Fairy Lake, ON - Sylvie Spraakman

My Watermark is Fairy Lake, Ontario.

I grew up in Newmarket, so a suburb of Toronto. As I grew up and was getting more independence, so in my early teen years, it was important for me to have places to go that were not around parents or around school, but they also had to be within walking distance since I could not drive. I would hang out in Fairy Lake Park with friends, and later boyfriends. So this was an exploration space!

We would interact with the water a little - mostly it was calming to be around it and to look at it and the ducks and the geese. I did try to walk in it once, because it looked so nice to be in the water. But once I was closer, the water was very obviously just filled with goose poop, and the sediment was too soft to stand in without getting stuck!

As I learned more about environmental issues in the wider world through high school and university, I learned that this lake was manmade, and an example of how settlers transformed small creeks into ponds to have a steady source of water for power. This altered what kind of fish and birds lived around the shores. Also the shores were altered - where there were once wetlands and bushes and shrubs, there is now just lawn and parking lots.

So it was an escape at first, and then an example of the impact of human development on the environment later on. It was also good for me to have a reference point - so as I learned about environmental issues out in the world, I also was able to relate them back to a water body that I knew because I grew up next to it.

Claire Lawson
Sylvie Spraakman

Related Watermarks

Fairy Lake, Newmarket, ON
Mark Schlosser