Ontario's Counties

Haliburton County (1874+)

Located in South-Central Ontario, Haliburton County was incorporated 6 Jun 1874 with townships that were previously in Peterborough and Victoria counties. The townships of Anson, Galway, Lutterworth, Minden and Snowden joined to form an Independent Union of Townships. Two years later Stanhope Township was added and eventually Galway township rejoined Peterborough County.

Haliburton County was formed as a provisional county when the townships wanted to raise taxes and encourage the construction of the Victoria Railway. It achieved full county status 18 May 1980.

Haliburton County was named for Canadian Historian Judge Thomas Chandler Haliburton. Settlement in the area began when roads were built through the district, and from nearly the beginning the main industry was in lumber.

Haliburton County

Halton County (1816-1974) / Halton Region (1974+)

Located in Southern Ontario, Halton County was established in 1816 with the townships of Beverly, Blanford, Blenheim, Dumfries, Flamborough, Nelson, Nichol, Trafalgar, Waterloo and Woolwich. Over the years most of the townships were removed to other counties leaving only Esquesing (added in 1821), Nassawasaga (1821), Nelson and Trafalgar. The county was named for Upper Canada's Secretary Major William Halton.

Prior to 1816 the area that is Halton County was part of York County. From 1816-1849 it was part of Gore District. In 1974 the municipality of Halton County was replaced with the Regional Municipality of Halton.

The first settlers were United Empire Loyalists who arrived in the 1780's.

Halton County

Hastings County (1792+)

Located in South-Eastern Ontario, Hastings County was established in 1792 and named for military leader Francis Rawdon-Hastings. The county is the second largest in Ontario.

Early settlers were mainly Loyalists who arrived in 1784. Among the first were members of the Mohawk Tribe from New York's Mohawk Valley. By the 1850's the southern part of the county was fairly well settled so the northern part was opened for settlement.

Gold was discovered near Eldorado (Madoc Twp) in the 1860's.

Hastings County

Huron County (1835+)

Located in South-Western Ontario, Huron County was established in 1835 as part of London District. From 1838/1842-1849 it was in Huron District.

The area was first opened for settlement after it was purchased by the Canada Company on 19 Aug 1826. They purchased an area of one million acres on the South-East shore of Lake Huron and called it the Huron Tract. John Galt, the superintendent of the Canada Company at the time, is considered the 'founder' of Huron County.

Most of the early settlers were from Scotland, followed by American Pennylsvanian Deutsch. The county offered many amenities including good farming, lumbering, ship building, and salt wells.

Huron County

District of Keewatin (1876-1905)

Located in Northern Ontario, the District of Keewatin was created from part of the North-West Territories on 12 Apr 1876. It covered an area of 757,061 square kilometres and was primarily inhabited by native Canadians.

As Ontario grew in 1881, 1889, 1898, and 1905, parts of Keewatin were used to create Rainy River District and Kenora District.

District of Keewatin

Kenora District (1907+)

Located in Northern Ontario, Kenora District was established 1907 from Rainy River District and took its name from three communities located in the district: KEewatin, NOrman, and RAt Portage.

It's the largest district in Ontario and centuries prior to settlement was well known to fur traders of the North West Company and Hudson's Bay Company.

During the 1870's the area was fought over by the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba. Each wanted the area to be part of their province. In 1869 Ontario lay claim to the area but the government of Canada supported Manitoba's claim to the area. The dispute went on for the next decade until it was decided that the area would be part of Ontario. But in 1881 the government decided that no, it would be part of Manitoba. Then in 1884 the earlier decision was upheld and the area was returned to Ontario.

Settlement in the area was mostly fur traders and loggers until the railways were built in the 1880's. Further settlers arrived when gold was discovered in the 1890's.

Kenora District

Kent County (1792+)

Located in South-Western Ontario, Kent County was established in 1792. Originally it comprised an area that is now the counties of Kent and Lambton. From 1792-1847 it was part of Western District, 1847-1849 it was the Provisional District of Kent.

Early settlers, mostly United Empire Loyalists, arrived in the 1780's and settled along the Thames River. Some of the soldiers were not familiar with pioneer life soon sold their land and moved elsewhere. In 1804 Lord Selkirk received a grant of 1,200 acres in Dover Township and brought 90 Scottish emigrants there to settle the area they named Baldoon.

The last township in Kent to be settled was Zone, it had been the home of the Delaware First Nation until 1858 when they ceded their land to the Canadian government.

Kent County

Lambton County (1850+)

Located in South-Western Ontario, Lambton County was established in 1850 from Kent County and named for Canada's Governor in 1838, John George Lambton. From 1788-1792 the area was part of Hesse District, 1792-1850 it was part of Kent County.

Until 1790 the land that is now Lambton County was home to Canada's native population. The first European settlement happened sometime prior to 1804 when French Canadians settled along the St Clair River.

The land was surveyed in 1829 and laid out in townships but it was the 1830's before great numbers of settlers started to arrive. Most were from the United Kingdom, many were Irish who came following the 1840's potato famines, and some were Canadians trying their luck in what was then 'western Canada'.

In the 1850's oil was discovered in Lambton County, but it wasn't until the 1860's that the first flowing well was tapped. This brought a rush of new settlers to the area. Oil and salt are two of Lambton's oldest industries.

Lambton County

Lanark County (1824+)

Located in South-Eastern Ontario, Lanark County was established in 1824 from Carleton County. From 1824-1849 it was part of Bathurst District.

Settlement began in 1815 when free passage was offered to British emigrants to Canada. The first settlers arrived from Scotland that fall but were unable to take possession of their land until 1816. They settled near the military settlement of Perth where soldiers had lived since the end of the War of 1812.

There were several emigration schemes starting in the 1820's that helped to settle Lanark County such as the Lesmahagow Emigration Society who recruited and helped Scottish emigrants with the costs of migration to, and settlement in, Dalhousie Township.

Lanark County