Fairy Lake, ON - Mark Schlosser

My Watermark is Fairy Lake, Ontario.

I grew up in the heart of Old Newmarket.

This recalls Camp Newlaka summer camp, the Main Street Farmers' Market, the Tom Taylor Trail boardwalk, and so many other vivid images of my childhood. These images all share a focal point in Fairy Lake. The downtown cornerstone Water Street Bridge provided what was (and still is) an endless distraction for me—watching the water rush over the dam into what is now the redeveloped Riverwalk Commons.

It was no secret that the geese staked their claims of ownership on the asphalt, so naturally, we'd all spend a lot of time with our feet in the water.

In August 2003, I was 9. The open water I was raised on was suddenly surrounded by safety fencing and was marked with signs urging people not to pass. I'll always remember seeing dead fish float through the waterways and shallow streams that feed the lake. It was a very startling image for all of us. At the time, meeting a snapping turtle was a neat experience for my family, though now realizing it was relocating itself from the water is a sad truth from our impact on its habitat.

A power outage had sent raw sewage spilling out from an Aurora pumping station, causing public beach closures and health advisories for people who had come in contact with the water for towns all across York Region.

It was not long before the water was restored, but the threat of danger in such an important developmental place in my life is something I have not forgotten.

Matthew Chisholm
Mark Schlosser

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