Ontario County, New York

Coordinates: 42.85°N 77.29°W

Ontario County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 107,931.[1] The county seat is Canandaigua.[2]

Ontario County is part of the Rochester, New York metropolitan area.

In 2006, Progressive Farmer rated Ontario County as the "Best Place to Live" in the U.S., for its "great schools, low crime, excellent health care" and its proximity to Rochester. 


When counties were established in New York State in 1683, the present Ontario County was part of Albany County. This was an enormous county, including the northern part of New York State as well as all of the present State of Vermont and, in theory, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. This county was reduced in size on July 3, 1766 by the creation of Cumberland County, and further on March 16, 1770 by the creation of Gloucester County, both containing territory now in Vermont.

On March 12, 1772, what was left of Albany County was split into three parts, one remaining under the name Albany County. One of the other pieces, Tryon County, contained the western portion (and thus, since no western boundary was specified, theoretically still extended west to the Pacific). The eastern boundary of Tryon County was approximately five miles west of the present city of Schenectady, cutting through the Mohawk River valley. The county included the western part of the Adirondack Mountains and the area west of the West Branch of the Delaware River. The area then designated as Tryon County was later organized as 37 counties of New York State. The county was named for William Tryon, colonial governor of New York.

In the years shortly before 1776, most of the Loyalists in Tryon County fled to Canada, as tensions and physical conflicts were rising in central New York. In 1784, following the peace treaty that ended the American Revolutionary War, the name of Tryon County was changed to honor the Continental general, Richard Montgomery. He had captured several places in Canada and died trying to capture the city of Quebec. It replaced the name of the hated British governor. Seth Reed, a Colonel in the Battle of Bunker Hill, moved here with his family as a pioneer between 1787 and 1795. see also Geneva (town), New York[3]

Land-hungry settlers from New England swept into upstate and western New York after the Revolution, as nearly five million acres of new lands were available for purchase since the Iroquois had been forced to cede most of their territories to the United States. Four tribes had allied with the British and were mostly resettled in Canada: the Mohawk, Onondaga, and Seneca.

In 1789, Ontario County was split off from Montgomery. The territory first organized as Ontario County was much larger than at present and lay along the shore of Lake Ontario. As the area was settled, new counties were organized. At first it included what are currently twelve other counties and parts of two more: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Steuben, Wyoming, and Yates counties, and parts of Schuyler and Wayne counties.

In 1796, Ontario County was divided and Steuben County was organized.

In 1802, Ontario County was reduced when Genesee County was split off. The new county was originally very large, including the present Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Niagara,Orleans and Wyoming Counties and parts of Livingston and Monroe counties.

In 1821, portions of Genesee County were combined with portions of Ontario County to create Livingston and Monroe counties.

In 1823, a portion of Seneca County was combined with a portion of Ontario County to create Wayne County. The same year, a portion of Steuben County was combined with a portion of Ontario County to create Yates County.

 Map of New York highlighting Ontario County
Location in the state of New York
Map of the United States highlighting New York
New York's location in the U.S.
Founded 1789
Named for Lake Ontario
Seat Canandaigua
Largest city Geneva
 • Total 662 sq mi (1,715 km2)
 • Land 644 sq mi (1,668 km2)
 • Water 18 sq mi (47 km2), 2.72
 • (2010) 107,931
 • Density 168/sq mi (64.7/km²)
Congressional districts 23rd, 27th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.co.ontario.ny.us 

Great Awakening

This frontier area was part of the center of evangelistic activities during the Second Great Awakening, when Baptist, Methodist and Congregational preachers traveled and organized revivals and camp meetings. In addition, independent sects developed in central and western New York during this period, including the Shakers.

Latter Day Saint movement

Home of the Joseph Smith, Sr. family in Manchester, known as the "frame home".
See also: History of the Latter Day Saint movement

Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, lived in Manchester in the 1820s on the border with Palmyra. Several events in the early history of the movement occurred in Ontario County. Hill Cumorah in Manchester is where Smith said he discovered the Golden plates which contained the writings later known as the Book of Mormon. Smith visited the hill each year on the fall equinox (September 22) between 1823 and 1827, and claimed to be instructed by the Angel Moroni. Smith said he was finally permitted to take the record on September 22, 1827. He published the Book of Mormon in Palmyra in 1830. The 110-foot (34 m) hill (which was then unnamed) is on the main road toward Canandaiguafrom Palmyra to Manchester (modern State Route 21); it was a few miles from Joseph Smith's home.

Since the 1930s The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has held the Hill Cumorah Pageant annually at the hill. It regularly attracts thousands to its performances.[4] The church also maintains a visitors' center at the hill, the Palmyra New York Temple, and the former Smith property and homes. The latter property straddles the border between Ontario and Wayne counties.


Ontario County is in western New York State, east of Buffalo, southeast of Rochester, and northwest of Ithaca. The county is within the Finger Lakes Region of the state. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 662 square miles (1,716 km²), of which 644 square miles (1,669 km²) is land and 18 square miles (47 km²) (2.72%) is water.[5]

Adjacent counties
  • Wayne County - north
  • Seneca County - east
  • Yates County - south
  • Steuben County - southwest
  • Livingston County - west
  • Monroe County - northwest
Major highways
  • I-90.svg Interstate 90 (New York State Thruway)
  • US 20.svg U.S. Route 20
  • US 20A.svg U.S. Route 20A
  • NY-5.svg New York State Route 5
  • NY-14.svg New York State Route 14
  • NY-14A.svg New York State Route 14A
  • NY-21.svg New York State Route 21
  • NY-64.svg New York State Route 64
  • NY-96.svg New York State Route 96

Government and politics

Representation at other levels of government

The county is governed by a Board of Supervisors, and uses the Board-Administrator system with a County Administrator. The Board of Supervisors has twenty-one members, one from each town, two from the city of Canandaigua, and three from the city of Geneva. As of 2004, the county government has over 800 full-time employees (augmented by another 360 seasonal or available part-time workers), and a budget of $136 million. The county is similar to much of the rest of rural Upstate New York by being a Republican leaning county. In 1996, the county voted Democratic for the first time since 1964. In 2008, John McCain narrowly edged a victory over Barack Obama by less than 1%.

OfficeDistrictArea of the countyOfficeholderPartyFirst took officeResidence
Congressman New York's 23rd congressional district Roughly, the west half of the county (Towns of Bristol, Canadice, Canandaigua, East Bloomfield, Farmington, Naples (part), Richmond, South Bristol, Victor, West Bloomfield)[6] Thomas W. Reed II Republican 2010 Corning, Steuben County
Congressman New York's 27th congressional district Roughly, the east half of the county (Towns of Geneva, Gorham, Hopewell, Manchester, Naples (part), Phelps, Seneca)[7] Christopher C. Collins Republican 2013 Clarence, Erie County
State Senator 54th State Senate District Roughly, the northeast corner of the county (Towns of Canandaigua, Farmington, Geneva, Gorham, Hopewell, Manchester, Phelps, Seneca)[8] Michael F. Nozzolio Republican 1993 Fayette, Seneca County
State Senator 55th State Senate District All of the county not covered by the 54th district (Towns of Bristol, Canadice, East Bloomfield, Naples, Richmond, South Bristol, Victor, West Bloomfield)[9] Edward M. "Ted" O'Brien Democratic 2013 Irondequoit, Monroe County
State Assemblyman 131st State Assembly District All[10] Brian M. Kolb Republican 2013 Canandaigua, Ontario County

Ontario County is part of:

  • The 7th Judicial District of the New York Supreme Court
  • The 4th Division of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division


Historical population
1790 1,075  
1800 15,218   1,315.6%
1810 42,032   176.2%
1820 88,267   110.0%
1830 40,288   −54.4%
1840 43,501   8.0%
1850 43,929   1.0%
1860 44,563   1.4%
1870 45,108   1.2%
1880 49,541   9.8%
1890 48,453   −2.2%
1900 49,605   2.4%
1910 52,286   5.4%
1920 52,652   0.7%
1930 54,276   3.1%
1940 55,307   1.9%
1950 60,172   8.8%
1960 68,070   13.1%
1970 78,849   15.8%
1980 88,909   12.8%
1990 95,101   7.0%
2000 100,224   5.4%
2010 107,931   7.7%
Est. 2012 108,519   0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]
2012 Estimate[1]

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 100,224 people, 38,370 households, and 26,360 families residing in the county. The population density was 156 people per square mile (60/km²). There were 42,647 housing units at an average density of 66 per square mile (26/km²). According to respondents' self-identification, the racial makeup of the county was 95.04% White, 2.06% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.69% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.70% from other races, and 1.26% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.14% of the population. Based on self-identification, 17.9% were of German, 14.9% Irish, 14.8% English, 13.8% Italian, 7.3% American and 5.1% Dutch ancestry according to Census 2000. 95.6% spoke English and 2.3% Spanish as their first language.

There were 38,370 households out of which 32.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.00% were married couples living together, 9.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.30% were non-families. 24.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.40% under the age of 18, 8.30% from 18 to 24, 28.40% from 25 to 44, 24.80% from 45 to 64, and 13.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $44,579, and the median income for a family was $52,698. Males had a median income of $36,732 versus $26,139 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,533. About 4.90% of families and 7.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.10% of those under age 18 and 6.40% of those age 65 or over.


  • Canandaigua
  • Geneva
  • Bristol
  • Canadice
  • Canandaigua
  • East Bloomfield
  • Farmington
  • Geneva
  • Gorham
  • Hopewell
  • Manchester
  • Naples
  • Phelps
  • Richmond
  • Seneca
  • South Bristol
  • Victor
  • West Bloomfield
  • Bloomfield
  • Clifton Springs
  • Manchester
  • Naples
  • Phelps
  • Rushville
  • Shortsville
  • Victor

Ontario County New York - Finger Lakes Real Estate Resource

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  • Turner, Eramus (1909). Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase of Western New York. Volume II.
  1. "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  3. Turner, p.319
  4. "A History Lesson". The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. July 8, 2001.
  5. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  6. W, Eric (2012-04-02). "Congressional District 23". View 2012 Congressional Maps. Albany, New York: The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  7. W, Eric (2012-04-02). "Congressional District 27". View 2012 Congressional Maps. Albany, New York: The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  8. W, Eric (2012-03-02). "Senate District 54". View 2012 Senate District Maps. Albany, New York: The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  9. W, Eric (2012-03-02). "Senate District 55". View 2012 Senate District Maps. Albany, New York: The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  10. W, Eric (2012-01-25). "Assembly District 131". View Proposed 2012 Assembly District Maps. Albany, New York: The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  11. "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  12. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.

The data relating to real estate on this web site comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange (IDX) Program of the GENRIS, powered by GENRIS. Real estate listings held by firms other than Coldwell Banker Finger Lakes, are marked with the Broker Reciprocity logo and detailed information about them includes the Listing Broker's Firm Name.

Listing information last updated on June 25th, 2017 at 7:03pm CDT.