Lake Ontario, ON - Mike Austin | Great Lakes Guide
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Lake Ontario, ON

Mike Austin

My Watermark is the Humber Bay Shores of Lake Ontario.

Humber Bay Shores is located just to the west of downtown Toronto. It's kind of one of the last remaining wild parkland areas on this side of the city - at least down on the lakefront.

It’s quite a happening area; you’ve got bars and restaurants and retail all nestled in a jungle of condos all right here on the waterfront. It's just such a beautiful city, especially in the summertime when everybody is out. Everybody comes down here to visit the parks and have a great time.

Humber Bay Shores is comprised of Humber Bay Park East and West. Basically, the Mimico River all the way over to the Humber River which is the big white arch bridge that a lot of people see.

I've had the opportunity to paddle the waters here and be out on the water the majority of the year. I definitely love to go out in the winter time. As long as the water is not frozen we’ll get out there on our paddleboards and tool around and, you know, stay in shape and just get out and just enjoy nature, which is the whole reason why we moved out to this part of the city. It's just a beautiful area.

One thing that started concerning me quite a bit are the amounts of items that I see floating in the water on a normal basis. I reach out to different organisations in my area and within the city. One that has been a great resource has been the Waterkeeper organisation, Swim Drink Fish Canada. They have been very helpful in explaining how these things get out into the waterways and the lake ultimately. It’s interesting to follow the journey, the path where these things come from.

Whether it’s sewer runoff or combined sewer outflows (which are older portions of city sewage infrastructure which hasn’t necessarily been upgraded) being inundated with extra water. There is actually water inside these systems overflowing the barriers that are supposed to prevent them from discharging into the lake.

As a paddleboarder, a surfer, as someone who is in the water around here a lot (as well as all the other great lakes), the general rule of thumb is to not go in the water 48 hours after rainfall. Unfortunately, when you're surfing and the surf's up - it's good. You're not going to pay attention to the rule and you're going to get in the water and catch the waves and have a good time. You take that risk, right, but these are some things I would expect the City to be more on top of as a taxpayer.

We’ve got the UV index on the news and we basically got them saying “hey is it safe to go outside today?” walking around in the sun. I would like to know the same thing for the water: Is it safe to paddle? Is it safe to boat? Or is it safe to swim or fish? I don’t think that's too much to ask for.

So, if the City can do a little bit of testing in the summertime, I believe they can do it all year round. I do know that I would be happy to collect water samples and get them into the City. I'm sure there are a million residents here who would do the same because they love their waterfront and they love their waterways.

Current Weather

2° degrees celsius.
Mostly cloudy throughout the day.

Great Lakes Waterfront Trail

This watermark is on the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail.
Visit the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail website for more information.


Lake Ontario, ON


Lake Ontario

Collected by

Claire Lawson

Contributed by

Mike Austin

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