By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
You likely know that Lake Ontario is one of the Great Lakes that comprises a good share of our northern border. You probably have a few favorite Lake Ontario beaches you know well or perhaps a great fishing spot. But you likely don’t know these 10 tidbits about it.
Upstate New Yorker Susan Peterson Gately knows a few things about Lake Ontario. She wrote the non-fiction book “Saving the Beautiful Lake: A Quest for Hope;” “Ariel’s World;” and two fiction titles set on Lake Ontario, “Widow Maker” and more recently “Shifting Winds.” She has sailed on the Great Lakes for decades, from a 19-ft. sloop to a 47-ft. gaff rigged schooner.
Here’s what Gately says:
“Lake Ontario is part of the largest freshwater ecosystem in the world.
“Our lake reverses the usual order of things in that Canadians greatly outnumber Americans on this Great Lake. Something like 25% of Canada’s population lives within its watershed.
“I’m pretty sure Oswego is the only U.S. city directly on Lake Ontario. Rochester is about 8 miles inland on the Genesee River.
“More than nine million people depend on Lake Ontario for drinking water
“There is an effort to promote legal standing for various bodies of water including the Great Lakes. Many people believe “personhood” for lakes and rivers is the only way we can adequately protect water for future generations.
“The oldest continuously operating facility for refining radioactive material in the world is still going in Port Hope Ontario. It was started up by the Eldorado Gold Mining Co. to
Is bigger better? Concerning surface area, Lake Ontario is the smallest of the Great Lakes. It’s also not that deep, ranking second smallest of the Great Lakes in depth.
But it is the 14th largest lake on earth.
Which did people name first, Ontario County, New York, or Lake Ontario? The county was established in 1789; the lake was named on maps in 1656. The county was named after the lake.
In 1914, George Herman “Babe” Ruth of the Providence Grays was yet an unknown, 19-year-old. At bat at Hanlan’s Point Stadium, he stepped to the plate to face a Maple Leaf pitcher. He hit his first major league homerun and, as the story goes, the ball sailed over the fence and plopped into Lake Ontario. Some claim to have recovered the ball; others say it’s still in the lake.