The Ontario flag was established by The Flag Act 1965 and is based on the flag of Canada prior to the adoption of the present maple leaf design, the Canadian Red Ensign, which in turn was based on the British Red Ensign, which is the civil ensign of the United Kingdom. According to the Act, the flag is the Canadian (British) Red Ensign with the shield of arms of Ontario (see below) in the fly, in the ratio of 1:2.
Source: Flags of the World http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/ca-on.html
The Provincial Arms
Ontario was granted arms by Queen Victoria in a Royal Warrant dated 26 May 1868. The arms were augmented by warrant of King Edward VII dated 27 February 1909 to add supporters, a crest and motto. The arms are blazoned as follows:
Shield: Vert, a sprig of three leaves of maple slipped Or, on a chief Argent a Cross Gules.
Crest: Upon a wreath of the colours a bear passant Sable.
Supporters: On the dexter side a moose, and on the sinister side, a Canadian deer, both proper.
Motto: UT INCEPIT FIDELIS SIC PERMANET (Latin “As Loyal it began, so it remains”).
The shield of arms, which appears on the flag of Ontario, incorporates Saint George’s cross in red on a white background (on a chief Argent a Cross Gules,) which is of course the flag of England and part of the flag of the United Kingdom. The gold maple leaves of course represent Canada. The green background has been ascribed no symbolism.
Source: The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada http://www.heraldry.ca/main.php
Provincial Formation and Political Information
Formed: July 1 1867
Entered Confederation: July 1 1867
Alterations to Dimensions: The land from the Albany River to the Hudson River transferred to Ontario from the Northwest Territories by the Ontario Boundaries Extension Act 1912.
Lieutenant Governor: The Honourable David C. Onley, Ont, 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Representative of Her Majesty the Queen of Canada (Appointed 2007-)
Premier, Minister of Agriculture and Food, and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs: The Honourable Kathleen O. Wynne MPP (Liberal-Don Valley West) (Since February 11 2013).
Legislature: The Legislative Assembly of Ontario has 107 seats of which 49 are held by the governing Ontario Liberal Party, 37 are held by the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (the official opposition), 20 are held by the New Democratic Party of Ontario and 1 seat is vacant.
Subdivisions of Ontario
Capital City: City of Toronto
Largest City: City of Toronto
Other Cities: City of Ottawa, County of Brant, City of Brantford, City of Greater Sudbury, Hamilton, City of Kawartha Lakes,
The County of Prince Edward, City of Thunder Bay, City of Elliot Lake, City of Sault Ste Marie, City of Timmins, City of Dryden, City of Kenora, City of North Bay, City of Temiskaming Shores,
Sub-Divisions: Ontario is divided into 50 sub-divisions of varying types. These can be somewhat confusing. The different types of sub-divisions are regions, counties, the non-functional districts, and single-tier municipalities.
According to the Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) "A regional government is a federation of the local, lower tier municipalities within its boundaries. Regions are referred to as "upper tier" municipalities and provide services such as: arterial roads; transit; policing; sewer and water systems; waste disposal; region-wide land use planning and development; as well as health and social services." There are six regions in Ontario: The Region of Durham, Halton Region, Niagara Region, the Region of Peel, the Region of Waterloo and York Region.
Again according to the AMO "A county government is a federation of the local municipalities within its boundaries. Counties are referred to as "upper tier" municipalities. Counties exist only in southern Ontario. Local municipalities (cities, towns, villages, townships) within counties provide the majority of municipal services to their residents. The services provided by county governments are usually limited to arterial roads, health and social services and county land use planning." There are 23 counties in Ontario: The County of Bruce, County of Dufferin, County of Elgin, County of Essex, County of Frontenac, County of Grey, County of Haliburton, County of Hastings, County of Huron, County of Lambton, The County of Lanark, The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, The County of Lennox and Addington, Middlesex County, the County of Northumberland, County of Oxford, County of Perth, County of Peterborough, Prescott-Russell United Counties, County of Renfrew, County of Simcoe, The United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, and County of Wellington.
The districts, according to AMO "are territorial boundaries that do not serve any municipal government purpose. Only the District Municipality of Muskoka provides services on a regional-scale." The 11 districts are Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, the District Municipality of Muskoka, Nipissing District, Parry Sound, Rain River, Sudbury, Temiskaming, and Thunder Bay.
According to AMO, "Single-tier municipalities exist across Ontario. They include separated municipalities that are geographically located within a county (see County list) but are not part of the county for the municipal purposes. Single-tier municipalities also include all northern municipalities (see Northern list) where there is no upper-tier governance at the District level. Finally single-tier municipalities include those former county or regional municipalities that have recently been amalgamated into single-tier municipality. Single-tier municipalities have responsibilities for all local services to their residents."
There are 11 single-tier municipalities (County of Brant (a city), City of Brantford, Municipality of Chatham-Kent (formerly County of Kent,) City of Greater Sudbury, Haldimand County (a town), City of Hamilton, City of Kawartha Lakes (formerly County of Victoria), Norfolk County (a town), City of Ottawa, The County of Prince Edward (a city) and the City of Toronto.
Source: Association of Municipalities Ontario