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A Chronology of Ontario for Family Historians
Article updated: 22 September 2010
By: Rick Roberts,   Biography & Archived Articles




1866....Gold fever strikes Canada West ( Ontario ) with the discovery of gold at Eldorado in Hastings County. Thousands of miners and would be prospectors streamed into the area providing a boom to settlement in the northern portions of Hastings county along the Hastings Road (Highway 62).

1866....Fenian raids into Canada from the United States. In purely military terms, the raids were a series of clashes between Irish veterans of the American Civil War, who had been mobilized by a volunteer society, the Fenian Brotherhood.... and Canadian militiamen mobilized in Canada to stave off the attacks. The Fenians were war hardened soldiers while the Militiamen in Canada were part time volunteers who had never witnessed a gunshot in anger.

1866.... Land Record Copy Books were created in 1797 to contain copies of deeds, mortgages, wills, liens etc. From 1797 to 1846 they are organised by county, from 1846 to 1866 by city, town township and village. From 1866 to 1955 the registers contain other items such as power of attorney, probate administrations etc. The archives of Ontario and each Land Registry Office have copies on microfilm.

1855.... The rough and tumble loging town of Bytown becomes the city of Ottawa on January 1, 1855

1851.... Great Western Railway construction begins from Toronto to Buffalo, New York. Source - Book: Genealogy In Ontario - Searching The Records. Brenda Dougall Merriman


1851
Click to see a larger version
Province of Ontario, 1851. Source: Archives of Ontario.

1851.... The first "thorough" census is taken in Canada West. The 1851-52 census is considered to be the first of the "modern" census taken. Population of Canada West / Ontario = 952,004

1851.... Counties of Elgin, Grey, Victoria, Peel, Brant, Ontario (2nd, different boundries than the Ontario county which existed in the Kingston area from 1792 to 1800), Wellington (see the book: WELLINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL ATLAS) and Victoria are created.

1851.... August 2, 1851 an Act was passsed to enact the partition of Middlesex and Elgin counties. Source - book: SOME SKETCHES OF THE EARLY HIGHLAND PIONEERS OF THE COUNTY OF MIDDLESEX (pub. 1904)

1850.....Counties replaced Districts as the official units of local government on January 1, 1850.

1850....The Municipal Act comes into effect: municipalities (towns and townships) become officially responsible for local business. Source - Book: Genealogy In Ontario - Searching The Records. Brenda Dougall Merriman

1849.... All Districts are abolished and an English County system is adopted for local goverment on December 31, 1849. However, the construction of the new county courthouses and administrative quarters took time. As a result, the transfer of judicial and administrative duties took several years and varied for each county. Also, some counties were "united" for administrative purposes for short periods of time.

1849.... Perth, Bruce and Lambton counties are established

1848...The Reform Party wins elections both in Canada East and in Canada West setting the stage to establish Responsible Governement.

1847.... Kent District was planned and legislation passed on July 9, 1847 for it's creation once a court house and jail were built. The 1849 abolishment of the District system happened before the the buildings were completed and the establishment of Kent District as a separate entity could be completed.

1848.... A followup census to the 1842 was completed in 1848. Population of Upper Canada / Ontario = 725,897

1846.... Land Record Copy Books were created in 1797 to contain copies of deeds, mortgages, wills, liens etc. From 1797 to 1846 they are organised by county, from 1846 to 1866 by city, town township and village. From 1866 to 1955 the registers contain other items such as power of attorney, probate administrations etc. The archives of Ontario and each Land Registry Office have copies on microfilm. Source - book:

1846.... The counties of Carleton and Grenville are redefined ( 9 Vic c.46 (May 23, 1846) Ammends 8 Vic. c.7) . See the book: HISTORICAL ATLAS OF CARLETON COUNTY, (including Ottawa)

1845.... Welland and Renfrew counties are established


1845
Click to see a larger version
Province of Ontario, 1845. Source: Archives of Ontario.

1845.... The province was coming out of a financial depression that began in 1837

1843.... Simcoe District established by proclamation January 11, 1843, with Barrie named the District town

1842.... Dalhousie District established March 19, 1842, with Bytown (Bytown was later renamed Ottawa) named the District town

1842.... The first major census is taken in Canada West ( and Canada East)

1842.... Population of Canada West / Ontario = 487,053

1841.... Colborne District established by proclamation October 14, 1841, with Peterborough named the District town

1841.... Huron District established by proclamation March 6, 1841, with Goderich named the District town

1841.... Act of Union. Upper Canada becomes Canada West under a plan and legislation crafted by Lord Durham. Upper Canada was re-joined with Lower Canada (present day Quebec) and re-named Canada East. Upper Canada (present day Ontario) was re-named Canada West. The Act of Union did not work well resulting in the Dominion of Canada being formed in 1867 with Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia being joined.

1840.... George Arthur appointed Lieutenant-Governor



Following aborted rebellions in both Upper and Lower Canada (1837-1838), the Act of Union (1840) merged the two colonies to form the Province of Canada. Upper and Lower Canada became Canada West and Canada East. Source: Archives of Ontario.

1840.... Wellington District established by proclamation June 18, 1840, with Guelph named the District town.


More Ontario Chronology, by year: pre 1775     1775 - 1800     1801 - 1839     1840 - 1866     1867 - 1940





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