Ontario is a city in San Bernardino County, California. The 1834 secularization of California land holdings resulted in the land’s transferral to private hands. In 1881, the Chaffey brothers George and William purchased the land (which at that time also included the present-day city of Upland) and the water rights to it. They engineered a drainage system channeling water from the foothills of Mount Baldy down to the flatter lands below that performed the dual functions of allowing farmers to water their crops and preventing the floods that periodically afflict them. They also created the main thoroughfare of Euclid Avenue (California Highway 83), with its distinctive wide lanes and grassy median.
The new “Model Colony” (called so because it offered the perfect balance between agriculture and the urban comforts of schools, churches, and commerce) was originally conceived as a dry town, early deeds containing clauses forbidding the manufacture or sale of alcoholic beverages within the town. The two named the town “Ontario” in honor of the province of Ontario in Canada, where they were born. Ontario was incorporated as a city in 1891.
Today Ontario is home to the Los Angeles/Ontario International Airport, Citizens Business Bank Arena and Ontario Mills Shopping Center. Much of the City’s agriculture and farmland has been replaced by residential neighborhoods, and business/industrial parks.
While some remnants of the city’s former dairy, vintner and olive growing history are still evident, and manufacturing has waned, warehousing and the service industry prevail in Ontario.
According to the City’s 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are: LA/Ontario International Airport, United Parcel Service, Pro’s Rancho Markets, City of Ontario, U.S. Merchants, Mag Instruments, Citizens Business Bank, The Icee Company, Marriot, Toyota.
Ontario has 25 public elementary schools, six public middle schools and five public high schools under the combined oversight of four school districts. There are also several private schools throughout the city as well as two private military schools. Ontario also has ninetrade schools. The University of La Verne College of Law and Chaffey College Ontario Campus are located in downtown Ontario.National University, Argosy University,Ontario and Chapman University have a satellite campus near the Ontario Mills mall.