Lake Ontario, ON - Shameda Saffee

My Watermark is Lake Ontario.

In Toronto, Lake Ontario is a comfort zone, a connection with summer fun, and access to green spaces without the chaos of traffic. It is truly a living entity -an artery of moving, vibrant life - boats, ferries and canoes - planes overhead. For me, it is an indelible part of my history of living in this city since 1975.

Lake Ontario is more than a waterway to travel with sights that are a privilege to view. For Torontonians, it symbolizes access to somewhere beyond the city - to islands blown off the mainland not so long ago - green havens of relief to city dwellers without cottages elsewhere.

We lived on the Harbourfront, Toronto where Lake Ontario was our view morning, night and anytime in between. Moon-rises in the fall were spectacular to see - as beams cast streams of light from sky to surface- creating shimmering paths - fantasy walkways from mainland to island.

We watched seasons change, and saw water run deep blue to pale grey. Since 1989, we also watched the sad spring ritual of floating fish spawn on the surface...a symptom of the illness within the water. And after a few years, there was no more - what happened to the fish? Did they come back? In the years we lived there, the inlet at QQ/Spadina had an amazing population of huge turtles and unidentifiable fish.

Lake Ontario is important in memory to me, because of many experiences with our Toronto Waterfront -from the days of infilling, building up, the Chinese Junk and and a little school. The ferry Ongiara was responsible for taking children to their island school when their landspace at QQ/Bathurst was given to condo developers and the children finished off their year in the Algonquin Club House .

Lake Ontario in Toronto can be a dynamic alternative route to travel from here to Niagara Falls from Toronto to New York state - if only those in charge of decision making, can be dedicated to public service - as they are in other countries where I have seen and experienced amazing ferry services to places beyond crowed cities.

Claire Lawson
Shameda Saffee

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