Ontario (ON) - Facts, Flags and Symbols



Population (2010 estimate): [i]


Motto on Licence Plate:

Yours to Discover

Flag: [ii]

Act of Legislature assented to, April 14, 1965
Queen Elizabeth II’s approval of use of Royal Union flag, May 11, 1965
Flag raised, May 21, 1965

Flag of Ontario

Arms: [iii]

Royal Warrant of Queen Victoria, May 26, 1868
Gazetted, November 16, 1869
Augmented by crest, supporters and motto by Royal Warrant of King Edward VII, February 27, 1909
Gazetted, April 24, 1909

Coat of Arms for Ontario

Date Entered Confederation: [iv]

In 1867, the province of Ontario was created. The word Ontario is believed to come from the Iroquoian for “vast body of water.” The province bears the same name as Lake Ontario, first referred to by this name in the Jesuit Relations documents around 1641.


White Trillium

Ontario adopted the white trillium (Trillium grandiflorum), also known as the wake-robin and the white lily, as its official flower in 1937. A special committee of botanists recommended it to the Ontario Horticultural Association, which canvassed other horticultural societies in the province, as well as high schools and collegiate institutes, to get their views. In a British botanical work published in 1760, there is a reference to the trillium as “the herb True Love of Canada.”

Picture of white trillium flower


Common Loon

Ontario adopted the common loon (Gavia immer) as its official bird on June 23, 1994. The loon is a common sight on many lakes and rivers in the province. In 1987, Canada replaced its $1 bill with a coin, which featured a swimming loon on the tail side. It was quickly nicknamed the “loonie.”

Picture of common loon


Eastern White Pine

The eastern white pine (Pinus strobus linnaeus) has been heavily used in Ontario since the pioneer days. The province adopted the tree as its official symbol on May 1, 1984, after much consultation.

Picture of eastern white pine tree


  1. [i] Statistics Canada - Quarterly demographic estimates, 2010
    [back to note i]
  2. [ii] Canadian Heritage - Canadian Anthems and Symbols
    [back to note ii]
  3. [iii] Canadian Heritage - Canadian Anthems and Symbols
    [back to note iii]
  4. [iv] Library and Archives Canada - Canadian Confederation
    [back to note iv]
Outline map of Ontario


Page details

Date modified: