10 Incredible Things You Didn’t Know About Lake Ontario

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Lake Ontario shoreline

Beautiful Lake Ontario is the easternmost of all the Great Lakes. It is bordered by New York on the south and Canada on the North. The following are 10 incredible things about Lake Ontario you probably didn’t know.

1. There are Several Islands in Lake Ontario that People Actually Live On

There are several islands that exist within Lake Ontario. Amherst Island, Association Island, Galloo Island, Little Gallo Island, and Waupoos Island are but a few that are located in the lake. The largest island is called Wolf Island at 48 square miles. Wolf Island has a population of approximately 1400 and includes restaurants, a bakery, and a church.

2. Lake Ontario Contains a Shipwreck from 1862

Found in 2015, the Bay State had set out from Oswego and was bound for Cleveland and Toledo when it sank in 1862. It was one of the first propeller driven steamships to navigate the waters of the Great Lakes. A ferocious storm caused the captain of the ship to turn back. But the ship began to be torn apart, finally sinking and leaving a field of debris about a quarter of a mile along the bottom of the lake. There are currently no plans to bring the Bay State shipwreck up from the lake.

3. Giant Goldfish Can be Found in the Lake

Lake Ontario is home to a large variety of fish that include walleye, salmon, bass, and trout.  Mussels even populate the waters, covering the bottom of the lake near coastal areas. Many people, however, may not realize that Lake Ontario contains giant goldfish. They often get in the water when they escape ponds during flooding. When in the wild they then have the capability to grow to a massive size.

4. There are Incredibly Elegant Swans in the Lake

Most people may think that ducks, geese, and mallards are the primary bird species in Lake Ontario. While this is true, it may be surprising to learn just how many types of gorgeous swans inhabit the area. The Mute swan, Trumpeter swan, and the Tundra swan are all part of the Ontario landscape. The Mute Swan has even been known to be aggressive around people.

5. Babe Ruth Hit His First Home Run Ball into Lake Ontario

In September 1914, the Babe was playing at Hanlan’s Point Stadium when he hit the ball from Toronto into the lake. This was also 19-year-old Babe Ruth’s first professional baseball game. It’s believed that the ball is still in the lake.

6. There Are More than 100 Beaches on Lake Ontario

When people think of great beaches they likely think of Florida or the coasts, but the Great Lakes provides several amazing beaches. There are so many sandy beaches located along Lake Ontario that it would be difficult to name them all. One of the most popular is Wasaga Beach, which is also the longest freshwater beach on earth.

7. The Lake Provides Drinking Water to About 9 Million People

Lake Ontario is a source of water to people in various parts of Canada as well as New York State. It is estimated that approximately 9 million people rely on the lake for their source of drinking water. The drinking water is tested several times each year.

8. Lake Ontario is the 14th Largest Lake in the World

Even though Lake Ontario is the smallest of the 5 Great Lakes, it’s still the 14th largest lake on the globe. This is calculated by area in square miles. When it comes to depth it is much deeper at over 800 feet than many of the lakes that are higher up on the list.

9. Lake Ontario is Known as the “Lake of Shining Waters”

The word Ontario means “Lake of Shining Waters” in the Huron language. The Huron language was spoken by Native Americans who were part of the Wyandot tribe. Huron was actually the French name for Wyandot. French explorer Samuel de Champlain, however, had called the lake, Lake St. Louis in 1632.

10. Marilyn Bell Swam Across Lake Ontario at Age 16

In 1954, 16-year-old Marilyn Bell swam across the lake in a competition that was sponsored by the Canadian National Exhibition. Bell swam for almost 21 hours under difficult conditions that included waves up to 15 feet and eels attacking her arms and legs. The following year Bell became the youngest individual to swim across the English Channel.