What would you say if someone asked you, “How can I help Lake Ontario this year?”
This is a common question for the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper team. Our suggestion? Make connecting to Lake Ontario a priority for 2019 and spend more time by the water. The first step to protecting Lake Ontario is connecting to the water.
Connection before protection
You can help Lake Ontario by spending time on the water. Here are some ideas to get you started:
walk along the Waterfront Trail;
go for a polar bear dip;
explore new places like the Gord Edgar Downie Pier;
rent a paddleboard; or,
Connecting to the water can be any of these things, and many others. Connection starts by getting outside.
How spending time on the water helps protect it
Spending time on the water gives you freedom to observe your surroundings. What does the air smell like? Is there a sandy beach? How many people are in the water? Are there any stormwater pipes nearby? Do you see any birds or fish swimming? Are there changes in ice cover?
You really only notice these details when you spend time on the water. These are the intimate details unique to every spot along the shoreline. This is what getting to know your local waters really means.
Making a habit of observing these details lets you notice changes over time.
You might even start asking yourself critical questions: why is plastic washing up on the beach?; is that a migratory bird?; is this where my drinking water comes from?; or, is road salt killing the fish in this river?
Spending time on the water deeply connects you to your surroundings.
Connecting to Toronto’s waterfront
While you may be dreaming of far-away destinations, Toronto’s waterfront has many places to explore close by. Consider exploring Humber Bay Park, Bluffer’s Beach, Hanlan’s Point or Rouge Park. Each is part of Toronto’s waterfront fabric.
While an era of destruction disconnected people from the lake, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper wants to re-ignite your connection to swimmable, drinkable, fishable water. Toronto’s greatest natural asset is its waterfront.
Following Kingston’s example with the Gord Edgar Downie Pier, Toronto could create exciting waterfront destinations connecting people to Lake Ontario for years to come. On January 12, Mark Mattson, President & Waterkeeper, joins a speaker panel to discuss Waterkeeper’s vision for making Ontario Place Toronto’s swimming hub.
So how can you help Lake Ontario this year? By going outside and heading to the water. Make connecting with Lake Ontario a priority this year. The more you connect with the water, the better you can protect it.
Interested in learning how to collect water samples?