Lake Ontario, ON - Joyce McLean
My Watermark is Lake Ontario, ON.
I live in Toronto and I am a longtime environmentalist. I grew up in Toronto and I always had a relationship with Lake Ontario because my dad worked in the port area. My ‘aha’ moment came in my teenage years when I realized how polluted the Great Lakes were becoming.
I was very aware that we lived on a large lake, but other than visiting where my dad worked in the portlands area, we didn’t really have that much of a relationship with the whole Great Lakes system. But I had a big relationship to water because we had a cottage as a family. That was very important to me; my dad was really a naturalist ands I became involved with a lot of the issues and loved nature from an early age.
I don’t think I have a favourite area. I’ve been to all 5 lakes, and actually in my Green Peace life, we led a boat tour through all of the lakes and we went to 33 different places on the Great Lakes. I think the big message is that the entire ecosystem is just so beautiful and most people are not connected to it in a way that I think we all should be because it’s such an important natural resource.
My schooling is in journalism and communications. After I left Toronto and moved to British Columbia to get away from, in part, the pollution here, I got involved in Green Peace through some friends. When I went to join the organization, I told them I’d give them a year and I lasted for ten. In the interim, they moved my family from BC to back Ontario, and one of the focuses became working on and developing a campaign for Great Lakes.
I care on behalf of millions of people who may not know about the problems in the Great Lakes. It’s our major source of drinking water, it’s a huge source of recreation, it’s many, many things. It’s a very complicated ecosystem, but it does represent the home of 50 plus million people. It’s a very important resource for all of North America.