Upper Canada

Province of Upper Canada
Flag of Upper Canada
Map of Upper Canada (in orange) with 21st-century Canada (in pink) surrounding it
Map of Upper Canada (in orange) with 21st-century Canada (in pink) surrounding it
StatusBritish colony
CapitalNewark 1792–1797 (renamed Niagara 1798, Niagara-on-the-Lake 1970)
York (later renamed Toronto in 1834) 1797–1841
Common languagesEnglish
GovernmentFamily Compact oligarchy
under a
Constitutional monarchy
• 1791–1820
George III
• 1820–1830
George IV
• 1830–1837
William IV
• 1837–1841
Lieutenant-Governor; Executive Council of Upper Canada 
LegislatureParliament of Upper Canada
Legislative Council
Legislative Assembly
Historical eraBritish Era
26 December 1791
10 February 1841
1836[1]258,999 km2 (100,000 sq mi)
• 1823[1]
• 1836[1]
CurrencyHalifax pound
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Province of Quebec (1763–1791)
United Province of Canada
Today part of


Part of a series on the
History of Ontario
Coat of arms of Ontario.svg
First Nations
Pays d'en Haut1500s–1763
Upper Canada1791–1841
Canada West1841–1867
Upper Canada Topics
Province of Canada Topics
Province of Ontario topics
Flag of Ontario.svg Ontario portal

The Province of Upper Canada (French: province du Haut-Canada) was a part of British Canada established in 1791 by the Kingdom of Great Britain, to govern the central third of the lands in British North America and to accommodate Loyalist refugees of the United States after the American Revolution. The new province remained, for the next fifty years of growth and settlement, the colonial government of the territory.

Upper Canada existed from its establishment on 26 December 1791 to 10 February 1841 when it was united with adjacent Lower Canada to form the Province of Canada. The "upper" prefix in the name reflects its geographic position along the Great Lakes, mostly above the headwaters of the Saint Lawrence River, contrasted with Lower Canada (present-day Quebec) to the northeast.

Upper Canada included all of modern-day Southern Ontario and all those areas of Northern Ontario in the Pays d'en Haut which had formed part of New France, essentially the watersheds of the Ottawa River or Lakes Huron and Superior, excluding any lands within the watershed of Hudson Bay.


The Province of Quebec in 1774

The control that the French had over Canada was handed over to Great Britain in 1763 when the Treaty of Paris ended the Seven Years' War in America. The territories of modern southern Ontario and southern Quebec were initially maintained as the single Province of Quebec, as it had been under the French. From 1763 to 1791, the Province of Quebec maintained its French language, cultural behavioural expectations, practices and laws. This status was renewed and reinforced by the Quebec Act of 1774, which expanded Quebec's territory to include part of the Indian Reserve to the west (i.e., parts of southern Ontario), and other western territories south of the Great Lakes including much of what would become the United States' Northwest Territory, including the modern states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota.

The part of the province west of Montreal and Quebec in the upper river basin soon began receiving many English-speaking Protestant United Empire Loyalists who arrived in the area as refugees from the American Revolution. This region quickly became culturally distinct. While the act addressed some religious issues, it did not appease those used to English law.

"Upper Canada" became a political entity on 26 December 1791 with the Parliament of Great Britain's passage of the Constitutional Act of 1791. The act divided the Province of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada. The division was effected so that Loyalist American settlers and British immigrants in Upper Canada could have English laws and institutions, and the French-speaking population of Lower Canada could maintain French civil law and the Catholic religion. The first lieutenant-governor was John Graves Simcoe.

On 1 February 1796, the capital of Upper Canada was moved from Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) to York (now Toronto), which was judged to be less vulnerable to attack by the Americans.

The Act of Union 1840, passed 23 July 1840 by the British Parliament and proclaimed by the Crown on 10 February 1841, merged Upper Canada with Lower Canada to form the short-lived United Province of Canada.

Other Languages
Ænglisc: Ūpcanada
العربية: كندا العليا
català: Alt Canadà
čeština: Horní Kanada
Deutsch: Oberkanada
español: Alto Canadá
Esperanto: Supra Kanado
français: Haut-Canada
한국어: 어퍼캐나다
hrvatski: Gornja Kanada
Bahasa Indonesia: Kanada Hulu
italiano: Alto Canada
Nederlands: Opper-Canada
português: Canadá Superior
română: Canada de Sus
svenska: Övre Kanada
Türkçe: Yukarı Kanada
українська: Верхня Канада
中文: 上加拿大