Ontario's Counties

Algoma District (1858+)

Located in Northern Ontario, the first inhabitants of Algoma District were Ojibwa tribes from the Algonkin nation.

The District was named in 1859. At the time the district covered most of Northern Ontario, and parts were later removed to form the districts of Manitoulin, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Timiskaming.

The 1868 Free Grants and Homestead Act opened areas of Algoma to settlement. As townships were surveyed, settlers were able to obtain 200 acres per head of household, 100 acres for each child over 18. In order to keep the land they were granted, settlers had to clear the land, cultivate it, build a home and live there for a minimum of six months per year.

Algoma is an area rich in mineral, primarily copper and iron. Lumbering and the railroad were also instrumental in aiding settlement. In the early days of European occupation the area was considered prime beaver country and because of this, it was the first area of Ontario to be mapped accurately.

Bothwell County (1867-1930s)

Located in South-Western Ontario, Bothwell County was an electoral district that existed from 1867 to the 1930's that covered Kent and Lambton Counties. Electoral districts were areas created for the purpose of generating more seats in the Senate. Due to changing electoral boundaries these type of districts were no longer needed after the 1930's.

Bothwell County

Brant County (1852+)

Located in South-Western Ontario, Brant County was established in 1852 with townships from the counties of Halton, Oxford and Wentworth.

It was named for Joseph Brant, a Mohawk Chief who fought for the British during the American Revolution. In 1784 he led his people to the Grand River valley where they had been granted land for their loyalty during the war. The land grant covered six miles on each side of the Grand River.

In 1649-1651 the Iroquois wiped out the Neutral Nation settlement in the area. Their chief village is thought to have been located near Brantford and was called 'Kandoucho'.

Brant County

Bruce County (1849+)

Located in South-Western Ontario, Bruce County was established in 1849 partly from crown land and partly from Huron District. Prior to 1836 it was Saugeen Indian Territory. The area was also referred to as "Queen's Bush".

The county was surveyed in 1848 and the first settlers arrived in the summer of the same year. The following year more settlers, mostly of Scotch origin, arrived to the area that is now Kincardine. The north part of the county had several reserves, some of which are still in existence. The primary source of income were agriculture, fishing, and lumber.

In 1849 Bruce County was named for the Governor of the Province of Canada (1846-1854), James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin and 12th Earl of Kincardine (1811-1863).

Bruce County

Cardwell County (1867-1900s)

Located in South-Western Ontario, Cardwell County was an electoral district established in 1867 and covered four townships: Albion, Caledon, Mono, and Adjala.

Electoral districts were areas created for the purpose of generating more seats in the Senate. Due to changing electoral boundaries these type of districts were no longer needed after the 1930's, however Cardwell disappeared in the late 1800's/early 1900's (exact date is unknown).

Cardwell County

Carleton County (1798-1969)

Located in South-Eastern Ontario, Carleton County was established in 1798 but wasn't surveyed until 1819. It was named for Sir Guy Carleton. 1798-1824 this county was in Johnstown District, 1824-1838 in Bathurst District, and 1838-1849 in Dalhousie District.  After 1849 it was no longer part of a district, and became an independent county.

In 1968 the county was 'dissolved' in favour of forming the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton. This new municipality included the cities of Ottawa, Vanier, and Kanata, and the townships of Cumberland, Gloucester, Nepean, Osgoode, Rideau, and West Carleton.

Carleton County

Cochrane District (1921+)

Located in Northern Ontario, Cochrane District was established in 1921 from Nipissing District, Timiskaming District, and Thunder Bay District. It's a very large district covering more than 35.5 million acres.

The first settlement was a trading post built in 1673 at Moose Factory but the area was mostly known only to Indian tribes and fur traders until the district was opened for settlement in the 1800's. The first townships available for settlement were Benoit, Bowman, Brower, Clute, Glackmeyer, Hislop, Lamarche, and Walker. About forty families from Holland were among the first to settle.

When gold was discovered in the early 1900's the southern part of the district was opened for settlement. Settlement was further increased with the building of the railways. Each settler would receive 150 acres of land, most of it covered in trees, and in 1912 settlers were given seed grain and improvement loans to make their land prosper.

Dufferin County (1881+)

Located in Southern Ontario, Dufferin County was established as a provisional county in 1874. It was formally proclaimed a county in 1881, and named for Canada's 1872-1878 Governor-General, Lord Dufferin. The county is an area rich with prime farm land and agriculture is one of its main economies.

Prior to the formation of Dufferin County, the townships of Mono & Mulmur were in Simcoe County, Melancthon Township & the village of Shelburne were in Grey County, and the village of Orangeville plus the townships of Amaranth, Garafraxa and Luther were in Wellington County.

The first white settler, Irish carpenter Michael McLaughlin, arrived in 1819.

Dufferin County