Ontario is home to four of Canada’s 18 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. UNESCO biosphere reserves are places where people share a way of living with nature that celebrates cultural and biological diversity, and empowers people to engage with one another and with nature in healthier ways.
Biosphere reserves foster and share scientific, indigenous, and local knowledge in order to explore new ways of living that solve global challenges and support sustainable development.
The Niagara Escarpment
Designated as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1990 and spanning eight regions in Southwestern Ontario, The Niagara Escarpment stretches 725 km (450 miles), includes Canada’s longest footpath, the Bruce Trail, and is most famous as the cliff over which the Niagara River plunges at Niagara Falls, for which it is named.
Designated as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1986, Long Point National Park is Ontario’s fourth oldest provincial Park, established in 1921 and gas over 1.5 km sandy beach on the warm waters of Lake Erie. Situated in Norfolk County in Southwestern Ontario, Long Point and the surrounding watershed is an area rich with natural and cultural heritage in the heart of Carolinian Canada; home to a wide array of species, biodiverse ecosystems, and incredible scenery.
Designated as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 2004, Eastern Georgian Bay, in Southwestern Ontario, is the world’s largest freshwater archipelago, or groups of islands, that provide a variety of habitats for species at risk.
Designated as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 2001 extending roughly 2,700 sq km (1,700 miles) in southeastern Ontario, The Frontenac Arch Biosphere includes the islands and islets of the St. Lawrence River which are important stepping stones for the migration of plants and animals. This land bridge of the Frontenac Arch is crucial for connecting the Algonquin Highlands, in Ontario, to the Adirondack Mountains, in New York State. Both the Canadian Frontenac Arc Biosphere Reserve and the US Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve are part of the A2A Algonquin to Adirondacks Collaborative protected areas.
There is more to explore in Ontario’s Geography & Environment, for those who want to dig a bit deeper.
To learn more about the 18 Biosphere Reserves in Canada, visit the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association official website.