Canada, and Ontario in particular, was built on local, natural forms of energy. Settlers depended on biomass energy from forest lands which that had to be cleared for production of food. Subsequent heating energy was based on the ‘back forty’, wood from forests beyond areas needed for agriculture. Newcomers had no choice but to be self sufficient. Upper and lower Canada were settled by pioneers from Europe as well as Empire Loyalists fleeing from the American revolution. Local institutions developed electrical generation and physical energy from water wheels in streams and rivers. Many towns, schools, hospitals and industries were established in proximity to natural energy sources. Many old dams are still evident though turbines have been dismantled in favour of new technology such as flicking a switch in order to access the electrical grid.

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