Ontario in History

Historical Events

  • 1786-06-29 Alexander Macdonell and over five hundred Roman Catholic highlanders leave Scotland to settle in Glengarry County, Ontario
  • 1813-06-06 US invasion of Canada halted at Stoney Creek (Ontario)
  • 1814-07-05 Americans defeat British and Canadians at Chippewa, Ontario
  • 1822-07-08 Chippewas turn over huge tract of land in Ontario to the United Kingdom
  • 1826-08-19 Canada Co. chartered to colonize Upper Canada (Ontario)
  • 1832-05-30 The Rideau Canal in eastern Ontario is opened. Oldest continuously operated canal system in North America.
  • 1838-01-08 Rebellion at Amherstburg, Ontario breaks out
  • 1838-03-03 Rebellion at Pelee Island, Ontario, Canada
  • 1841-06-14 1st Canadian parliament opens in Kingston, Ontario
  • 1841-10-16 Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, is chartered

Historic Publication

1853-03-24 Anti-slavery newspaper "The Provincial Freeman" first published in Windsor, Ontario, edited by Samuel Ringgold Ward and Mary Ann Shadd Cary, first black woman publisher in North America

Meeting of Interest

1858-04-14 Abolitionist John Brown meets Harriet Tubman at a Constitutional Convention convened in Chatham, Ontario

  • 1866-06-01 Renegade Irish Fenians from US invade Fort Erie, Ontario

Historic Event

1867-07-01 The Dominion of Canada is formed, comprising the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario & Quebec, with John A. Macdonald serving as the first Prime Minister

  • 1867-09-28 Toronto becomes capital of Ontario
  • 1867-12-27 Ontario & Quebec legislatures hold 1st meeting
  • 1868-03-27 The Lake Ontario Shore Railroad Company is organized in Oswego, New York.
  • 1874-07-12 Ontario Agricultural College founded
  • 1875-10-16 1st Quebec vs Ontario football game, Ontario wins

Murder of Interest

1880-02-04 "Black Donnelly" massacre in Biddulph, Ontario, Canada: Irish immigrants James (63), Johannah (56), John (32), Thomas (25) and Bridget (21) Donnelly murdered at home by members of the Vigilance Committee

  • 1881-05-24 Overloaded Canadian river ferry "Princess Victoria" sinks near London, Ontario, 180 die
  • 1883-01-04 Ontario Rugby Football Union (forerunner of CFL) forms
  • 1883-01-06 Ontario Rugby Football Union forms
  • 1884-01-04 Last sighting of an eastern cougar (Ontario)
  • 1885-11-12 Montreal & Britannia Football Clubs (QRFU) defeat Ontario Combined Team (ORFU) 3-0 in CRFU Championship game
  • 1891-06-29 Street railway in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, commences operation
  • 1895-03-09 Stanley Cup, Victoria Rink, Montreal, Quebec: Montreal Victorias clinches trophy as Montreal HC beats Queens University (Kingston, Ontario), 5-1
  • 1903-03-14 Stanley Cup, Dey's Arena, Ottawa, Ontario: Ottawa HC beats Rat Portage Thisles, 4-2 for a 2-0 challenge series sweep
  • 1903-06-12 Niagara Falls, Ontario incorporated as a city
  • 1915-07-07 A Great Gorge and International Railway trolley with an extreme overload of 157 passengers crashes near Queenston, Ontario, killing 15

Sports History

1932-07-04 Don Bradman scores a North American record 260 v Western Ontario in Guelph during Australian cricket team's Goodwill Tour of North America

  • 1934-05-28 Near Callander, Ontario, the Dionne quintuplets are born to Olivia and Elzire Dionne, later becoming the first quintuplets to survive infancy
  • 1935-06-03 One thousand unemployed Canadian workers board freight cars in Vancouver, British Columbia, beginning a protest trek to Ottawa, Ontario
  • 1936-01-06 Barbara Hanley becomes Canada's 1st woman mayor in Webbwood, Ontario
  • 1946-09-22 Canadian woman Evelyn Dick charged with butchering her husband in Hamilton, Ontario
  • 1952-07-01 The first NASCAR Grand National event is run outside of the US with Buddy Shuman winning the 200-lap race at Stamford Park, Ontario, Canada
  • 1957-10-04 Avro Arrow roll-out ceremony at Avro Canada plant in Malton, Ontario
  • 1961-08-08 Ham Tigercats (CFL) beat Buff Bills (NFL) 38-21 in Hamilton, Ontario
  • 1967-07-01 Bobby Unser wins both races at Mosport, Ontario, Canada, the first Champ Car races ever run outside the United States
  • 1972-09-03 Jerry Grant runs the first official 200mph qualifying lap in Champ Car history, posting a lap of 201.414mph around Ontario Motor Speedway
  • 1974-04-06 200,000 attend rock concert "California Jam" at the Ontario Motor Speedway in Ontario, California; line-up includes Earth, Wind & Fire; Black Sabbath; Deep Purple; and Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  • 1977-02-01 Blizzard in upstate New York and Southern Ontario claims 23 lives
  • 1978-03-18 250,000 attend rock concert California Jam II in Ontario, California
  • 1979-11-10 Train detrailment in Mississauga, Ontario; a 106 car train derails causing the evacuation of 200,000 people
  • 1980-09-01 Canadian one-legged distance runner Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope ends in Thunder Bay, Ontario with Fox unable to continue because of illness
  • 1985-05-31 Tornado outbreak in the United States and Canada sees 41 tornadoes hit Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario, leaving 90 dead
  • 1995-04-29 Longest sausage ever, at 28.77 miles, made in Kitchener, Ontario
  • 1996-06-30 Caroline Frolic (Miss Ontario), crowned Miss Renaissance USA
  • 1997-03-01 Canadian Elvis Stojko hits the first quad-triple combination jump in the history of figure-skating competition to win the Championship Series final in Hamilton, Ontario
  • 1997-07-22 The second Blue Water Bridge opens between Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario
  • 1998-01-05 Ice storm knocks out electricity in Quebec & Ontario
  • 2005-08-19 A series of strong storms lashes Southern Ontario spawning several tornadoes as well as creating extreme flash flooding within the city of Toronto and its surrounding communities. In Toronto, it is also dubbed as the Toronto Supercell.
  • 2006-04-08 Shedden massacre: The bodies of eight men, all shot to death, are found in a field in Ontario, Canada. The murders are soon linked to the Bandidos motorcycle gang.
  • 2006-10-24 Justice Rutherford of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice struck down the "motive clause", an important part of the Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act
  • 2009-03-04 U.S. Steel announce the closure of the Stelco Lake Erie Works in Nanticoke, Ontario due to the increasingly worsening effects of the global economic slowdown
  • 2011-08-23 5.8 earthquake occurs in Mineral, Virginia felt as far north as Ontario and as far south as Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2011-09-15 Ford Motor Company closes St. Thomas Assembly automobile plant in Southwold, Ontario, after 44 years resulting in the loss of roughly 1,400 jobs

Music History

2012-02-06 Canadian singer Gordon Lightfoot is presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

  • 2012-02-26 Train derailment kills 3 and injures 45 in Burlington, Ontario

Famous Birthdays

Birthdays 1 - 100 of 550

  • 1774-09-26 Johnny Appleseed [John Chapman], American pioneer nurseryman (introduced apple trees to Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois), born in Leominster, Massachusetts (d. 1845)
  • 1796-10-04 John Richardson, Canadian writer (Wacousta, or the prophecy), born in Queenston, Ontario, Canada (d. 1852)
  • 1831-05-01 Emily Stowe, Canadian suffragist and first woman licensed to practise medicine in Canada, born in Norwich Township, Oxford County, Ontario (d. 1903)
  • 1838-09-16 James J. Hill, Canadian-American railroad entrepreneur (Great Northern Railroad), born in Eramosa Township, Ontario (d. 1916)
  • 1839-08-15 Hugh Archibald Clarke, Canadian organist, composer, and educator (The Music of The Spheres), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1927)

Elijah McCoyElijah McCoy (1844-1929)

1844-05-02 Canadian-American inventor of African descent, notable for his 57 US patents (lubrication of steam engines), born in Colchester, Ontario

  • 1854-06-08 Douglas Colin Cameron, Canadian politician, born in Hawkesbury, Ontario (d. 1921)
  • 1859-01-19 Alice Eastwood, botanist (Handbook of Trees of California), born in Toronto, Ontario

James NaismithJames Naismith (1861-1939)

1861-11-06 Canadian-American physical educator and inventor (basketball, football helmet), born in Almonte, Ontario

  • 1862-06-27 May Irwin, Canadian comedienne and singer ("Hot Time in the Old Town"), born in Whitby, Ontario, Canada (d. 1938)
  • 1863-05-14 John Charles Fields, Canadian mathematician and founder of the Fields Medal, born in Hamilton, Ontario (d. 1932)

Herbert Henry DowHerbert Henry Dow (1866-1930)

1866-02-26 American chemical industrialist (Dow Chemical), born in Ontario, Canada

  • 1867-06-28 William Courtleigh, Canadian actor (The Birth of Character, Ashes, The Nightingale), born in Guelph, Ontario (d. 1930)
  • 1868-09-17 James Alexander Calder, Canadian politician, born in Oxford County, Ontario (d. 1956)

Marie DresslerMarie Dressler (1868-1934)

1868-11-09 Canadian-American actress (Dinner at 8, Min and Bill), born in Cobourg, Ontario

  • 1871-01-30 Wilfred Lucas, Canadian actor (Pardon Us, Chump at Oxford), born in Ontario, Canada (d. 1940)
  • 1871-05-19 Reginald Aldworth Daly, Napanee Ontario, Canadian-American Geologist who independently developed the theory of magmatic stopping

John McCraeJohn McCrae (1872-1918)

1872-11-30 Canadian physician, soldier and poet (In Flanders Fields), born in Guelph, Ontario

  • 1873-09-20 Sidney Olcott, Canadian film director (Ben Hur), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1949)

Arthur MeighenArthur Meighen (1874-1960)

1874-06-16 9th Prime Minister of Canada (C: 1920-21, 1926), born in Anderson, Ontario

Mackenzie KingMackenzie King (1874-1950)

1874-12-17 10th Prime Minister of Canada (1921-30, and 1935-48), born in Berlin, Ontario

  • 1875-11-10 Maude Eburne, Canadian actress (Ladies They Talk About, Guardsman), born in Bronte-on-the-Lake, Ontario (d. 1960)
  • 1875-12-05 Arthur Currie, Canadian soldier (fought in WWI), born in Napperton, Ontario (d. 1933)
  • 1876-12-09 Berton Churchill, Canadian-American actor (I'm Nobody's Sweetheart Now), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1940)
  • 1878-12-31 Elizabeth Arden, Canadian businesswoman, born in Woodbridge, Ontario (d. 1966)
  • 1879-05-25 William Maxwell Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook, Canadian English newspaper publisher (Daily Express), born in Maple, Ontario (d. 1964)
  • 1879-07-27 Jack Laviolette, Canadian ice hockey player, born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada (d. 1960)
  • 1880-04-13 Charles Christie, Canadian film studio owner, born in London, Ontario, Canada (d. 1955)

Tommy BurnsTommy Burns (1881-1955)

1881-06-17 Canadian boxer, born in Hanover, Ontario

  • 1881-11-04 Gena Branscombe, Canadian pianist and composer, born in Picton, Ontario (d. 1977)
  • 1882-07-16 Edward Earle, Canadian actor (Charlie Chan-Meeting at Midnight), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1972)
  • 1882-10-11 R. Nathaniel Dett, Canadian-American pianist, organist, choral director, and composer (In The Bottoms), born in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada (d. 1943)
  • 1883-04-06 Walter Huston, Canadian actor (Maltese Falcon, Treasure of Sierra Madre), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1950)
  • 1883-11-19 Edward "Ned" Sparks, Canadian actor (42nd Street, Imitation of Life), born in Guelph, Ontario (d. 1957)

Davidson BlackDavidson Black (1884-1934)

1884-07-25 Canadian paleoanthropologist and doctor of anatomy who identified "Peking Man", born in Toronto, Ontario

  • 1884-09-26 J. P. Bickell, Canadian businessman and sports team owner (Toronto Maple Leafs), born in Molesworth, Ontario, Canada (d. 1951)
  • 1886-01-02 Florence Lawrence, Canadian actress (Lady Helen's Escapade), born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (d. 1938)

Vincent MasseyVincent Massey (1887-1967)

1887-02-20 Canadian diplomat and 1st Canadian-born Governor General of Canada (1952-59), born in Toronto, Ontario

  • 1887-06-04 Tom Longboat, Canadian athlete (Boston Marathon 1907 record time 2:24:24), born in Six Nations Reserve Brantford, Ontario (d. 1949)
  • 1887-06-21 Norman L. Bowen, Canadian petrologist, born in Kingston, Ontario, Canada (d. 1956)
  • 1887-10-31 Newsy Lalonde, Canadian ice hockey (Montreal Canadiens) and lacrosse player, born in Cornwall, Ontario (d. 1970)

Harry CrerarHarry Crerar (1888-1965)

1888-04-28 Canadian WWI and WWII general (First Canadian Army), born in Hamilton, Ontario

  • 1889-10-13 Douglass Dumbrille, Canadian actor (Mr Deed Goes to Town), born in Hamilton, Ontario (d. 1974)
  • 1890-01-01 Florence Lawrence, Canadian silent screen actress (Confidence), born in Hamilton, Ontario (d. 1938)
  • 1890-03-03 Norman Bethune, Canadian doctor, communist and humanitarian (Spanish Civil War, Second Sino-Japanese War), born in Gravenhurst, Ontario (d. 1939)
  • 1890-04-18 James Rennie, Canadian actor (Lash, Little Damozel), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1965)
  • 1890-12-04 Jack Darragh, Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame right wing (Stanley Cup 1911, 20-21, 23; Ottawa Senators), born in Ottawa, Ontario (d. 1924)

Frederick BantingFrederick Banting (1891-1941)

1891-11-14 Canadian physician, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, born in Alliston, Ontario

Cy DennenyCy Denneny (1891-1970)

1891-12-23 Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame left wing (NHL leading scorer 1923-24), born in Farran's Point, Ontario

Mary PickfordMary Pickford (1892-1979)

1892-04-08 Canadian actress (Poor Little Rich Girl, Suds, Secrets), born in Toronto, Ontario

  • 1892-07-19 Dick Irvin, Canadian ice hockey player and coach (Chicago Black Hawks), born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (d. 1957)
  • 1892-08-02 Jack L Warner [Jacob Warner], Canadian-American film executive and president of the Warner Bros. Studios, born in London, Ontario, Canada (d. 1978)
  • 1892-11-20 James Collip, Canadian biochemist and physiologist (insulin), born in Belleville, Ontario (d. 1965)
  • 1893-05-07 Frank J. Selke, Canadian Hockey HOF executive (9 x Stanley Cup Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens), born in Berlin, Ontario (d. 1985)

Billy BishopBilly Bishop (1894-1956)

1894-02-08 Canadian First World War flying ace, born in Owen Sound, Ontario

  • 1894-05-29 Beatrice Lillie, Canadian comedian and actress (Around World in 80 Days), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1989)
  • 1894-06-05 Roy Thomson, 1st Baron Thomson of Fleet, Canadian-English publisher, born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1976)

George HainsworthGeorge Hainsworth (1895-1950)

1895-06-26 Canadian ice hockey goaltender (first NHL goaltender to record 20 shutouts in one season; Montreal Canadiens), born in Toronto, Ontario

John DiefenbakerJohn Diefenbaker (1895-1979)

1895-09-18 13th Prime Minister of Canada (Conservative: 1957-63), born in Neustadt, Ontario

  • 1896-03-08 Charlotte Whitton, Canadian politician, Mayor of Ottawa (1951-56), born in Renfrew, Ontario (d. 1975)
  • 1896-08-18 Jack Pickford, Canadian-American actor (The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1933)
  • 1896-08-30 Raymond Massey, Canadian actor (Abe Lincoln In Illinois; Dr. Kildare (TV series)), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1983)
  • 1896-12-15 Margaret Bannerman, Canadian actress (Elopement), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1976)

Lester B. PearsonLester B. Pearson (1897-1972)

1897-04-23 14th Canadian Prime Minister (1963-68) (Nobel Peace Prize 1957), born in Toronto, Ontario

  • 1897-06-29 Fulgence Charpentier, French Canadian journalist, born in Sainte-Anne-de-Prescott, Ontario, Canada (d. 2001)
  • 1898-05-17 A. J. Casson, Canadian painter (member of Group of Seven), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1992)
  • 1898-11-08 Marie Prevost, Canadian actress (The Marriage Circle, The Racket), born in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada (d. 1937)
  • 1900-02-20 Graham Spry, Canadian radio pioneer, born in St Thomas, Ontario (d. 1983)
  • 1900-05-24 Lionel Conacher, Canadian Hockey HOF defenceman (Stanley Cup 1934 Chicago Black Hawks, 1935 Montreal Maroons) and politician (MP Trinity), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1954)
  • 1902-06-19 Guy Lombardo, Canadian-American orchestra leader (Auld Lang Syne), born in London, Ontario, Canada (d. 1977)

Howie MorenzHowie Morenz (1902-1937)

1902-09-21 Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame center (Montreal Canadiens, 3-time Stanley Cup winner), born in Mitchell, Ontario

  • 1902-10-22 Frank Spedding, Canadian Chemist whose uranium extraction process helped make possible the first atomic bomb, born in Hamilton, Ontario
  • 1902-11-21 Foster Hewitt, Canadian radio broadcaster (Hockey Night in Canada), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1985)
  • 1903-04-02 Lionel Chevrier, Canadian politician (Canadian Member of Parliament), born in Cornwall, Ontario (d. 1987)
  • 1903-07-16 Carmen Lombardo, Canadian saxophonist, singer, and songwriter (Royal Canadians - "Coquette"; "Seems Like Old Times"), born in London, Ontario (d. 1971)
  • 1904-06-26 Frank Scott Hogg, Canadian astronomer, born in Preston, Ontario (d. 1951)
  • 1905-10-26 George Flahiff, Canadian Cardinal, born in Paris, Ontario, Canada (d. 1989)
  • 1906-03-28 Joseph Wright Jr., Canadian oarsman (Olympic gold 1928), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1981)
  • 1906-12-10 Walter Zinn, Canadian-American nuclear physicist (invented the breeder reactor), born in Kitchener, Ontario (d. 2000)
  • 1907-01-16 Alexander Knox, Canadian actor and author (Gorky Park, 2 of a Kind), born in Strathroy, Ontario, Canada (d. 1995)

John Kenneth GalbraithJohn Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006)

1908-10-15 Canadian-American economist and writer (Affluent Society - Sidney Hillman Award, 1958), born in Iona Station, Ontario

  • 1908-10-24 John Tuzo Wilson, Canadian geologist (contributions to plate tectonics), born in Ottawa, Ontario (d. 1993)

Bronko NagurskiBronko Nagurski (1908-1990)

1908-11-03 Canadian-American College and Pro Football Hall of Fame fullback (Chicago Bears), born in Rainy River, Ontario

  • 1909-02-01 George Beverly Shea, Canadian-American Grammy Award-winning gospel singer (Billy Graham Crusades, 1947-2013), born in Winchester, Ontario (d. 2013)
  • 1909-05-28 Red Horner, Canadian hockey player (Toronto Maple Leafs), born in Lynden, Ontario, Canada (d. 2005)
  • 1909-06-17 Ralph E. Winters, Canadian film editor, born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 2004)
  • 1909-10-19 Robert Beatty, Canadian actor (2001: A Space Odyssey, Where Eagles Dare), born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (d. 1992)
  • 1910-06-21 Charles Jones, composer, born in Tamworth, Ontario, Canada (d. 1997)
  • 1911-07-18 Hume Cronyn, Canadian stage and screen Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor (Lifeboat; Cocoon; To Dance with the White Dog), and screenwriter, born in London, Ontario (d. 2003)
  • 1911-09-18 Syd Howe, Canadian Hockey HOF left wing (Stanley Cup 1936, 37, 43 Detroit Red Wings), born in Ottawa, Ontario (d. 1976)
  • 1912-03-27 Reuel Lahmer, Canadian-American organist and composer ("It Is Good To Give Thanks"), born in Maple, Ontario
  • 1912-05-26 Jay Silverheels [Harold J. Smith], Canadian actor (The Lone Ranger, Key Largo), born in Ontario, Canada (d. 1980)
  • 1912-08-21 Toe Blake, Canadian Hockey HOF left wing (Stanley Cup 1935 Montreal Maroons; 1944, 46 Montreal Canadiens) and coach (Stanley Cup 1956-60, 1965-66, 68 Montreal Canadiens), born in Victoria Mines, Ontario (d. 1995)
  • 1913-03-11 John Jacob Weinzweig, Canadian composer (The Enchanted Hill; Red Ear Of Corn), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 2006)
  • 1913-08-28 Robertson Davies, Canadian novelist essayist/dramatist, born in Thamesville, Ontario (d. 1995)

Elizabeth SmartElizabeth Smart (1913-1986)

1913-12-27 Canadian author (By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept), born in Ottawa, Ontario

  • 1913-12-28 Lou Jacobi, Canadian comedian (Dean Martin Show, Melba), born in Toronto, Ontario
  • 1914-07-10 Joe Shuster, Canadian-American cartoonist (co-creator, with Jerry Siegel, of "Superman"), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1992)
  • 1914-08-12 Ruth Lowe, Canadian pianist and composer ("I'll Never Smile Again"), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1981)
  • 1916-06-17 Ted Atkinson, American jockey (US Champion 1944, 46), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 2005)

Famous Weddings

Bobby Orr

1973-09-08 Canadian ice hockey superstar Bobby Orr (25) weds American speech therapist Peggy Wood at a secret ceremony in Ontario, Canada

  • 2004-07-24 Former MSNBC news anchor Ashleigh Banfield (36) weds real estate financier Howard Gould (31) in Kenora, Ontario

Famous Deaths

  • 1845-03-18 Johnny Appleseed [John Chapman], American pioneer nurseryman (introduced apple trees to Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois), dies at 70
  • 1982-10-18 John Robarts, Canadian politician, Premier of Ontario (b. 1917)