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Eastern Ontario

Eastern Ontario (census population 1,786,000 in 2006) is a subregion of Southern Ontario in the Canadianmarker province of Ontariomarker which lies in a wedge-shaped area between the Ottawa River and St. Lawrence Rivermarker. It shares water boundaries with Quebecmarker to the north and New York Statemarker to the east and south, as well as a small land boundary with the Vaudreuil-Soulangesmarker region of Quebec to the east.

It includes the census divisions of Prescott and Russell, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Lanark, Renfrewmarker, Leeds and Grenville, Frontenac, Lennox and Addingtonmarker, and Ottawamarker.

Some sources may also include Hastingsmarker, Prince Edwardmarker, and sometimes even Northumberland in the definition of Eastern Ontario, but others classify them as Central Ontario. Strictly speaking, Eastern Ontario refers to the part of the province that lies east of where Lake Ontariomarker narrows into the St. Lawrence Rivermarker.


Downtown Ottawa

French explorers and fur traders were the first Europeans to pass through this region. Samuel de Champlain, explorer, traversed the Ottawa River in 1615 on his way westward to the Great Lakesmarker. By far the largest city in the region is the recently amalgamated city of Ottawamarker, capital of Canada, which accounts for roughly 60% of Eastern Ontario's population. Kingstonmarker, itself once capital of the Province of Canada, is the other major city in the region outide of the National Capital Regionmarker.

Much of the remainder of the region relies on agriculture and tourism. Heavier reliance on recreation and tourism exists in the more rugged Renfrew county in the northwest of Eastern Ontario.

Of all Ontario's regions, parts of Eastern Ontario are the most heavily influenced by the United Empire Loyalists, American settlers who moved to Upper Canada out of loyalty to the Britishmarker Crown during and after the American Revolutionary War. The Loyalist influence has a presence in the counties of Lennox and Addington, Leeds and Grenville, Frontenac, Lanark, Hastings, and Prince Edward.

In Ottawa, Prescott and Russell, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, and (although declining) Renfrew, Eastern Ontario is home to the largest Franco-Ontarian community within Ontario.

Extensive immigration by Scottish Highlanders from the Highland land clearances also took place around the time of the United Empire Loyalist migration. Large numbers of Irish Catholics, mainly from Corkmarker and surrounding counties also settled in the area in the decades following the war of 1812, the majority of them in or near present-day Ottawa. Many arrived through government backed immigration schemes to settle unoccupied lands and fill labour shortages. Along with the Franco-Ontarians in particular, they made up the majority of canal builders on the large Rideau Canalmarker project and were heavily employed in the area's extensive lumber industry.

Through the last century, newer immigrant groups have added to the cultural mix, mostly in Ottawa itself.


The climate of Eastern Ontario is humid continental with large seasonal variation. Snow and ice are dominant during the winter season. Ottawa receives close to 250cm (100 in) of snowfall over an average winter and snow usually remains on the ground for a couple of months, at minimum.

Winters are long and celebrated in Eastern Ontario. The average temperature in January is -6°C (21 °F).In recent years, there seems to be a trend towards snow free periods, even in mid-winter.However, in the winter months of 2008, there were records levels of snow fall.

Ice storms are also relatively common, especially on lower terrain if compared with other parts of the country. One such large storm caused vast power outages and affected the local economy, known as the 1998 Ice Storm. Winters are more severe and longer along the Ottawa River, particularly in higher terrain of Renfrew Countymarker than further south along the Upper St. Lawrence River shoreline.

Summers are fairly warm and humid in the Ottawa and St. Lawrence valleys, usually lasting a little longer than winter does in duration. The average July maximum temperature is 27 °C (80 °F). Temperatures occasionally exceed 35 °C (95 °F), and during periods of hot weather, high humidity is often an aggravating factor. During August, temperatures occasionally reach into the 40's (100's) with the humidex. Thunderstorms are on occasion severe, causing tree and property damage.

Spring and fall are changeable seasons, prone to extremes in temperature and unpredictable swings in conditions. Average annual precipitation averages around 950mm (37 in.).


Thousand Islands

The eastern section of Eastern Ontario, that is east and south-east of Ottawa, including the towns of Cornwallmarker, Embrunmarker and Hawkesburymarker is generally a flat plain, dotted with some extensive woodlots and boggy marshes, but is primarily farmland. Certain sections here are prone to low lying flooding and spring ice jams, particularly on the banks of the South Nation Rivermarker.

The Laurentian Highlands, which form a small section of the extensive Canadian Shield, cuts through the western section from the Upper Ottawa River valley southeast toward to the St. Lawrence River around Gananoquemarker. Here sedimentary rock can be found folding over the Shield. This is also the portion where the greatest concentration of inland lakes are found. In Renfrew County, this higher terrain is called the 'Madawaska Highlands', after a major river that bisects these hills. Some highland peaks are over 400m higher than the Ottawa River. The picturesque area of the St. Lawrence River bordering New Yorkmarker State is known as the Thousand Islandsmarker region reflected by its numerous small islands. The bulk of the Laurentian Upland is located just to the north of the Ottawa River in adjacent Quebecmarker and covers a vastly larger area within that province.

Along the extreme western edge of Eastern Ontario are a continuation of the Laurentian Highlands, known as the Opeongo Hills, and they contain some of the highest elevations in Southern Ontario. They stretch into the northern portions of Central Ontario, near Algonquin Provincial Parkmarker.

Ottawa itself is at the confluence of the Rideau River and Ottawa River. A series of rugged rapids and waterfalls are found along these rivers in Ottawa. Most of the underlying rock in and around the city of Ottawa is limestone bedrock, also found in abundance farther south around Kingston. Limestone was used during the construction of the Rideau Canalmarker, which connects Kingston and Ottawa by water and was also heavily used as the building blocks for many governmental and other buildings in both cities.

The Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers do not actually converge in Ontario. A small portion of Quebecmarker, Vaudreuil-Soulangesmarker, lies between the Ontario-Quebec border and the river junction. This region has a land border with Ontario, but must cross water to reach any other part of Quebec.


Queens Theological Hall
The region is home to several universities and colleges, including Carleton Universitymarker, Queen's Universitymarker, Royal Military College of Canadamarker, the University of Ottawamarker, Algonquin Collegemarker, La Cité collégialemarker, and St. Lawrence Collegemarker.

Algonquin College has 5 campuses in Ottawamarker, Perth, Pembroke, Hawkesburymarker, and Renfrewmarker.

St. Lawrence College has 3 campuses in Kingstonmarker, Cornwallmarker, and Brockvillemarker.

List of urban areas in Eastern Ontario

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