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The region has warm to hot, humid summers and cold winters.
Annual precipitation ranges from 750–1,000 mm (30–39 in) and is well distributed throughout the year.
Land was not legally subdivided into administrative units until a treaty had been concluded with the Aboriginal people ceding the land.
In 1788, while part of the Province of Quebec, southern Ontario was divided into four districts: Hesse, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, and Nassau.
By 1838, there were twenty districts: Bathurst, Brock, Colbourne, Dalhousie, Eastern, Gore, Home, Huron, Johnstown, London, Midland, Newcastle, Niagara, Ottawa, Prince Edward, Simcoe, Talbot, Victoria, Wellington, and Western.
In 1849, the districts of southern Ontario were abolished by the Province of Canada, and county governments took over certain municipal responsibilities.
Most of this region lies in the lee of the Great Lakes, making for abundant snow in some areas.
There is only about 1 km (0.6 mi) of land border made up of portages including Height of Land Portage on the Minnesota border.The Carolinian forest zone covers most of the southwestern region of the province.The temperate and fertile Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Valley in the south is part of the Eastern Great Lakes lowland forests ecoregion where the forest has now been largely replaced by agriculture, industrial and urban development.Northern Ontario occupies roughly 87 percent of the surface area of the province; conversely Southern Ontario contains 94 percent of the population.Point Pelee is a peninsula of Lake Erie in southwestern Ontario (near Windsor and Detroit, Michigan) that is the southernmost extent of Canada's mainland.
A well-known geographic feature is Niagara Falls, part of the Niagara Escarpment.