Ontario is a province located in east-central Canada, the largest by population and second largest, after Quebec, in total area. Ontario is bordered by the provinces of Manitoba to the west and Quebec to the east, and the U.S. states (from west to east) of Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania (both across Lake Erie), and New York to the south and east. Most of Ontario's borders with the United States are natural, starting at the Lake of the Woods and continuing through four of the Great Lakes: Superior, Huron (which includes Georgian Bay), Erie, and Ontario, then along the Saint Lawrence River near Cornwall. Ontario is the only Canadian province that borders the Great Lakes. For analytical purposes Ontario is often broken into two regions, Northern Ontario, and Southern Ontario.
The capital of Ontario is Toronto, Canada's most populous city and metropolitan area. Ottawa, the capital of Canada, is located in Ontario as well. The 2006 Census counted 12,960,282 residents in Ontario, which accounted for 38.5% of the national population.
The province takes its name from Lake Ontario, which is thought to be derived from Ontarí:io, a Huron (Wyandot) word meaning "great lake", or possibly skanadario which means "beautiful water" in Iroquoian.
Along with New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec, Ontario is one of the four original provinces of Canada when the federal nation was created July 1, 1867, when the British North America Act, 1867 (or 'BNA') came into force. Upon achievement of full independence from the United Kingdom in 1982, the BNA was re-christened the Constitution Act, 1867.
Ontario is Canada's leading manufacturing province accounting for 52% of the total national manufacturing shipments in 2004. Ontario's largest trading partner is the American State of Michigan.
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