Eastern Ontario

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Eastern Ontario, south of the Ottawa Valley, is sandwiched between New York State to the south and Quebec to the north. It takes a little flavour from each.


The Ottawa-Rideau area includes the Rideau Canal, which extends through Westport and Smiths Falls to end in the National Capital Region at Ottawa. The capital region includes both Ottawa in Ontario and Gatineau in western Quebec.

To the southwest, the canal ends at the St. Lawrence River in Kingston. The Seaway Region of Eastern Ontario extends eastward from Kingston through the Thousand Islands, Brockville and Cornwall.

Further to the southwest, the Quinte-Northumberland region (from Cobourg eastward to Trenton-Belleville, Picton and Napanee) adjoins the Kawarthas in central Ontario.

To the northwest of Ottawa is the Ottawa Valley, which includes Renfrew, Pembroke and Petawawa in Renfrew County.

To the east of the capital region is Prescott-Russell, a large rural region with a substantial francophone population between Ottawa and Hawkesbury along the Trans-Canada Highway to Montréal.


Eastern Ontario regions discussion.png

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Eastern Ontario was inhabited by several First Nations tribes (most notably the Algonquin, Haudenosaunee and Wyandot) for thousands of years.

European intervention in Eastern Ontario started as early as the 1600s when the French voyageurs would paddle along the Ottawa River, but actual European settlement in Eastern Ontario didn't first start until the mid-1700s, when the settlement of L'Orignal in what is now Prescott-Russell was founded.

Further European settlement began in the late 1770s and 1780s, with the United Empire Loyalists (groups of Americans who stayed loyal to Britain after the American Revolution) settled along the St. Lawrence River and parts of the Ottawa River.

But European settlement inland (away from the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers) didn't start until the first half of the 1800s, when the settlements of Russell, Saint Augustine-de-Catherine (now Embrun), Perth and Smiths Falls were founded.

Eastern Ontario continued to grow throughout the rest of the 1800s and into the 1900s. The past 10 years have seen prosperity in much of Eastern Ontario, most notably in Prescott-Russell and Lanark County.


When it comes to language, Eastern Ontario is divided into three linguistic sub-regions:

  1. The Canadian French area is mainly in Prescott-Russell, in the far northeastern section of Eastern Ontario. In this area, the French language is dominant culturally, though you should have no problem being understood in English.
  2. The Canadian English area is mainly in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Leeds-Grenville, Frontenac County and Lanark County. In this area, the English language is dominant culturally.
  3. The Ottawa Valley Twang area is mainly in Renfrew County. In this area, an accent of the English language, called Ottawa Valley Twang is dominant. Often common phrases that are normally two words are pronounced as though there is no space between them (eg. "Good day" is pronounced as "gidday").


Although Eastern Ontario is situated in Canada, which has a reputation for being very cold, Eastern Ontario, being the part of Canada with the lowest average elevation, is in the "Long Summer/Short Winter" belt of Southern Ontario and Southwestern Quebec, which is the only part of Canada in which the summer is significantly longer than the winter, although this region ends immediately north of Gatineau and west of Renfrew County. Summers in Eastern Ontario usually last from late May to mid-to-late September, and winters last about from late November/early December to late March. Autumn and spring are very short (especially spring).

The first snowfalls of the year usually occur in November, but snow doesn't actually cover the ground until December. It has been known to snow in October, though it usually melts as soon as it hits the ground.

In the spring, the snow usually starts melting in March, although occasional "warm breaks" with temperatures as high as 10°C (50°F) usually occur once or twice in January and February, and snow flurries can still occur in April or even May.

In recent years, winters have gotten much warmer, so often in the winter freezing rain will occur, when it is not warm enough for rain but not cold enough for snow. Freezing rain is basically raining ice pellets, which makes driving very hazardous and often closes down schools and makes the roads very icy for a few days.

In the summer, humidity is often common, especially in July. Although temperatures are usually just under 30°C (86°F), humidity can make the temperature feel like its about 38°C (100°F). Humidex temperatures have even been known to reach 45°C (113°F).

Average Afternoon Temperatures Per Month:

  • January: -6°C/21°F
  • February: -5°C/23°F
  • March: 5°C/41°F
  • April: 14°C/57°F
  • May: 20°C/68°F
  • June: 24°C/75°F
  • July: 29°C/84°F
  • August: 29°C/84°F
  • September: 23°C/73°F
  • October: 19°C/66°F
  • November: 7°C/45°F
  • December: -5°C/23°F

(Statistics based on temperatures in Eastern Ontario over the course of 2000-2005)

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