Northern Ontario is a primary geographic and quasi-administrative region of the Canadian province of Ontario, the other primary region being Southern Ontario. Most of the core geographic region is located on part of the Superior Geological Province of the Canadian Shield, a vast rocky plateau located mainly north of Lake Huron (including Georgian Bay), the French River, Lake Nipissing, and the Mattawa River. The statistical region extends south of the Mattawa River to include all of the District of Nipissing. The southern section of this district lies on part of the Grenville Geological Province of the Shield which occupies the transitional area between Northern and Southern Ontario. The extended federal and provincial quasi-administrative regions of Northern Ontario have their own boundaries even further south in the transitional area that vary according to their respective government policies and requirements. Ontario government departments and agencies such as the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation define Northern Ontario as all areas north of, and including, the districts of Parry Sound and Nipissing for political purposes, and the federal but not the provincial government also includes the district of Muskoka.
The statistical region has a land area of 806,000 km2 (310,000 mi2) and constitutes 88 percent of the land area of Ontario, but with just 780,000 people, it contains only about six percent of the province's population. The climate is characterized by extremes of temperature, with very cold winters and hot summers. The principal industries are mining, forestry, and hydroelectricity.
For some purposes, Northern Ontario is further subdivided into Northeastern and Northwestern Ontario. When the region is divided in that way, the three westernmost districts (Rainy River, Kenora and Thunder Bay) constitute "Northwestern Ontario," and the other districts constitute "Northeastern Ontario." Northeastern Ontario contains two thirds of Northern Ontario's population. (Full article...)
Macdonald was born in Scotland; when he was a boy his family immigrated to Kingston in the Province of Upper Canada (today in eastern Ontario). As a lawyer, he was involved in several high-profile cases and quickly became prominent in Kingston, which elected him in 1844 to the legislature of the Province of Canada. By 1857, he had become premier under the colony's unstable political system. In 1864, when no party proved capable of governing for long, Macdonald agreed to a proposal from his political rival, George Brown, that the parties unite in a Great Coalition to seek federation and political reform. Macdonald was the leading figure in the subsequent discussions and conferences, which resulted in the British North America Act and the establishment of Canada as a nation on July 1, 1867. (Full article...)