Ontario's Counties

Prescott County (1800+)

Located in South-Eastern Ontario, Prescott County was established in 1800 from Glengarry County. It was named for Canada's Governor-in-Chief, Lieutenant-General Robert Prescott. From 1800-1816 it was part of Eastern District, 1816-1849 part of Ottawa District, and 1822-present is part of the United Counties of Prescott and Russell.

The county was slowly settled as it lacked a main road. French Canadians began settling in Prescott in the 1850's.

Prescott County

Prince Edward County (1792+)

Located in South-Eastern Ontario, Prince Edward County was established in 1792 and named for Duke of Kent, Prince Edward Augustus. 1792-1834 it was part of Midland District, 1834-1849 part of Prince Edward District.

Originally this county was part of the mainland. In 1889 the Murray Canal was completed and made Prince Edward County an island.

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

Prince Edward County

Rainy River District (1914+)

Located in North-Western Ontario, Rainy River District was established in 1885 but didn't become a separate district until 1914. Until then it was part of Thunder Bay District.

This area was part of two boundary disputes. The first was between Canada and the United States, both countries claimed this area was in their country. This dispute was settled in 1818 when the 49th parallel was set as the official dividing line between the countries.

The second dispute took place between Ontario and Manitoba. Each province claimed the area should be part of their province. It was decided in 1884 that this area belonged to Ontario.

While the Hudson's Bay Company had outposts in the area, settlement didn't really begin until Treaty No. 3 was signed in 1873, ceding Ojibwa lands west of Lake Superior to the Dominion of Canada. When the Dawson Trail was built linking Fort Garry to Fort William it opened the Rainy River area to lumbering which encouraged additional settlement.

Rainy River District

Renfrew County (1838+)

Located in South-Eastern Ontario, Renfrew County was established in 1838 with the townships of Horbon, McNab, Packenham, Pembroke, Ross, and Westmeath, plus all islands in the Ottawa River and all unsurveyed lands in Bathurst District. The county was named for Renfrewshire, Scotland. From 1838-1849 the county was in Bathurst District.

The first settlers arrived in the 1820's and a survey was done in 1825. For a short time the area was known as Horton County.

Renfrew County

Rupert's Land

In 1670 King Charles II chartered a new company to be called Hudson's Bay Company and set aside all lands draining into Hudson's Bay for the use of this company. He named this area Rupert's Land in honour of his cousin Prince Rupert.

Rupert's Land formed the western & northern boundary of New France and extended west from Labrador to the Rocky Mountains. It covered an area nearly eight million square kilometres and included all of present-day Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, and parts of the North-West Territory, Quebec, Manitoba, Nunavut, Newfoundland, Labrador and Ontario.

In 1870 Rupert's Land was purchased from the Hudson's Bay Company by the Dominion of Canada for £300,000. This allowed Canada to expand westward. Rupert's Land was then known as the North-West Territories until Ontario and Manitoba expanded northward.

In Ontario, area that once was Rupert's Land became the District of Keewatin, Algoma District, Cochrane District, Kenora District, Rainy River District and Thunder Bay District.

Rupert's Land

Russell County (1800+)

Located in South-Eastern Ontario, Russell County was established in 1800 from Stormont County, and named for Peter Russell, an Upper Canada government administrator. It was originally comprised of the townships of Clarence, Cumberland, Cambridge and Russell - Cumberland later became part of Carleton County. At one time Gloucester and Osgoode were also in Russell County (later removed to Carleton County).

1800-1816 it was part of Eastern District, 1816-1849 part of Ottawa District, and from 1822-present it is part of the United Counties of Prescott and Russell.

Settlement in the county's early days was slow due to no main road having yet been built. In the 1850's there was an influx of settlers from French Canada.

Russell County

Simcoe County (1798+)

Located in Southern Ontario, Simcoe County was established in 1798, but did not attain county status until 1850. From 1821-1850 it was Simcoe District, and named for Upper Canada's first Lieutenant-Governor, John Graves Simcoe.

The area was once known as 'Huronia' and was inhabitated by the Huron First Nations. The first Europeans to reach this area arrived in the early 1600's. Etienne Brule was the first white man to visit the area and famed explorer Samuel de Champlain wintered in the area in 1615. In 1626 a Jesuit mission was established near what is now Penetanguishene.

On 16 Mar 1649 an Iroquois war party invaded the village of St Ignace (just south of present day Waubashene) and massacred everyone. The following day, the Huron retaliated but lost and retreated to Christian Island. The Jesuits abandoned the area and returned to Quebec. Following this, the area remained uninhabited for years before the Ojibwa took up residence.

In the late 1700's fur traders started settling in the area. In 1798, the northern part of Simcoe, including the three islands, were purchased from the Objiwa by the Canadian government. The southern part of Simcoe was taken by the government in 1815 and the lands were granted to military veterans and Loyalist descendants. Later that year several Scottish settlers arrived from Lord Selkirk's failed Red River Settlement.

In the 1850's Simcoe County was quite large and included areas that are now part of Grey County, Dufferin County, Muskoka District and Parry Sound District. By 1881 Simcoe County had 'shrunk' to its current size.

Simcoe County

Stormont County (1792+)

Located in South-Eastern Ontario, Stormont County was established in 1792, one of the original nineteen counties. It was named for Viscount Stormont of Perth, Scotland - David Murray. 1792-1849 it was part of Eastern District, 1850-present it is part of the municipality of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry

The first settlers in 1783 were United Empire Loyalists from the 1st & 2nd Battalions of the King's Royal Regiment of New York, and the 1st Battalion of the Royal Highland Emigrants.

The northern townships were settled mostly by Scottish emigrants. The southern townships were granted to Scottish and German emigrants.

Stormont County

Sudbury District (1894+)

Located in North-Eastern Ontario, Sudbury District was established in 1894 from Nipissing District.

Settlers started arriving in the area with the railways. As the rails were completed, loggers moved in.

In the early 1880's nickel was discovered in the district, and mining is still a major industry in Sudbury District.

Sudbury District