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Southwestern Ontario


Southwestern Ontario is a subregion of Southern Ontario in the province of Ontariomarker, centred on the city of Londonmarker. It extends north to south from the Bruce Peninsulamarker on Lake Huronmarker to the Lake Eriemarker shoreline, and east to south-west roughly from Kitchenermarker to Windsormarker. These three urban centres make up the majority of the population of 2,328,987 in 2001. Other significant towns and cities in the region are Chathammarker, Ingersollmarker, Owen Soundmarker, Sarniamarker, St. Thomasmarker, Goderichmarker, Stratfordmarker, Tillsonburgmarker and Woodstockmarker.

The Bruce Peninsula and Georgian Baymarker shoreline, including the Blue Mountains are also part of the Georgian Triangle. Southwestern Ontario is bordered by Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers, and Lakes Erie and Ontario.

Another popularly mentioned sub-region within Southwestern Ontario is "Midwestern Ontario", stretching from roughly Lake Huronmarker to Lake Eriemarker, containing Brucemarker, Greymarker, Dufferinmarker, Wellington, Perthmarker, Huron, and Oxford Countiesmarker, with some definitions extending into Brant County, and even Halton Regionmarker and Norfolk Countymarker. The major centres in this region are Winghammarker, Goderichmarker, Mount Forestmarker, Walkertonmarker, Hanovermarker, Collingwoodmarker, Owen Soundmarker, Woodstockmarker, Londonmarker, Ingersollmarker, Tillsonburgmarker, and Delhimarker, with Brantfordmarker and Orangevillemarker occasionally being considered part of the area. In short, Midwestern Ontario is considered as the eastern quarter of the region along the edge of the Greater Toronto Area, and stretching back through the hilly regions near Shelburnemarker, back toward Goderichmarker and Kincardinemarker.

Most definitions reach eastward to include Guelphmarker and Orangevillemarker, though recently these municipalities are also included in on the western side of the growing Greater Golden Horseshoe region and many of their residents commute into the Greater Toronto Area.

Southwestern Ontario constitutes the western portion of the original province, present-day southern Ontario, which was first settled as Upper Canada prior to 1840.

During the 19th century and early 20th century, the largest city in Southwestern Ontario was Windsor, however as both cities grew, Windsor was outpaced by the faster growth of London, and passed the mantle of regional anchor to that city in the 1960s.

The region may also be referred to as Western Ontario, particularly in the names of institutions such as the University of Western Ontariomarker. This term is falling into disuse, however, as the region is no longer the westernmost portion of the province. Western Ontario may also designate all the counties of southwestern Ontario except Essex, Kent, and Lambton—that is, the region of which London, Ontariomarker is the central city.

Southwestern Ontario is a prosperous agricultural region whose chief crops are tobacco, sweetcorn, soybean, winter wheat, canola, and tomatoes. Dairy and beef farming, breeding and training of standardbred horses and wine growing and production are also important industries. Its climate is among the mildest in Canada, although brief periods of winter can be severe, summers are hot and humid with a longer growing season than most of the country.

A large section of Southwestern Ontario was part of the Talbot Settlement, and the region has benefited from the settlement’s facilitation of agriculture and of trade in general. Its economy is heavily tied in with that of the midwestern United Statesmarker, in particular the border state of Michiganmarker. Auto manufacturing and parts, agriculture and hi-tech industries are key components of the region’s economy. The region also provides important transportation routes for commercial trucking, railway and tanker shipping from Detroitmarker-Windsor and Port Huron, Michiganmarker-Sarnia linking Canada with major markets in the eastern and midwestern United States.

Southwestern Ontario is the setting for many of the short stories of prize-winning author Alice Munro.

List of counties or divisions

Sarnia, ON.



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