The name “Ontario” comes from an indigenous word meaning “beautiful lake” or “sparkling water.” The indigenous or Aboriginal peoples of Ontario have lived in the land of sparkling water for at least 7,000 years. Europeans first arrived in Ontario in the 1600s and started building trading posts and forts. The first settlements were built in the mid-1700s. The first European colonists and settlers were from France and the British Isles. But by the 20th century, immigrants from all over Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America were coming to Ontario.
Ontario is also home to the largest population of Aboriginal people in the country. The Aboriginal peoples of Canada—the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis—include many nations, each with their own religion, language, and cultural traditions. They are the foundation of diversity in the province.
Today, Ontario is a clear example of Canada’s commitment to multiculturalism. Almost half of all newcomers to Canada live in Ontario. Living in Ontario means living among people of different backgrounds, religions, and languages. It also means having the chance to enjoy foods, music, art, and performances from all over the world!