Lake Erie, ON - Mark Rudolph
My Watermark is about one of the five Great Lakes, Lake Erie, particularly about Nickel Beach in Port Colborne, Ontario where I was born and raised.
We originally lived on Tennessee Avenue on the west side of the Welland Canal. Our home was on the road but we were opposite the beach; we could see still see the lake from the house.
When I was 11 years old, my father had acquired and helped rebuild what we lovingly call the “Beach House”. In late June of 1967, the country’s centennial year, we had just moved to the renovated beach house on the lake, and we had a wonderful time. But about three weeks after we moved, there was a cover story in TIME magazine that came out which declared that Lake Erie was dead.
Algal blooms, which were omnipresent in the Great Lakes at that time, had caused it to choke and nearly suffocate. It was a conflicting time for me because it was so exciting to live on the beach but at the same time so upsetting to see the TIME magazine article. We spent that summer raking up the dead fish and seagulls we found every day on the beach and buried them in the sand.
That summer is when and where my environmental ethics came to be. I dreamed of moving to and living at the beach house, only to have TIME magazine declare that the lake we lived on was dead. This motivated me to get involved in many facets of the environmental movement in Canada. Since then, through various political and consulting positions as well as community activism, I have been trying to make the environment a little bit better tomorrow than it is today. If it hadn’t have been for that TIME magazine article, I wouldn’t have gotten the kick in the pants I needed to join the collective of people to help protect the environment.