Laurel Creek, ON - Laura Hetherington
My Watermark is Laurel Creek, in Waterloo, Ontario.
I grew up there and would always gravitate towards the creek. For me, it was always the sound, the look, and the feel of the water; I just absolutely loved it. It was so refreshing and reviving, and it just made me feel better. I would jump from rock to rock, wade in the water, and even catch fish with my bare hands. It really felt like home.
These experience as a child continue to influence my love for water to this day. I have sailed in different places around the world, and when I moved to Toronto, I wanted to live in the beaches. Water continues to be a very powerful attractor for me.
I was a paddler before I came to Toronto and I didn’t really like the paddling here in the city. Part of the reason was the condition of the water, particularly at the Coatsworth Cut in Ashbridge’s Bay where we would launch out of. This was about 13 years ago when I moved to Toronto; the quality of the water appeared very poor and did not look clean. I had paddled in the Grand River and at Algonquin Park, and for me paddling was always a nature experience, so I really didn’t feel that same connection with paddling in Lake Ontario.
I still don’t think Ashbridge’s Bay water quality has improved -- I haven’t launched anything from there in a number of years, but I don’t think it’s gotten any better. I’ve been involved with the Outer Harbour Community working with the Lake Ontario Park Project, from my understanding, there intention was to create wetlands in that spot to clean and filter the water. I am not sure about the status of the plan, but I have always been very supportive of it.
I very rarely swim in Lake Ontario and never off the docks. If it is a very warm day, on rare occasions we may sail far out into the middle of harbour and jump in there, as it’s cooler there and more refreshing. There’s definitely a smell to the body of water, not necessarily a bad smell, but there is definitely an odour.