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Travel to Historic and First Nations Attractions in the Ontario Province

Ms. Inglish has 30 years experience in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, history, and aerospace education for USAF Civil Air Patrol.

Old Toronto City Hall. Toronto has hundreds of national and provincial historic sites to visit.

Old Toronto City Hall. Toronto has hundreds of national and provincial historic sites to visit.

Historic Ontario Province

Ontario became a separate Canadian province in 1867, a few years after the end of the American Civil War. Previously, it had seen battles in the War of 1812 and the French and Indian War (1754–1763), making it a treasure chest of historical travel options related to interactions with First Nations, the British, French, and Americans.

An interesting part of this for me is the fact that one of my Native American ancestors translated for members of the British, French, and Mohawk battle contingents in the French and Indian War as well as Pontiac's War (1763).

Best Historic Defense Sites to Visit

  • Fort Henry National Memorial and Historic Shrine, commemorating the War of 1812. Guides tell me that the fort was never attacked and saw no actual military action, becoming a museum in the 1930s. Located at 1 Fort Henry Dr, Kingston, ON K7K 5G8, Canada.
  • HMCS Haida National Historic Site. This floating museum is the last Tribal Destroyer globally, named after the Haida group in British Columbia and Haida Gwaii. Located at 658 Catharine Street North Pier 9, Hamilton, Ontario L8L 8B4 Canada. I recommend this site to all those interested in First Nations, and WWII, Korean, and Cold War warships.
  • Fort George National Historic Site. This fort offers a series of reenactments of the Canadian Military defending Upper Canada from Americans during the War of 1812. The demonstrations are a little more elaborate than those found at Fort Henry, likely because of the military action involving this fort. Located at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Another installation, Fort Mississauga, is located nearby, but it sits on a golf course used daily, which is restricting.

The name Ontario is thought to be of Iroquoian origin, meaning 'beautiful lake' or 'sparkling water.'

— Lake Ontario | The Canadian Encyclopedia

Historic First Nations

Out of 207 different indigenous reserves in Ontario, Six Nations is the largest and is home to the Haudenosaunee group. This includes members of the Cayuga, Lenape, Mohawk, Onondaga, Onoyotaaka, Seneca, and Tuscarora Nations.

Interestingly, a famous professional wrestler was born at Six Nations—the Mohawk named Flying Chief Don Eagle (1925–1966). He moved to my hometown of Columbus, Ohio and wrestled at the Old Veteran's Memorial, which was later replaced by the new National Veteran's Memorial and Museum. People at the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve still remember him.

The public can enjoy the Six Nations Annual Fall Fair during the first week of September in the reservation town of Ohsweken. It's similar to state and agricultural fairs in the United States. The Champion of Champions Pow Wow is also held here in Chiefswood Park during the last weekend of July. This town even has a dirt-track motor speedway!

Dozens of additional Pow Wows invite visitors across Ontario and they can be found listed on the Ontario Pow Wow Calendar.

Best Ontario Cities

The provincial capital, Toronto, is a huge city with many people and numerous places to see. However, many other cities in Ontario offer attractions visitors should make time to see.

Some of the most exciting cities are located on the western shores of Lake Ontario, in the Golden Horseshoe. This is just west of the Greater Toronto Area. The economy has been growing here for several years, offering not only sightseeing options, but shopping, entertainment, and employment.

Many of the cities in the horseshoe feature at least one fort, a lighthouse, and First Nation installations as well.

Best Cities to Visit

  • Niagara Falls: Southernmost end of the horseshoe.
  • Toronto: Northernmost end of the horseshoe. The Canadian Aboriginal Festival is popular here each July.
  • Burlington: Joseph Brant (Mohawk) Museum, 1240 North Shore Blvd E, Burlington, ON L7S 1C5.
  • Guelf: Part of the Ontario Technology Triangle.
  • Hamilton: Battlefield House Museum, 77 King St W, Stoney Creek, ON L8G 5E5.
  • Mississauga, west of Toronto: Fort Mississauga.
  • Niagara-on-the-Lake, south of Toronto: Fort George National Historic Site.
  • Six Nations of the Grand River: Many historic and entertainment installations.

Major Cities in the Golden Horseshoe


© 2010 Patty Inglish MS