The Central Region includes the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. The provinces of Ontario and Quebec are together Central Canada. It covers 2.6 million square kilometres, or just over 26% of Canada.
Ontario is Canada’s leading manufacturing province. An abundance of natural resources, excellent transportation links to the American heartland, and the inland Great Lakes making ocean access possible via container ships, have all contributed to making manufacturing the principal industry. Manufacturing is found mainly in the Golden Horseshoe region, which is the largest industrialized area in Canada. Important products include motor vehicles, iron, steel, food, electrical appliances, machinery, chemicals, and paper.
Mining and the forest products industry, notably pulp and paper, are vital to the economy of Northern Ontario. More than any other region, tourism contributes heavily to the economy of Central Ontario, peaking during the summer months owing to the abundance of fresh water recreation and wilderness found there in reasonable proximity to the major urban centres. At other times of the year, hunting, skiing and snowmobiling are popular. This region has some of the most vibrant fall colour displays anywhere on the continent, and tours directed at overseas visitors are organized to see them. Tourism also plays a key role in border cities with large casinos, among them Windsor, Cornwall, Sarnia and Niagara Falls, which attract many US visitors.
Quebec has an advanced, market-based and open economy. Like most industrialized countries, the economy of Quebec is based mainly on the services sector. Quebec has abundant natural resources and a well-developed infrastructure. Quebec’s economy has undergone tremendous changes over the last decade. Firmly grounded in the knowledge economy, more than 1.1 million Quebecois work in the field of science and technology, which represents more than 30% of Quebec’s gross domestic product. Quebec is experiencing faster growth of its research and development spending than other Canadian provinces. The percentage spend on research and technology is the highest in Canada, and higher than the averages for the G7 countries.
Quebec is also a major player in several leading edge industries including aerospace, information technologies, and software and multimedia. Approximately 60% of the production of the Canadian aerospace industry is from Quebec.
The mining industry accounted for approximately 6.3 % of Quebec’s gross domestic product. The pulp and paper industries generate annual shipments valued at more than $14 billion. The forest products industry ranks second in exports, with shipments valued at almost $11 billion. It is also the main, and in some circumstances only, source of manufacturing activity in more than 250 municipalities in the province. Agri-food industry plays an important role in the economy of Quebec. It accounts for 8% of the Quebec’s GDP.
Approximately 21.6 million people, or roughly 61% of Canadians, call Central Canada home.
Quebec is the only province of Canada in which the official first language is French.
While Toronto is the largest city of Canada, with more than 2.6 million people in the city, and more than 5.5 million people living in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), it is not Canada’s capital. Canada’s capitol is Ottawa, in Ontario’s eastern corner, and bordering Quebec.