Natural Resources in Ontario

Ontario’s natural resources include agricultural land, forests, lakes, rivers, hydroelectricity, minerals, and wind and solar energy.

Apple Orchard in Ontario

Ontario is the largest market for resource-based goods and services in Canada. With the important exception of fossil fuels, it has large stocks of renewable and non-renewable resources. The province ranks fourth, after Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba, in area suitable for agriculture.

Southern Ontario alone has over 50 per cent of Canada’s Class 1 agricultural land, defined as soils that have no significant limitations in use for crops. The region’s favourable climate supports productive, varied crops and livestock.

In central and northern Ontario, the forest cover supports a major forest-products industry. In 2016, Ontario harvested nearly 10 per cent of the total volume of timber harvested in Canada. Many of the more accessible forested areas afford opportunities for recreation, as do the province’s many lakes and rivers.

The massive water resources of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River serve as major transportation routes, sources of hydroelectricity and sites of recreation.

Ontario has the highest capacity for wind and solar power generation in Canada. It produces more than one-third of Canada’s total wind-generated electricity and about 99 per cent of that produced by solar energy.

Ontario lacks significant amounts of conventional fossil fuels and is only moderately endowed with non-metallic minerals (except salt). Northern Ontario, however, is a storehouse of metallic minerals. The province leads Canada in production of nickel, gold and silver, and it is second to British Columbia in production of copper.

Big Nickel in Sudbury, Ontario.