Crown land is one of Ontario’s greatest natural assets. It makes up about 87 per cent or 937,000 square kilometers of the province’s land mass – an area the size of British Columbia or four times the size of the United Kingdom! The Ministry of Natural Resources is responsible for managing Ontario’s Crown land in a way that balances social, economic and environmental interests.
Most of the Crown land in Ontario is owned and managed by the province. However, some Crown land including national parks, Indian reserves and some harbours and canal systems fall under the control of the federal government. Public ownership of Crown land allows a wide range of economic, recreational and social activities to take place side by side. Industries such as forestry, mining and commercial tourism can co-exist on the same landscape as recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, bird watching, hiking and camping.
Did you Know?
The land under the beds of most navigable lakes and rivers is also Crown land.
There is very little Crown land in southern Ontario. On the other hand, Crown land makes up over 95 per cent of the land base of northern Ontario.
The “rules” governing the administration of Crown land are laid out in a provincial law known as the Public Lands Act. In this legislation, the term “public land” means Crown land. However, beyond this legislation, the term public land is sometimes used to mean any land that is controlled or owned by a public agency – whether it’s provincial, federal or municipal.