Eastern Ontario

Eastern Ontario is a rich and diverse region with strong links to its earlier economies of mining, forestry, small rural enterprises and mixed family farming. The boundary of Eastern Ontario as designated by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is the region spanning from Durham Region to the Ottawa area.  The region is composed of a population of over 1.72 million people, with 14 united counties and 110 townships, municipalities and cities (Census Canada, 2011). Some of the largest cities in the region include Ottawa (population of 812,129), Kingston (117,207), Belleville (48,821), Cornwall (45,965) and Brockville (21,957) (Statistics Canada, 2006).  This region’s slow population growth from 1991-2011 has been in strong contrast to other parts of Southern Ontario, such as the Greater Toronto Area.

Ontario Project Resources


Source: OMFRA, 2007

Eastern Ontario is very large in size and extends through many distinct places with unique characteristics. The famous Canadian Shield cuts through the region giving the landscape a very northern dimension. The region is used heavily by cottagers, in its more northern, rural and remote areas as well as more southern areas like Lake Ontario. There are also 12 conservation authorities with hundreds of trails and other outdoor activities to enjoy (Conservation Ontario, 2011). The vibrant Quebec-Windsor corridor adds another dimension to the region and serves (among many things) as a tourist hot spot, with exciting attractions and festivals in Canada’s capital city, the 1000 Islands, and surrounding areas, as an international transportation route, and as a distinct sub-region contrasting with Eastern Ontario’s interior and more northern (e.g. Algonquin Park, Ottawa Valley) sub-regions.

Eastern Ontario is a particularly interesting case study because it includes so many different communities and cultures. There has been a lengthy history in the area of regional economic development and related policy and programme initiatives by all levels of government as well as by several non-governmental organizations. This continues today with some 15 CFDCs operating in the region, the Eastern Ontario Warden’s Caucus, the Eastern Ontario Economic Development Commission, new regional tourism organizations (RTO), and several others.

Source: Conservation Ontario, 2011

Eastern Ontario (Minnes, 2011)