Tourist and Traveler Information for Ontario
Languages, Heritage and Religion
English is Ontario�s official language, although French language rights have been extended to the legal and educational systems. In many communities in Northern Ontario French is as easily spoken as English, thanks to our French-Canadian history.
Ontario�s population growth has depended on immigration ever since the American Revolution sent Loyalists north to Canada. Even today, about half of the approximately 250,000 people who immigrate to Canada each year, choose to settle in Ontario. (Toronto has been called the most multicultural city in the world, where more than 70 languages are spoken.)
According to the 1996 census by Statistics Canada, the five languages most commonly spoken at home are English (almost nine million speakers), French (almost 540,000 speakers), Chinese (almost 275,000 speakers), Italian (almost 140,000 speakers) and Portuguese (about 92,000 speakers).
Other significant languages include Polish, Spanish, Punjabi, German and Greek.
According to the 1991 census, the largest religious denomination is Roman Catholic, with more than 3.5 million members. The United Church has about 1.5 million members, the Anglican Church more than one million, and non-United Presbyterians exceed 400,000.
Other major religious adherents include Baptists (more than 250,000), Lutherans (more than 225,000), Jewish (175,000), Greek Orthodox (almost 170,000), Muslims (145,000) and Hindus (more than 105,000). The numbers are not available but there is a large, growing and active Wiccan/Pagan culture.