History

Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is the longest running initiative of Swim Drink Fish. Waterkeeper promotes water literacy, informed-decision making and acts as a model for protecting swimmable, drinkable, fishable water in Canada and beyond.

Swim Drink Fish is a Canadian charity working for a day when every person can safely touch the water, when the water is pure enough to drink, and when the lake is clean and wild enough that you could toss in a line anywhere and pull out a fish.

In May 2000, seven people died after drinking tap water in Walkerton, a southwestern Ontario town. Lawyer Mark Mattson and researcher Krystyn Tully emerged from the ensuing Inquiry determined that no person should ever become ill after swimming, drinking, or fishing from public waters.

With the support of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his global Waterkeeper network, Mattson and Tully created an independent charity dedicated to a swimmable, drinkable, fishable Lake Ontario.

Lake Ontario Waterkeeper believes a swimmable, drinkable, fishable future is possible. This vision takes a commitment to clean water and sound environmental policy, transparent and informed decision-making, public education, and community-building programs.

Swim Drink Fish, a registered Canadian charity, connects people to water. Its seven initiatives, including Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, empower people to stop pollution, protect human health and restore habitat. These initiatives blend science, law, education and storytelling.

Since our launch in 2001, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper has:

  • Helped secure $1.5-billion in commitments for contaminated site cleanups in southern Ontario.

  • Defended public-participation rights in some of the most important legal cases of our time.

  • Saved more than 1.6-million fish.

The Swim Drink Fish community is 3 million people strong and growing every day. 

Support Lake Ontario Waterkeeper's work to ensure a swimmable, drinkable, fishable future.