National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada, located in the capital city of Ottawa, Ontario, is Canada's premier art gallery. The Gallery is now housed in a glass and granite building on Sussex Drive with a notable view of the Canadian Parliament buildings on Parliament Hill; the building was designed by Moshe Safdie and opened in 1988. The Gallery's former director, Jean Sutherland Boggs, was chosen by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to oversee construction of the national gallery and museums. Marc Mayer was named the museum's director, succeeding Pierre Théberge, on 19 January 2009; the Gallery was first formed in 1880 by Canada's Governor General, John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll, and, in 1882, moved into its first home on Parliament Hill in the same building as the Supreme Court. In 1911, the Gallery moved to the Victoria Memorial Museum, now the home of the Canadian Museum of Nature. In 1913, the first National Gallery Act was passed. In 1962, the Gallery moved to the Lorne Building site, a rather nondescript office building on Elgin Street.
Adjacent to the British High Commission, the building has since been demolished for a 17-storey office building, to house the Federal Finance Department. The museum moved into its current building beside Nepean Point. In 1985, the newly created Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography the Stills Photography Division of the National Film Board of Canada, was affiliated to the National Gallery; the CMCP's mandate and staff moved to its new location in 1992, at 1 Rideau Canal, next to the Château Laurier. In 1998, the CMCP's administration was amalgamated to that of the National Gallery's. In 2000, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada chose the National Gallery as one of the top 500 buildings produced in Canada during the last millennium; the Gallery has a large and varied collection of paintings, drawings and photographs. Although its focus is on Canadian art, it holds works by many noted European artists, it has a strong contemporary art collection with some of Andy Warhol's most famous works.
In 1990 the Gallery bought Barnett Newman's Voice of Fire for $1.8 million, igniting a storm of controversy. Since that time its value has appreciated sharply. In 2005, the Gallery acquired a painting by Italian Renaissance painter Francesco Salviati for $4.5 million. Its most famous painting is The Death of General Wolfe by Anglo-American artist Benjamin West. In 2005, a sculpture of a giant spider, Louise Bourgeois's Maman, was installed in the plaza in front of the Gallery. In 2011 the gallery installed Canadian sculptor Joe Fafard's Running Horses next to the Sussex Drive entrance, American artist Roxy Paine's stainless steel sculpture One Hundred Foot Line in Nepean Point behind the gallery; the Canadian collection, the most comprehensive in Canada, holds works by Louis-Philippe Hébert, Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, Emily Carr, Alex Colville, Jean-Paul Riopelle and Jack Bush. The Gallery organizes its own exhibits which travel across Canada and beyond, hosts shows from around the world co-sponsored with other national art galleries and museums.
The Gallery's collection has been built up through purchase and donations. Much of the collection was donated, notably the British paintings donated by former Governor General Vincent Massey and that of the Southam family; the museum features Canadian and Inuit art and European painting, sculpture and drawings, modern and contemporary art and photographs. The largest work in the Gallery is the entire interior of the Rideau Street Chapel, which formed part of the Convent of Our Lady Sacred Heart, The interior decorations of the Rideau Street Chapel were designed by Georges Couillon in 1887. After the convent was demolished in 1972, the chapel was dismantled and reconstructed within the gallery as a work of art in 1988. Auguste Rodin, Age of Bronze, 1875–1876, cast in 1901. M. C. Escher, Stars, 1948. Barnett Newman, Voice of Fire, 1967; the Museum is affiliated with: CMA, Ontario Association of Art Galleries, CHIN, Virtual Museum of Canada. Ord, The National Gallery of Canada: ideas, architecture, McGill-Queen's University Press, ISBN 0-7735-2509-2 Robert Fulford, "Turning the absurd into an art form: Canada's National Gallery has a history filled with bizarre decisions," National Post, 9 September 2003, http://www.robertfulford.com/2003-09-09-gallery.html Official website
Government of Canada
The Government of Canada Her Majesty's Government, is the federal administration of Canada. In Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or the Queen-in-Council. In both senses, the current construct was established at Confederation through the Constitution Act, 1867—as a federal constitutional monarchy, wherein the Canadian Crown acts as the core, or "the most basic building block", of its Westminster-style parliamentary democracy; the Crown is thus the foundation of the executive and judicial branches of the Canadian government. Further elements of governance are outlined in the rest of the Canadian Constitution, which includes written statutes, court rulings, unwritten conventions developed over centuries; the monarch is represented by the Governor General of Canada. The Queen's Privy Council for Canada is the body that advises the sovereign or viceroy on the exercise of executive power. However, in practice, that task is performed only by the Cabinet, a committee within the Privy Council composed of ministers of the Crown, who are drawn from and responsible to the elected House of Commons in parliament.
The Cabinet is headed by the prime minister, appointed by the governor general after securing the confidence of the House of Commons. In Canadian English, the word government is used to refer both to the whole set of institutions that govern the country, to the current political leadership. In federal department press releases, the government has sometimes been referred to by the phrase Government. In late 2010, an informal instruction from the Office of the Prime Minister urged government departments to use in all department communications the term in place of Government of Canada; the same cabinet earlier directed its press department to use the phrase Canada's New Government. As per the Constitution Acts of 1867 and 1982, Canada is a constitutional monarchy, wherein the role of the reigning sovereign is both legal and practical, but not political; the Crown is regarded as a corporation sole, with the monarch, vested as she is with all powers of state, at the centre of a construct in which the power of the whole is shared by multiple institutions of government acting under the sovereign's authority.
The executive is thus formally called the Queen-in-Council, the legislature the Queen-in-Parliament, the courts as the Queen on the Bench. Royal Assent is required to enact laws and, as part of the Royal Prerogative, the royal sign-manual gives authority to letters patent and orders in council, though the authority for these acts stems from the Canadian populace and, within the conventional stipulations of constitutional monarchy, the sovereign's direct participation in any of these areas of governance is limited; the Royal Prerogative includes summoning and dissolving parliament in order to call an election, extends to foreign affairs: the negotiation and ratification of treaties, international agreements, declarations of war. The person, monarch of Canada is the monarch of 15 other countries in the Commonwealth of Nations, though, he or she reigns separately as King or Queen of Canada, an office, "truly Canadian" and "totally independent from that of the Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms".
On the advice of the Canadian Prime Minister, the sovereign appoints a federal viceregal representative—the Governor General of Canada —who, since 1947, is permitted to exercise all of the monarch's Royal Prerogative, though there are some duties which must be performed by, or bills that require assent by, the king or queen. The government is defined by the constitution as the Queen acting on the advice of her privy council. However, the Privy Council—consisting of former members of parliament, chief justices of the supreme court, other elder statesmen—rarely meets in full; as the stipulations of responsible government require that those who directly advise the monarch and governor general on how to exercise the Royal Prerogative be accountable to the elected House of Commons, the day-to-day operation of government is guided only by a sub-group of the Privy Council made up of individuals who hold seats in parliament. This body of senior ministers of the Crown is the Cabinet. One of the main duties of the Crown is to ensure that a democratic government is always in place, which means appointing a prime minister to thereafter head the Cabinet.
Thus, the governor general must appoint as prime minister the person who holds the confidence of the House of Commons. Should no party hold a majority in the commons, the leader of one party—either the one with the most seats or one supported by other parties—will be called by the governor general to form a minority government. Once sworn in by the viceroy, the prime minister holds office until he or she resigns or is removed by the governor general, after either a motion of no confidence or his or her party's defeat in a general election; the monarch and governor general follow the near-binding advice of
Parliament of Canada
The Parliament of Canada is the federal legislature of Canada, seated at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the national capital. The body consists of the Canadian monarch, represented by the Governor General; each element has its own officers and organization. By constitutional convention, the House of Commons is dominant, with the Senate and monarch opposing its will; the Senate reviews legislation from a less partisan standpoint and the monarch or viceroy provides royal assent to make bills into law. The Governor General summons and appoints the 105 senators on the advice of the Prime Minister, while the 338 members of the House of Commons—called members of parliament —each represent an electoral district referred to as a riding, are directly elected by Canadian voters; the Governor General summons Parliament, while either the viceroy or monarch can prorogue or dissolve Parliament, the latter in order to call a general election. Either will read the Throne Speech; the most recent Parliament, summoned by Governor General David Johnston in 2015, is the 42nd since Confederation.
The Parliament of Canada is composed of three parts: the monarch, the Senate, the House of Commons. Each work in conjunction within the legislative process; this format was inherited from the United Kingdom and is a near-identical copy of the parliament at Westminster, the greatest differences stemming from situations unique to Canada, such as the impermanent nature of the monarch's residency in the country and the lack of a peerage to form the upper chamber. Only those who sit in the House of Commons are called members of parliament. Though legislatively less powerful, senators take higher positions in the national order of precedence. No individual may serve in more than one chamber at the same time; the sovereign's place in the legislature, formally called the Queen-in-Parliament, is defined by the Constitution Act, 1867, various conventions. Neither she nor her viceroy, participates in the legislative process, save for signifying the Queen's approval to a bill passed by both houses of parliament, known as the granting of Royal Assent, necessary for a bill to be enacted as law.
All federal bills thus begin with the phrase "Now, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows..." and, as such, the Crown is immune from acts of parliament unless expressed otherwise in the act itself. The governor general will perform the task of granting Royal Assent, though the monarch may do so, at the request of either the Cabinet or the viceroy, who may defer assent to the sovereign as per the constitution; as both the monarch and his or her representatives are traditionally barred from the House of Commons, any parliamentary ceremonies in which they are involved take place in the Senate chamber. The upper and lower houses do, each contain a mace, which indicates the authority of the Queen-in-Parliament and the privilege granted to that body by her, both bearing a crown at their apex; the original mace for the Senate was that used in the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada after 1849, while that of the House of Commons was inherited from the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, first used in 1845.
Following the burning of the Centre Block on 3 February 1916, the City of London, donated a replacement, still used today. The temporary mace, made of wood, used until the new one arrived from the United Kingdom in 1917, is still carried into the Senate each 3 February; the Senate's 1.6-metre-long mace comprises gold. The Senate may not sit. Members of the two houses of parliament must express their loyalty to the sovereign and defer to her authority, as the Oath of Allegiance must be sworn by all new parliamentarians before they may take their seats. Further, the official opposition is formally called Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, to signify that, though they may be opposed to the incumbent Cabinet's policies, they remain dedicated to the apolitical Crown; the upper house of the Parliament of Canada, the Senate, is a group of 105 individuals appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister. Senators served for life until 1965, when a constitutional amendment imposed a mandatory retirement age of 75.
Senators may, resign their seats prior to that mark, can lose their position should they fail to attend two consecutive sessions of parliament. The Senate is divided amongst four geographic regions: 24 for Ontario, 24 for Quebec, 24 for the Maritimes, 24 for the Western provinces. Newfoundland and Labrador, which became a Canadian province in 1949, is represented by six senators, is not part of a senatorial division. Further, Canada's three territories—the Northwest Territories and Nunavut—are allocated one senator each. An additio
Canadian Museum of History
The Canadian Museum of History is Canada's national museum of human history. It is located in the Hull area of Gatineau, directly across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario; the museum's primary purpose is to collect, study and present material objects that illuminate the human history of Canada and the cultural diversity of its people. The Canadian Museum of Civilization, the name of the museum was changed in 2013 to the Canadian Museum of History; the Museum of History's permanent galleries explore Canada's 20,000 years of human history and a program of special exhibitions expands on Canadian themes and explore other cultures and civilizations and present. The museum is a major research institution, its staff includes leading experts in Canadian history, archaeology and folk culture. The museum organizing traveling exhibits. With roots stretching back to 1856, the museum is one of North America's oldest cultural institutions, it is home to the Canadian Children's Museum. It used to be the home of the Canadian Postal Museum.
The Museum of History is managed by the Canadian Museum of History Corporation, a federal Crown Corporation, responsible for the Canadian War Museum, the Children's Museum and the Virtual Museum of New France. The museum is a member of the Canadian Museums Association; the museum is affiliated with: Canadian Museums Association, Canadian Heritage Information Network, Virtual Museum of Canada. The museum has three permanent exhibition galleries: the Grand Hall, the First Peoples Hall, the Canadian History Hall; the museum operates a movie theatre, a children's museum and special exhibit galleries. The Grand Hall on the building's first level is the museum's architectural centrepiece, it features a wall of windows 112 m wide by 15 m high, framing a view of the Ottawa River and Parliament Hill. On the opposite wall is a colour photograph of similar size, it is believed to be the largest colour photograph in the world. The picture provides a backdrop for a dozen towering totem poles and recreations of six Pacific Coast Aboriginal house facades connected by a boardwalk.
The homes were made by First Nations artisans using large cedar timbers imported from the Pacific Northwest. The grouping of these totem poles, combined with others in the Grand Hall, is said to be the largest indoor display of totem poles in the world; the Grand Hall houses the original plaster pattern for the Spirit of Haida Gwaii, by Haida artist Bill Reid, his largest and most complex sculpture. The pattern was used to cast the bronze sculpture displayed outside the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D. C. Located at the end of the Grand Hall, by the river, is a 19 m diameter dome. On the dome is the 418 m2 abstract painting known as Morning Star; the painting, by First Nation artist Alex Janvier a Dene Suline artist, with the assistance of his son Dean, was completed in four months in 1993. On the Museum's first level, this permanent exhibition narrates the history and accomplishments of Canada's Aboriginal peoples from their original habitation of North America to the present day, it explores the diversity of the First Peoples, their interactions with the land, their on-going contributions to society.
The Hall is the result of a groundbreaking, intensive collaboration that occurred between museum curators and First Peoples representatives during the planning stages. Chronicling 20,000 years of history, the hall is separated into three larger zones: "An Aboriginal Presence" looks at Aboriginal cultural diversity and prehistoric settlement of North America. Included are traditional stories about creation and other phenomena told by Aboriginal people such as Mi'kmaq Hereditary Chief Stephen Augustine who recounts the beginning of the world in the Creation Stories Theatre film. "An Ancient Bond with the Land" examines the relationship between Aboriginal Peoples and the natural world. "Arrival of Strangers - The Last 500 Years" examines Aboriginal history from the time of European contact to today. It examines early relations, the Métis, the clash of Christianity and Aboriginal beliefs, intergovernmental relations, the introduction of a wage economy, post-World War II political and legal affirmation and civil rights.
It features a ten-minute video about sustaining Aboriginal culture, introduces visitors to Native art. The Canadian History Hall is a permanent gallery dedicated to Canadian history that encompasses both the third and fourth floors of the museum home to the Canada Hall and the Canadian Personalities Hall and meant to be more comprehensive and engaging than its precursors, it opened on July 2017, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Confederation. World's oldest hockey stick, known as the Moffat stick The Queen's Beasts The museum was designed by Douglas Cardinal, a famous Aboriginal architect educated at the University of British Columbia and the University of Texas at Austin; the museum complex consists of two wings, the public and curatorial wings, surrounded by a series of plazas connected by a grand staircase. Naturalized park areas connect the museum and its plazas to the Ottawa River and nearby Jacques Cartier Park; the museum was founded in 1856 as the display hall for the Geological Survey of Canada, accumulating not only minerals, but biological specimens, historical and ethnological artifacts.
It was founded in Montreal, was moved to Ottawa in 1881. In 1910, upon recommendation from Franz Boas, the anthropologist-linguist Edward Sapir was appointed as the first anthropo
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border, its capital is Ottawa, its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra, its population is urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Canada's climate varies across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons. Various indigenous peoples have inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years prior to European colonization. Beginning in the 16th century and French expeditions explored, settled, along the Atlantic coast.
As a consequence of various armed conflicts, France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces; this began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Statute of Westminster of 1931 and culminated in the Canada Act of 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament. Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy in the Westminster tradition, with Elizabeth II as its queen and a prime minister who serves as the chair of the federal cabinet and head of government; the country is a realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, a member of the Francophonie and bilingual at the federal level. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, education.
It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many other countries. Canada's long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy and culture. A developed country, Canada has the sixteenth-highest nominal per capita income globally as well as the twelfth-highest ranking in the Human Development Index, its advanced economy is the tenth-largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks. Canada is part of several major international and intergovernmental institutions or groupings including the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the G7, the Group of Ten, the G20, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. While a variety of theories have been postulated for the etymological origins of Canada, the name is now accepted as coming from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement".
In 1535, indigenous inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City region used the word to direct French explorer Jacques Cartier to the village of Stadacona. Cartier used the word Canada to refer not only to that particular village but to the entire area subject to Donnacona. From the 16th to the early 18th century "Canada" referred to the part of New France that lay along the Saint Lawrence River. In 1791, the area became two British colonies called Upper Canada and Lower Canada collectively named the Canadas. Upon Confederation in 1867, Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country at the London Conference, the word Dominion was conferred as the country's title. By the 1950s, the term Dominion of Canada was no longer used by the United Kingdom, which considered Canada a "Realm of the Commonwealth"; the government of Louis St. Laurent ended the practice of using'Dominion' in the Statutes of Canada in 1951. In 1982, the passage of the Canada Act, bringing the Constitution of Canada under Canadian control, referred only to Canada, that year the name of the national holiday was changed from Dominion Day to Canada Day.
The term Dominion was used to distinguish the federal government from the provinces, though after the Second World War the term federal had replaced dominion. Indigenous peoples in present-day Canada include the First Nations, Métis, the last being a mixed-blood people who originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations and Inuit people married European settlers; the term "Aboriginal" as a collective noun is a specific term of art used in some legal documents, including the Constitution Act 1982. The first inhabitants of North America are hypothesized to have migrated from Siberia by way of the Bering land bridge and arrived at least 14,000 years ago; the Paleo-Indian archeological sites at Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are two of the oldest sites of human habitation in Canada. The characteristics of Canadian indigenous societies included permanent settlements, complex societal hierarchies, trading networks; some of these cultures had collapsed by the time European explorers arrived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and have only been discovered through archeological investigations.
The indigenous population at the time of the first European settlements is estimated to have been between 200,000
Senate of Canada
The Senate of Canada is the upper house of the Parliament of Canada, along with the House of Commons and the Monarch. The Senate is modelled after the British House of Lords and consists of 105 members appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister. Seats are assigned on a regional basis: four regions—defined as Ontario, the Maritime provinces, the Western provinces—each receive 24 seats, with the remaining portions of the country—Newfoundland and Labrador receiving 6 seats and the three northern territories each assigned the remaining one seat. Senators may serve until they reach the age of 75. While the Senate is the upper house of Parliament and the House of Commons is the lower house, this does not imply the Senate is more powerful than the House of Commons, it entails that its members and officers outrank the members and officers of the Commons in the order of precedence for the purposes of protocol. As a matter of practice and custom, the Commons is the dominant chamber.
The prime minister and Cabinet are responsible to the House of Commons and remain in office only so long as they retain the confidence of the House of Commons. The approval of both chambers is necessary for legislation and, the Senate can reject bills passed by the Commons. Between 1867 and 1987, the Senate rejected fewer than two bills per year, but this has increased in more recent years. Although legislation can be introduced in either chamber, the majority of government bills originate in the House of Commons, with the Senate acting as the chamber of "sober second thought"; the Senate came into existence in 1867, when the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the British North America Act 1867, uniting the Province of Canada with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into a single federation, a dominion called Canada. The Canadian parliament was based on the Westminster model. Canada's first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, described it as a body of "sober second thought" that would curb the "democratic excesses" of the elected House of Commons and provide regional representation.
He believed that if the House of Commons properly represented the population, the upper chamber should represent the regions. It was not meant to be more than a brake on the House of Commons. Therefore, it was deliberately made an appointed house, since an elected Senate might prove too popular and too powerful and be able to block the will of the House of Commons; the original Senate chamber was lost to the fire that consumed the Parliament Buildings in 1916. Subsequently, the Senate sat in the mineral room of what is today the Canadian Museum of Nature until 1922, when it relocated to Parliament Hill. With the Centre Block undergoing renovations, temporary chambers have been constructed in the Senate of Canada Building, where the Senate began meeting in 2019. Reform of the Senate has been an issue since its creation, mirrors pre-Confederation debates regarding appointed Legislative Councils in the former colonies; the federal Parliament first considered reform measures in 1874 and the Senate debated reforming itself in 1909.
There were minor changes in 1965, when the mandatory retirement age for new Senators was set at 75 years and, in 1982, when the Senate was given a qualified veto over certain constitutional amendments. There have been at least 28 major proposals for constitutional Senate reform since the early 1970s and all have failed. Discussion of reforming the appointment mechanism resurfaced alongside the Quiet Revolution and the rise of Western alienation with the chief goal of making the Senate better represent the provinces in parliament, it was suggested that provincial governments should appoint senators, as was done in the United States before the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Others suggested that senators should be members of provincial legislatures, similar to the Bundesrat of Germany; the discussions suggested redistributing Senate seats to the growing western provinces Formal suggestions for equality of seats between provinces occurred in 1981. Schemes to create an elected Senate did not gain widespread support until after 1980, when Parliament enacted the National Energy Program in the wake of the energy crises of the 1970s.
Many Western Canadians called for a "Triple-E Senate", standing for elected and effective. They believed that allowing equal representation of the provinces, regardless of population, would protect the interests of the smaller provinces and outlying regions; the Meech Lake Accord, a series of constitutional amendments proposed by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, would have required the federal government to choose a senator from a list of persons nominated by the provincial government. Before the failure of the Meech Lake accord, Alberta had passed the Senatorial Selection Act of 1987, which provided for the direct election of Alberta senators; the first of such elections was held in 1989. The results of these elections are non-binding, only prime ministers Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper have appointed senators that had won these elections; the Charlottetown Accord, involved a provision under which the Senate would include an equal number of senators from each province, each elected either by the majority in the relevant provincial legislature or by the majority of voters in the province.
This accord was defeated in the referendum held in 1992. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was an advocate of
Ontario is one of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada and is located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province accounting for 38.3 percent of the country's population, is the second-largest province in total area. Ontario is fourth-largest jurisdiction in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included, it is home to the nation's capital city and the nation's most populous city, Ontario's provincial capital. Ontario is bordered by the province of Manitoba to the west, Hudson Bay and James Bay to the north, Quebec to the east and northeast, to the south by the U. S. states of Minnesota, Ohio and New York. All of Ontario's 2,700 km border with the United States follows inland waterways: from the west at Lake of the Woods, eastward along the major rivers and lakes of the Great Lakes/Saint Lawrence River drainage system; these are the Rainy River, the Pigeon River, Lake Superior, the St. Marys River, Lake Huron, the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River, Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario and along the St. Lawrence River from Kingston, Ontario, to the Quebec boundary just east of Cornwall, Ontario.
There is only about 1 km of land border made up of portages including Height of Land Portage on the Minnesota border. Ontario is sometimes conceptually divided into Northern Ontario and Southern Ontario; the great majority of Ontario's population and arable land is in the south. In contrast, the larger, northern part of Ontario is sparsely populated with cold winters and heavy forestation; the province is named after Lake Ontario, a term thought to be derived from Ontarí:io, a Huron word meaning "great lake", or skanadario, which means "beautiful water" in the Iroquoian languages. Ontario has about 250,000 freshwater lakes; the province consists of three main geographical regions: The thinly populated Canadian Shield in the northwestern and central portions, which comprises over half the land area of Ontario. Although this area does not support agriculture, it is rich in minerals and in part covered by the Central and Midwestern Canadian Shield forests, studded with lakes and rivers. Northern Ontario is subdivided into two sub-regions: Northeastern Ontario.
The unpopulated Hudson Bay Lowlands in the extreme north and northeast swampy and sparsely forested. Southern Ontario, further sub-divided into four regions. Despite the absence of any mountainous terrain in the province, there are large areas of uplands within the Canadian Shield which traverses the province from northwest to southeast and above the Niagara Escarpment which crosses the south; the highest point is Ishpatina Ridge at 693 metres above sea level in Temagami, Northeastern Ontario. In the south, elevations of over 500 m are surpassed near Collingwood, above the Blue Mountains in the Dundalk Highlands and in hilltops near the Madawaska River in Renfrew County; the Carolinian forest zone covers most of the southwestern region of the province. The temperate and fertile Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Valley in the south is part of the Eastern Great Lakes lowland forests ecoregion where the forest has now been replaced by agriculture and urban development. A well-known geographic feature is part of the Niagara Escarpment.
The Saint Lawrence Seaway allows navigation to and from the Atlantic Ocean as far inland as Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario. Northern Ontario occupies 87 percent of the surface area of the province. Point Pelee is a peninsula of Lake Erie in southwestern Ontario, the southernmost extent of Canada's mainland. Pelee Island and Middle Island in Lake Erie extend farther. All are south of 42°N – farther south than the northern border of California; the climate of Ontario varies by location. It is affected by three air sources: cold, arctic air from the north; the effects of these major air masses on temperature and precipitation depend on latitude, proximity to major bodies of water and to a small extent, terrain relief. In general, most of Ontario's climate is classified as humid continental. Ontario has three main climatic regions; the surrounding Great Lakes influence the climatic region of southern Ontario. During the fall and winter months, heat stored from the lakes is released, moderating the climate near the shores of the lakes.
This gives some parts of southern Ontario milder winters than mid-continental areas at lower latitudes. Parts of Southwestern Ontario have a moderate humid continental climate, similar to that of the inland Mid-Atlantic states and the Great Lakes portion of the Midwestern United States; the region has warm to cold winters. Annual precipitation is well distributed throughout the year. Most of this region lies in the lee of the Great Lakes. In December 2010, the snowbelt set a new record when it was h