Nestled in the San Bernardino Valley, Ontario is a city at a crossroads. It is expansive at nearly fifty square miles and strategically situated along Interstates 10 and 15 with one of the metropolitan area’s largest airports within its borders. While seemingly built for an on-the-go lifestyle, Ontario offers a homey yet vibrant historic downtown that looks to the past and the towering San Gabriel Mountains as an anchor. For the Amgen Tour of California, Ontario and Mt. Baldy have become synonymous. For the fourth time in its history, the peloton begins their long and arduous trek to the Mt. Baldy ski lift here. Hosting the Queen Stages of the 2019 Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered with SRAM and the men’s Amgen Tour of California will give fans and riders a chance to know Ontario’s multifaceted nature.
Ontario shares a similar past with other Valley communities. It originated as citrus farms started by Canadian irrigation pioneers William and George Chaffey in the 1880s as the center of their Southern California empire. Over the next several decades, Ontario flourished as a “model irrigation colony” as declared by Congress in 1903. Euclid Avenue was the masterpiece of the Chaffey’s innovative experiment. Constructed in 1882, this was a two hundred-foot-wide thoroughfare that connected the entire community from north to south. To complete the picture, a gravity mule bus rolled up and down the middle divide before an electric trolley took its place several years later. Now the entire length makes up the Euclid Avenue Historic District, eight tree-shaded miles from Route 60 to the mountains. A historic mule car still rules the median at the corner of Euclid and B to commemorate this past.
Ontario’s bustling downtown remains the heart of this thriving community. Situated alongside the old Southern Pacific railroad, it was this commercial district that kept Ontario sustained as an original crossroads. Ontario benefitted heavily from the boom and bust of the roaring 1920s and depression-era projects. A walking tour of downtown brings this past to life. See the Art Deco Granada Theater or the Italian Renaissance Revival Old Post Office and the ornate Mediterranean-style city hall, all within a five-block stroll. For an older demonstration of the city’s past, be sure to visit the Graber Olive House in the College Park Historic District just one-mile north of downtown. This factory was once surrounded by olive groves and speaks to Ontario’s original fertile history. Today, the Graber business in Ontario is limited to a factory and store but retains the proud title as the city’s oldest existing business - since 1894. Even in busy Ontario, the presence of the Amgen Tour of California and Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered with SRAM once again gives life to one of cycling’s great routes, from beautiful tree-lined Euclid Avenue to Mt. Baldy’s steepest slopes.