Lake Ontario, ON - Rupert Davies
My Watermark is Lake Ontario, ON.
In the Huron language, the name Ontario means "Lake of Shining Waters". It is one of the five great lakes and is the last in the chain before leading into the Atlantic Ocean through the St Lawrence River. As far as freshwater goes, the great lakes are one of the water wonders of the world. They offer as a tremendous resource to both Canada and the United States. Millions of people utilize Lake Ontario each year for watersports, boating, or relaxing along the shores. It is also a great source for hydropower and drinking water, and the waters are bountiful in aquatic and bird species, which can be experienced in close proximity to major populations.
I can’t remember a time where I haven't been close to Lake Ontario. Having grown up in Toronto and having my extended family growing up in Kingston, my leisure time has been filled with swimming and playing water sports in the water and sailing and rowing on top of the water. For the past 4 years, I have been a member of my high school rowing team. This requires me getting myself to the water every morning by 5:30 during the fall and spring seasons. This routine has become a ritual to me. I feel that I have developed a friendship with Lake Ontario after all these visits. With exception to the strenuous workouts, while we are resting on the water, the nature around me acts as a morning meditation. Everything is silent but the sound of the birds calling out from the sanctuary on Mugg’s island, one of the many islands off the shores of Toronto.
Even though we work up a real sweat during our 3 by 15-minute pieces, we recognize that it is required we bring our own bottled water. It is ironic that we are surrounded by millions of gallons of water and yet if we forget our water bottles, we are going to go thirsty to avoid getting sick. This year I chose to do a lab experiment for my environmental systems class on the water quality in the area of our docks. From sampling the water each day, I learned about the different elements that can be found in water and the suitable levels at which they make the water clean and suitable for aquatic life. I have researched and discovered that more and more beaches are warning swimmers about the potential hazards in the water such as bacteria from algae blooms and agricultural and sewage runoff. I have seen correlations between rainfall and sewage runoff from the nearby Ashbridges Bay Wastewater and Sewage Treatment plant, the second largest treatment plant in Canada.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is a charity that is committed to helping create clean drinkable, fishable, and swimmable water by bringing people together to fight against pollution and protect human health and animal habitat protection. The community of around 20,000 is proud to have secured $1.4-billion in commitments for contaminated site cleanups around Southern Ontario and saved more than 1.6 billion fish. It is important to recognize the good work that this charity is doing but the Lake can always receive more help. I am strongly attached to this lake and am committed to finding out more about what I can do to contribute.