As we commemorate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we recognize that the cultural history of what is now Ontario stretches back more than 10,000 years. Many Nations and many peoples have called this place home. MyOntario – A vision over time marks this long history by opening a conversation among Ontarians about our experiences, identities, values and aspirations.
We are asking people from across the province to share their stories – the places, memories, photos, artifacts, artworks and traditions that inspire you, that motivate you and help define who you are. Be the province's storytellers, record keepers, historians and visionaries!
Let's build a deeper understanding, showcase our diversity and create a lasting record that reflects the breadth, depth and complexity of our great province as we look to the future.
Konrad Sioui (Grand Chief of the Huron-Wendat Nation)
The heart of North America
There are many stories that we can share. Well, first of all, the word “Ontario” itself. Many people don’t know what it means. People try to give an explanation to the name, but in Huron “io” is a superlative, “ontara” is a lake. So “Ontario” is a beautiful lake. In fact
Paul Yee (historan and author)
Telling the stories of Chinese Canadians
I am inspired by something intangible: the past, especially the history of Chinese Canadians. I grew up in Vancouver, knowing little about it. But once I found traces of it, I never stopped telling its stories.
Yes, there are museum artifacts and archival
Scarlett Janusas (President, Scarlett Janusas Archaeology Inc. )
“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than those you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain, American author
I’ve always had a passion ab
Dr. Patrick Julig (Professor of Anthropology, School of Community and Northern Studies, Laurentian University, Sudbury)
Reflections on ancient quarry sites of northern Ontario
In the 1980s-90s, I excavated at Cummins and Sheguiandah National Historic Site quarry/workshops in northern Ontario – in addition to many neat places elsewhere around the world.
We archaeologists are inspired in our quests, seeking rare an
Georges Quirion (architect and former Ontario Heritage Trust Board member)
Ontario’s rich industrial history
Northern Ontario has unique structures, not familiar to many, spread out through small northern communities, reflecting its rich history and its vast wealth of precious resources sought after by many from around the world.
The mining industry in particular creat
The Honourable James Bartleman (27th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario)
My Muskoka – Winter 1949
Every evening when I was a kid in the 1940s, I’d manoeuvre rough logs up onto a sawhorse and use a small bucksaw to cut them into stove lengths, afterward splitting the larger pieces into smaller sizes. After carrying in armloads of wood to fill the box beside the stove, I
William "Liam" Wadsworth
Uncovering Our Forgotten Souls
For me, archaeology is not just a pathway to historical discovery. It may also be an instrument in the search for truth and, if necessary, justice for past and present peoples. This interest in uncovering unspoken stories brought me to the University of Toronto where
Atom Egoyan (film director, writer and producer)
R.C. Harris Water Filtration Plant
Whenever I have visitors to Toronto, I take them to the Harris Filtration Plant. This beautiful complex is one of the few remaining examples of industrial art deco design that has survived to this day, and its location on Lake Ontario makes it truly unique. It ha
Susan Bryan (volunteer Chair of the Nature Reserves Committee of the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists)
Someone has passed this way before
I’m standing on the deck of a small boat, riding the swells of the Nipigon River where it widens into Lake Superior. In front of me, a rock cliff rises straight out of the water. On this cliff are a series of pictographs – lines, circles and other symbols – as we
Kathleen Wynne (Premier of Ontario)
Honouring our past, embracing our future
Ontario is Canada’s largest and most diverse province – home to ingenuity, inclusiveness and optimism.
Our province’s 150th birthday is a chance to reflect on our many achievements and look to the work that lies ahead with a renewed sense of purpose.
Straining against the colonial engineer’s grid, carved relentlessly through table land by an ancient creek, its buried waters find their way to the Don and on to the lake. On its banks are a kaleidoscope of wild flowers, blossoms, leaves and litter that turn with the seasons. The V-shap
Afua Cooper, PhD (James R. Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies, Dalhousie University)
The Black history of Ontario inspires me and defines who I am
Peggy Pompadour haunts me. I walk through the streets of Ye Olde Towne Toronto and I feel her presence – this Black enslaved woman who was owned, jailed and sold by colonial administrator Peter Russell. Peggy often ran away from slavery
Eleanor McMahon (Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport)
A Place to Stand
As Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, I’ve had the privilege to meet many proud, talented and hardworking Ontarians through my participation in a number of special events and occasions. One highlight came a few months ago.
It was a perfect late-summer day in our nation’s ca
The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell (29th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario)
The conscience of our province
Ontario’s Legislative Building, completed in 1893, is a magnificent structure filled with stories from the most significant moments in our province’s modern history. The place is replete with traditions. One of the more recent ones is the hosting of the Lieutenant Go
Michael Runtz (educator, naturalist, author and nature photographer)
Drawn back to Algonquin
Being a lifelong naturalist whose goal has been to explore Ontario’s natural history, I’ve come to appreciate just how rich this province’s biodiversity is. The north boasts the southernmost tundra in the world, home to polar bears and Arctic fox. The south harbours vestige
Sam Steiner (Managing Editor of the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online and retired archivist from the Mennonite Archives of Ontario)
The cloud of witnesses
As a historian of Mennonites in Ontario, I have always enjoyed wandering through Mennonite and Amish cemeteries. Whether plain Old Order Amish or Old Order Mennonite cemeteries with only simple markers, or assimilated Mennonite cemeteries with a greater variety of monuments,
Adrienne Shadd (historian, curator and author)
Reflections on my hometown
In the year of the 150th birthday of Canada, I would like to pay tribute to my hometown. North Buxton started out in 1849 as a colony established by escaped slaves and free Blacks from the United States. One of the final stops on the Underground Railroad, Buxton occupies
Jean-Luc Pilon (Curator of Central Archaeology at the Canadian Museum of History)
The gift of time travel
In the summer of 1982, I was carrying out archaeological research near the shores of Hudson Bay on the Severn River. One of the sites we were investigating had been used a number of times. The earliest evidence suggested that people camped at the Ouabouche site before Europ
Joseph Desloges (Professor, Departments of Earth Sciences and Geography, Woodsworth College, University of Toronto)
Celebrating the Chinguacousy Badlands
The Chinguacousy (“land of the young pines”) Badlands have been visited by hundreds of thousands of Ontarians. This rapidly eroding clay-shale bedrock at the foot of the Niagara Escarpment is a unique natural heritage feature in the province. As a designated A
Thomas H.B. Symons (former Chair of the Board of Directors, Ontario Heritage Trust, and Founding President and Vanier Professor Emeritus of Trent University)
Homer Watson: Ontario's pioneer artist
Homer Watson’s paintings and drawings captured the spirit of pioneer Ontario much as, in a later generation, the work of the Group of Seven captured the spirit of the more northerly parts of Canada.
Born in the village of Doon in the Grand River Valley, Wat
M. Margaret Froh (President of the Métis Nation of Ontario)
The Métis sash
Métis youth leader Katelyn LaCroix was recently asked what being Métis meant to her. She replied that “like the sash, we are two cultures coming together to create something new and beautiful and useful.” This comparison is as apt as it is poetic because the sash is such an essentia
Marshall Pynkoski (Co-Artistic Director of Opera Atelier)
Art in the face of adversity
Opera Atelier’s 30th anniversary in 2016 was a watershed season for the company. It marked our return to the Royal Opera House at Versailles and our arrival in France on November 13 – the day of the terrorist attacks. Opera Atelier’s production of Lully’s Armide reopen
Excerpt taken from an interview with Louis Lesage, PhD (biologist and Director of the Bureau Nionwentsïo, at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette Church at Wendake, Quebec)
Why is it important to preserve the Wendat language?
Culture has many aspects. One aspect is the language. When you lose your language, you lose a part of your culture. The language helps you to describe your environment, to clearly express what you think, to make some colour in your way of life
Todd Stewart (artist and former Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence program resident)
Highway 11, near Hearst
I feel the deepest connection with a place when I’m alone in it, surrounded by silence, the rest of the world far away. The stillness stops time and clears my mind. For me, a certain place stands out among many – Highway 11, the northern route across Ontario. I’ve driven al