Natural Resources in Ontario | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Natural Resources in Ontario

Canada is a resource rich country and different natural resources are found across the provinces and territories. Ontario is the largest market for resource-based goods and services in Canada (see Economy). With the important exception of fossil fuels, it has large stocks of renewable and non-renewable resources, which include agricultural land, forests, water, and minerals.

Apple Orchard in Ontario

Types of Natural Resources

In 2011, Ontario ranked 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. (See also Agriculture in Canada.)

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. Ontario has over 200 hydroelectricity generation facilities. In 2019, 24 per cent of electricity in Ontario was produced from hydroelectricity. (See also Ontario Hydro.)

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.

Solar Farm

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.

Natural Resources by Province or Region

Natural Resources in British Columbia

Natural Resources in the Territories

Natural Resources in Alberta

Natural Resources in Saskatchewan

Natural Resources in Manitoba

Natural Resources in Quebec

Natural resources in the Atlantic Provinces

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