Gerald M. Craig's history, first published fifty years ago, is still considered one of the best depictions of Upper Canada ever written. Beginning in the early 1770s, Craig evocatively recounts the region's development from a "few scattered pioneer settlements" to an advanced society in the early 1840s. In these years, Ontario as we know it was forged, from education, transportation, and government to relations with the newly independent United States of America. Ontario's formative years were marked by growth and change, as well as political upheaval. In the late 1770s, the fertile land of what would become Upper Canada was sparsely settled. As some forty thousand British Loyalists left revolutionary America and moved north and west, many came to this region, bringing with them a wide range of expectations, knowledge, and skills - not to mention a new range of problems. Land was purchased from the Mississaugas and other First Nations groups and allocated to the Loyalists to build homes and farms, paving the way for future land conflict. As Craig recounts, British officials began to organize a government that could accommodate the newcomers, as well as French- and English-speakers. This entailed, among other things, addressing the overall constitutional issue of Canada. A legislative council, legislative assembly, and governor were installed, modelled on the British parliamentary system - a structure that would undergo significant change over the next sixty years. In vivid detail Craig retells the landmark events of the time, including the abolishment of slavery, establishment of a bilingual nation, the Family Compact, the War of 1812, and the Rebellions of 1837. At the end of his history is the formation of the Province of Canada in 1841 - the country's final incarnation before Confederation.