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Ontario is a city located in San Bernardino Countymarker, Californiamarker, United Statesmarker. As of the 2000 Census, the city had a total population of 170,373. It is the home of LA/Ontario International Airportmarker and the Ontario Millsmarker. It is also the former home of the Ontario Motor Speedwaymarker. It takes its name from the Ontario Model Colony development established in 1882 by Canadian engineers George Chaffey and William Chaffey and Charles Frankish [often discredited or not recognized for the role he played in the development of the city itself], who named the settlement after their home province of Ontariomarker, Canadamarker.


The area that is now Ontario was part of the lands used for hunting and foraging by the semi-nomadic Tongva Serrano (Gabrieleño) Indians, who were known to roam as far south as the western San Bernardino Mountains. At the time of Mexican and later of North American occupation, active Native American settlements were scattered across the entire valley. Remains of a Serrano village were discovered in the neighboring foothills of the present-day city of Claremontmarker. Juan Bautista de Anza friend of the land owner of rancho Cucamonga [located at Township 1 South Range 7 West], Tiburcio Tapia, leaving him the assistance of the Cahuilla Indians from Anza, whom were under no control of any Spanish establishments. Other than the street and middle school named after De Anza, the only other artifact representing this expedition of De Anza and the Cahullia Tribe is a stucture (still standing at 1007 East Main Street in the city's current Quiet Home Acquisition Project Area) and is not currently recognized for its significance. Following the 1819 establishment of San Bernardino Asistenciamarker, which may have served as an outpost of the San Gabrielmarker mission, it became part of a large, vaguely identified area called "San Antonio".In 1826, Jedediah Smith passed through what is now Upland on the first overland journey to the West coast of North America via the National Old Trails Highway (present-day Foothill Blvd).
Looking north on Euclid Ave., Ontario, 1885

The 1834 secularization of California land holdings resulted in the land's transferral to private hands. In 1881, the Chaffey brothers purchased the land (which at that time also included the present-day city of Uplandmarker) and the water rights to it. They engineered a drainage system channeling water from the foothills of Mount Baldy down to the flatter lands below that performed the dual functions of allowing farmers to water their crops and preventing the floods that periodically afflict them. They also created the main thoroughfare of Euclid Avenue (California Highway 83), with its distinctive wide lanes and grassy median. The new "Model Colony" (called so because it offered the perfect balance between agriculture and the urban comforts of schools, churches, and commerce) was originally conceived as a dry town, early deeds containing clauses forbidding the manufacture or sale of alcoholic beverages within the town.

Ontario attracted farmers (primarily citrus) and ailing Easterners seeking a drier climate. To impress visitors and potential settlers with the "abundance" of water in Ontario, a fountain was placed at the Southern Pacific railway station. It was turned on when passenger trains were approaching and frugally turned off again after their departure. The original "Chaffey fountain," a simple spigot surrounded by a ring of white stones, was later replaced by the more ornate "Frankish Fountain," an Art Nouveau creation now located outside the Ontario Museum of History and Art.

Agriculture was vital to the early economy, and many street names recall this legacy. The Sunkist plant also remains as a living vestige of the citrus era. The Chaffey brothers left to found the settlements of Mildura, Australiamarker and Renmark, Australia which met with varying success. Charles Frankish continued their work at Ontario.

Mining engineer John Tays refined the design of the novel "mule car," used from 1887 for public transportation on Euclid Avenue to 24th Street. At that point, the two mules were loaded onto a platform at the rear of the car and allowed to ride, as gravity propelled the trolley back down the avenue to the downtown Ontario terminus. Soon replaced by an electric streetcar, the mule car is commemorated by a replica in an enclosure south of C Street on the Euclid Avenue median.

Ontario was incorporated as a city in 1891, and North Ontario broke away in 1906, calling itself Uplandmarker. Ontario grew at an astronomical rate, increasing 10 times in the next half a century. The population of 20,000 in the 1960s again grew 10 times more by the year 2007. Ontario was viewed as an "Iowa under Palm trees," with a solid Midwestern/Mid-American foundation, but it had a large German and Swiss community. Tens of thousands of European immigrants came to work in agriculture, and in the early 1900s the first Filipinos and Japanese farm laborers arrived, later to display nursery ownership skills.

Ontario has over two centuries of Hispanic residents from the Californio period of Spanish colonial and Mexican rule in the 1840s, but the first wave of Mexican settlers was in the 1880s brought as workers in the railroad industry (see traquero) and another wave from the Mexican Revolution of the 1910s. The first youth gangs formed in Ontario in the 1940s from the vestiges of the farmworking Mexican American community that came to work in Ontario's citrus and olive groves. By the 1950s, the gang Onterio Varrio Sur (the South Side or Mission Boulevard) had established themselves in defense of the social oppression faced from the town's political scandals, and by the 1980s, some of its members rose to prominent positions in the Mexican Mafia. Mexican Americans resided in the city's poorer southern side facing State Route 60 and Chinomarker.


In the years following Ontario's founding, the economy was driven by its reputation as a health resort. Shortly thereafter, citrus farmers began taking advantage of Ontario's rocky soil to plant lemon and orange groves. Agricultural opportunities also attracted vintners and olive growers. The Graber Olive House, which continues to produce olives, is a city historical landmark and one of the oldest institutions in Ontario. Dairy farming is also prevalent, as it continues to be in neighboring Chinomarker.

A major pre-war industry was the city's General Electric plant that produced clothing irons. During and after World War II, Ontario experienced a housing boom common to many suburbs. The expansion of the Southern California defense industry attracted many settlers to the city.

Today, Ontario still has a manufacturing industry, the most notable of which is the Maglite corporation, which produces flashlights there. However, manufacturing has waned, and today Ontario's economy is dominated by service industries and warehousing. Much of southern Ontario still contains dairy farms and other agricultural farms. However, the area is currently under planning to be developed into a mixed-use area of residential homes, industrial and business parks, and town centers, collectively known as the New Model Colony.

According to the City's 2008 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 LA-ONT Airport 7,690
2 United Parcel Service (UPS) 3,500
3 Pro & Sons, Inc. 1,575
4 City of Ontario 1,101
5 U.S. Merchants Financial Group 1,000
6 Mag Instrument 900
7 CVB Financial Corp 719
8 ICEE Company 700
9 Marriott 624
10 Toyota 530

The Citizens Business Bank Arenamarker is a sports arena which opened in late 2008. It is owned by Ontario, but is operated by Anschutz Entertainment Group. It is an 11,000-seat multi-purpose arena, and is home to the Ontario Reign, a team in the ECHL. It is the largest enclosed arena in the Inland Empiremarker.


Since 1959, Ontario has placed three-dimensional scenes from the life of Jesus on the median of Euclid Avenue during the Christmas season. The scenes, featuring statues by the sculptor Rudolpho Vargas, were challenged in the 1998 as a violation of church-state separation under the California Constitution by atheist resident Patrick Greene, but the dispute was resolved when private organizations began funding the storage and labor involved in the set-up and maintenance of the scenery in its entirety.The All-States Picnic, an Independence Day celebration, began in 1939 to recognize the varied origins of the city's residents. Picnic tables lined the median of Euclid Avenue from Hawthorne to E Street, with signs for each of the country's 48 states. The picnic was suspended during World War II, but when it resumed in 1948, it attracted 120,000 people. A 1941 Ripley's Believe It or Not! cartoon listed Ontario's picnic table as the "world's longest." As native Californians came to outnumber the out-of-state-born, the celebration waned in popularity until it was discontinued in 1981. It was revived in 1991 as a celebration of civic pride.


The Ontario City Library following its 2006 reopening after extensive remodeling

Ontario is located at 34°3'10" North, 117°37'40" West (34.052811, -117.627861).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 129.1 km² (49.9 mi²). Of that, 128.9 km² (49.8 mi²) is land and 0.2 km² (0.1 mi²) is water. The total area is 0.14% water.



As of the census of 2000, there were 158,007 people, 43,525 households, and 34,689 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,225.5/km² (3,173.9/mi²). There were 45,182 housing units at an average density of 350.4/km² (907.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 47.83% White, 7.51% African American, 1.06% Native American, 3.88% Asian, 0.37% Pacific Islander, 34.05% from other races and 5.30% were from two or more races. 59.88% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 43,525 households out of which 49.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.9% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.3% were non-families. 15.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.60 and the average family size was 3.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 34.4% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 32.4% from 25 to 44, 16.1% from 45 to 64, and 5.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 100.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $42,452, and the median income for a family was $44,031. Males had a median income of $31,664 versus $26,069 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,244. 15.5% of the population and 12.2% of families were below the poverty line. 19.1% of those under the age of 18 and 7.6% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.


Local Government

The city is governed by a five member council, Mayor, Paul S. Leon, who was elected as Mayor in 2005, re-elected in November, 2006 and is the first Hispanic to serve in that position in the history of Ontario, Mayor pro tem Jim Bowman, Alan Wapner, Debra Dorst-Porada and Sheila Mautz.

According to the city’s most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city’s various funds had $399.4 million in Revenues, $305.3 million in expenditures, $1,606.0 million in total assets, $317.6 million in total liabilities, and $412.4 million in cash and investments.

The structure of the management and coordination of city services is:

City Department Director
City Manager Gregory C. Devereaux
Deputy City Manager Al C. Boling
City Attorney John E. Brown
Administrative Services / Finance Director Grant D. Yee
Development Director Otto Kroutil
Public Works / Community Serivces Director Kenneth L Jeske
Fire Chief Christopher Hughes
Police Chief James F. Doyle
Housing and Neighborhood Reviatlization Director Brent D. Schultz
Economic Development Director Mary Jane Olhasso
Redevelopment Director James R. Strodtbeck


In the state legislature Ontario is located in the 32nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Gloria Negrete McLeod, and in the 61st Assembly District, represented by Democrat Nell Soto. Federally, Ontario is located in California's 43rd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +13 and is represented by Democrat Joe Baca.


Ontario has 25 public elementary schools, 6 public middle schools and 5 public high schools under the combined oversight of four school districts. There are also several private schools throughout the city as well as two private military schools. Ontario also has 9 trade schools. Providence Christian Collegemarker, a 4-year Christian liberal arts college, opened in 2005. The University of La Verne College of Law and Chaffey College Ontario Campus are located in downtown Ontario. Chapman University has a satellite campus near the Ontario Mills mall.


The LA/Ontario International Airportmarker provides domestic and limited international air travel. Because of the many manufacturing companies and warehouses in the city, the airport also serves as a major hub for freight, especially for FedEx and UPSmarker. This airport is owned by the city of Los Angeles.

Because Ontario is a major hub for passengers and freight, the city is also served by several major freeways. Interstate 10 and the Pomona Freeway (State Route 60) run east-west through the city. Interstate 10 is north of the Ontario airport while the Pomona freeway is south of the airport. Interstate 15 runs in the north-south directions at the eastern side of the city. State Route 83, also known as Euclid Avenue, also runs in the north-south direction at the western side of the city.

Ontario also has a Metrolink station off of Haven Avenue. It connects Ontario with much of the Greater Los Angeles area, Orange County and the San Fernando Valley. Public bus transportation is provided by Omnitrans.

Sister cities

Ontario has five sister cities around the world . They are:

Notable residents


  1. City of Ontario CAFR Retrieved 2009-08-14
  4. City Ontario CAFR Retrieved 2009-08-14
  5. City of Ontario CAFR Retrieved 2009-08-14
  7. Soluna On Fire The Girls Of Soluna Like Us—They Really Do! - QV Magazine
  8. Al Newman Statistics - The Baseball Cube
  9. Doug Northway Biography and Statistics
  10. Joey Scarbury, born in Ontario, California, singer, Greatest American Hero June 7 in History
  11. Alumni Hall of Fame
  14. [1]

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