Lake Ontario

lake-ont-head.jpgLake Ontario

Sailing, power boating, fishing or touring around on land - Lake Ontario, the smallest of the five Great Lakes, has something for everyone.

Within the Great Lakes, water flows from west to east into the Atlantic Ocean. The major inflow to Lake Ontario is from Lake Erie via the Niagara River. The lake is drained by the St. Lawrence River at the Northeast end of the lake.

One of the things that characterizes the Canadian boating experience is its accessibility. In the case of Lake Ontario, boaters can access the waterway via the Atlantic Ocean and the St. Lawrence River to the east, the other Great Lakes to the west, and from the United States via the Erie Canal, the Hudson River or the Mississippi.

Within eastern Ontario, Lakeside communities include Port Hope, Cobourg, Brighton, Trenton, Belleville, Bath and Kingston.

Geography and Zoology

The shoreline of Lake Ontario is known for magnificent beaches and inspiring parks.

lake-ontario-1-heron.jpgAt Sandbanks Provincial Park, giant sand dunes and golden beaches form two of the largest freshwater baymouth sandbars in the world. Efforts to stabilize shifting sands disturbed by farming have revived distinctive dune plants such as bluets, butterfly weed and sand spurge. Trails feature dune stairs to protect this delicate vegetation.

A mecca for birdwatchers every spring and fall, Presqu'ile Provincial Park south of Brighton is a major flyway for migrating birds, home to waterfowl and shorebirds, and a staging point for Mexico-bound monarch butterflies. A long boardwalk crosses wetlands where marsh birds live and fish spawn. On islands to the west, colonies of gulls, cormorants, terns and herons nest. At the tip of the park are Ontario's second-oldest operating lighthouse and the original lighthouse keeper's cottage.

And such discovery is not limited to parks. Visitors will enjoy Cobourg's picturesque waterfront. Spectacular hundred-year-old trees provide visitors with shaded walkways from the town's main street, right down to the water's edge. A safe, white sand beach is groomed daily and in summer, lifeguards watch over activities on the beach.


Fish species in Lake Ontario include Bullhead,Yellow Perch, Eel, White Perch, Lake Whitefish, Sunfish, and Carp. Pacific Salmon were introduced to the lake for the sport fishery. And, from several harbours along the Apple Route you can sample some of the best trophy fishing on Lake Ontario.

Water Activities

lake-ontario-2-oldboat.jpgLake Ontario offers water aficionados a host of opportunities to enjoy the waterway. Power boating, sailing, canoeing, kayaking are just some of the water-based activities enjoyed by visitors to Lake Ontario and its many sheltered harbours. Full service marinas and other facilities are located along the way.

The eastern Ontario portion of Lake Ontario is best known for world-class sailing and has hosted the sailing portion of the Olympics because of its many diverse areas, and constant stable winds, most notability, the Kingston Thermal. See the beautiful clear open water, many secluded bays and islands at which to anchor. Great sailing and fishing and the ability to sail full days offer all the adventure a person could want.

Special Events

The Canadian Olympic Regatta Kingston (CORK) is a magnificent event. Whether you're a sailing competitor or an interested observer, it is an exciting event that you'll always remember. Since 1969, over 50,000 sailors have raced in Kingston and many of the approximately 500 CORK volunteers come back every year.

Another annual event is the Kingston/1000 Islands Poker Run. Taking place in August, the Poker Run is a game of chance. Each participating boat navigates a carefully charted course, stopping at five checkpoints along the route. The race is full of speed and excitement. At each checkpoint, you'll see the crew of each boat pick up a sealed envelope containing a single playing card. At the final checkpoint, the envelopes are opened and the crew holding the best poker hand is declared the winner.

Scuba Diving

If you're a scuba enthusiast, the eastern portion of Lake Ontario is a not-to-be missed destination. Two-thirds or more of the shipwrecks that occurred on Lake Ontario during the schooner and early steam era, took place between Point Petre in Prince Edward County and the Main Duck Islands. Visit Shipwreck Diving, Lake Ontario for further information.


Hike the Waterfront Trail or cycle your way around the scenic countryside. Travel the Loyalist Parkway or the Apple Route and discover craft shows, studios and antique shops. What a great way to spend a day!

lake-ontario-3-lighthouse.jpgThe Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail stretches 350 kilometres along the shore of Lake Ontario, connecting communities from Stoney Creek to Quinte West. It is marked with signs bearing the trail logo. The Waterfront Trail is in Ontario, Canada. Since it was launched in 1995, the Trail has accompanied the protection of the most valued elements of the waterfront, and the transformation of under-utilized and environmentally degraded lands to vibrant places with parks and recreational facilities, green spaces, natural habitats and cultural venues and attractions.

Use of the Trail is as diverse as the 26 cities, towns and villages that the Trail passes through. Trail users enjoy cycling, walking, in-line skating, jogging, birding and/or exploring the vast natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ontario waterfront. The Trail links as many as 184 natural areas, 161 parks and promenades, 84 marinas and yacht clubs, hundreds of historic places, fairs, museums, art galleries and festivals.

The Apple Route is a scenic drive through Northumberland County offering a vibrant range of activities. The Route passes through the communities of Port Hope, Cobourg, Colborne/Grafton, Brighton and Quinte West. Museums and galleries flourish in all the communities along the route and more than 60 antique stores cater to tastes from the primitive to the formal. Beaches, public parks, wildlife sanctuaries and public footpaths all provide access to some of the prettiest landscapes in southern Ontario. Along the way, Presqu'ile Provincial Park is an enormous resource for campers and birders.

The Loyalist Parkway is a 100 km scenic route between Kingston and Trenton, opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1984. The area through which the Parkway runs has a wide range of cultural features, not only in historical context but in present time. Varied and spectacular scenery, rural traditions and natural assets have made it a haven for artists and craftspeople. As an alternate route between Trenton and Kingston, the Loyalist Parkway offers a wide choice of accommodation, sightseeing and recreation for the whole family. A one meter wide paved shoulder has been provided for cyclists along its length. And, there are over 40 listed archaeological sites and at least 125 notable heritage buildings adjacent to the Parkway.

Wineries and much more!

Prince Edward County, including Picton is the fourth wine region in Ontario. The growing season is as long as the Niagara Region, but the winters are colder. Vineyards are next to Lake Ontario, which has a moderating effect on air temperatures. The area is already the site of rich farm land. Several wineries are open in the region, including Waupoos Estate Winery, Carmela Estates Winery and The County Cider Company. Prince Edward County is also home to a brewery and cheese factory. And don't forget to stop by the many road side stands and sample some of the region's best produce or pick your own at orchards and farms throughout the region.


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