Lake Ontario, ON - Trudie Gilbert

My Watermark is Lake Ontario.

Lake Ontario is important to me because when I was a little kid I loved swimming. I’ve been in water pretty much since I was baby. And my grandmother use to take me to the Toronto Islands, and I would get so excited to get into the water. I would start ripping off my clothes and she'd be chasing me around the beach.

I would try to dive in the water before I could even stand properly. And she would grab me before I would put my head under and tell me only to my ankles. They never really gave me an explanation as to why I couldn’t put my head in.

But I had always grown up with the message that Lake Ontario is dirty and you can’t swim in it, especially not in the city. You have to travel hours away from the city to be able to swim. Which is a really sad way to grow up thinking about your body of water.

Because that message has stook almost my whole life it’s taken me a long time to actually go in the water. I had heard several times that the message had been erased, because people told me it wasn’t true, that the water had been cleaned up. And I never really questioned that either, I just started believing that as well.

But now as an adult I’ve started going to places like Woodbine Beach. I love going to the beach with my family and friends. I also work with youth so I love to take them there to play and splash around in the water.

I feel like I bring them there because it was a special experience for me, and letting them experience the water unlike most people who grew up with that notion of the water being dirty. Especially if they’ve never been swimming before, I love getting their feet wet. And giving them that chance to build a connection with the water, like I had growing up.

Lake Ontario, ON
Claire Lawson
Trudie Gilbert

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