: 43°55′N 78°56′W / 43.917°N 78.933°W / 43.917; -78.933
Established 1792
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)

Ontario County (1792-1800)[edit]

The original Ontario County existed from 1792 to 1800 as part of the Eastern District, and consisted of the islands in the St. Lawrence River. After 1800, Ontario County was dissolved and the islands were reassigned to the nearest mainland counties:

Ontario County (1852-1973)[edit]

Ontario County
Coordinates: 43°55′N 78°56′W / 43.917°N 78.933°W / 43.917; -78.933
Province  Ontario
Canada West (1852-1867)
Established 1852
Seat Whitby
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)

The second Ontario County (area 514,031 acres (2,080 km2)) was created in 1852 from the East Riding of York County. It was replaced by Regional Municipality of Durham effective January 1, 1974.

Original townships[edit]

  • Brock, area 66,120 acres (268 km2) Surveyed in 1817. Community centres: Cannington, Vroomanton, Pinedale, Sunderland, Wick.
  • Mara, area 62,115 acres (251 km2). Surveyed in part in 1820; the survey was completed in 1836. The Township might have been named in honour of Gertrud Elisabeth Mara, or for the Spanish word for sea. Community centres were: Gamebridge, Brechin, Atherley, Udney and Rathburn.
  • Pickering, area 72,049 acres (292 km2). Opened in 1792 and first called Edinburgh it was renamed after the English town in Yorkshire. Community centres: Pickering, Dunbarton, Green River, Balsam, Claremont, Brougham, Altona.
  • Rama, area 37,769 acres (153 km2). Opened in 1820. Rama is the Spanish name for the branch of a tree. Surveyed in 1834 and 1855. The area was first settled by retired British officers however they ran into difficulties with the Bank of Upper Canada. The Bank sold the land to the Indian Department and the Ojibwa Indians at Orillia were removed to a village built for them in 1838. Community centres: Floral Park, Longford Mills, Cooper's Falls, Washago.
  • Reach area 63,144 acres (256 km2) Opened in 1809 and named after the village in Bedfordshire, England. Community centres: Port Perry, Manchester, Saintfield, Utica.
  • Scott area 49, 291 acres (1.2 km2). Opened in 1820. Believed to be named after Thomas Scott, Chief Justice of Upper Canada from 1806 to 1816. Community centres: Zephyr, Sandford, Leaskdale, Udora.
  • Thorah, area 32,468 acres (131 km2) Opened in 1820 and named form the Hebrew word signifying the inspired Law, the Pentateuch. Community centers: Beaverton.
  • Uxbridge, area 51,969 acres (210 km2) Opened in 1798 and named after the English town. Early settlers included Pennsylvania Quakers. New Yorkers settled in 1806. Community Centres: Uxbridge, Goodwood.
  • Whitby, Area 31,386 acres (127 km2). Opened in 1792 and named for an English seaport. Community centres: Oshawa, Whitby, Brooklin, Ashburn and Myrtle.

The Town of Oshawa was also located in the county.

In 1855 the Town of Whitby was incorporated in part of Whitby Township. Scugog Township was formed from a portion of Reach Township and Cartwright Township in adjoining Northumberland and Durham County in 1856. And in 1858, the Township of East Whitby was formed from the eastern portion of Whitby Township.

A number of villages were also incorporated as separate municipalities in the county after it was created: Port Perry in 1871, Uxbridge in 1872, Cannington in 1878 and Beaverton in 1884. In the twentieth-century, the wartime town of Ajax, located in Pickering Township, was incorporated as an improvement district in 1950. It became a town in 1955. The Village of Pickering was incorporated as a village in 1953.

On January 1, 1974, the portion of Ontario County south of the Trent-Severn Waterway and about half of adjacent Durham County were amalgamated as the Regional Municipality of Durham. The remaining portions of Durham County were transferred to other neighbouring counties, and the portion of Ontario County north of the Trent-Severn Waterway (Rama and Mara Townships) was transferred to Simcoe County. In addition, the part of Pickering Township west of the Rouge River (West Rouge and Port Union) was transferred to the Borough of Scarborough in the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto. At this time Ontario and Durham counties were dissolved.

Whitby served as the "County Town" or county seat and as such was the location for the county offices, courthouse and land registry office. It continues in this role for Durham Region today.

See also[edit]


Source: Province of Ontario -- A History 1615 to 1927 by Jesse Edgar Middleton & Fred Landon, copyright 1927, Dominion Publishing Company, Toronto

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°15′N 79°00′W / 44.250°N 79.000°W / 44.250; -79.000