My Watermark is the St. Marys River in Sault Ste Marie Ontario, where I grew up.
I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s there. The St. Mary’s River was really the lifeblood of that community because these ships would come into the lock system that was there. The system connects the Great Lakes: from Lake Superior to Lake Michigan to Lake Huron.
All the ships have to come in through that lock system in order to get from one lake to the other. There’s a steel plant up there that was doing really well, but unfortunately it used to pollute the waterways. When I grew up no one would ever think to swim in it, or really do anything down there. It was just a posway for big ships to go through. Not a place to have any recreation or enjoy with your family. It just wasn’t even an option.
However, they’ve done a really good job of cleaning it up over the decades. My parents are still there so when I go back to visit, it’s still a big focal point for us to go down and enjoy the St.Mary’s River. Now that they’ve cleaned it up they have parks and walkways, and lots of stuff to do down there — they’ve done a really nice job on the waterfront. It makes me feel good and it’s awesome that it’s come so far.
We go swimming in the river on hot days, but we mostly go on picnics there, and walk our dog, play catch, and do all the fun things to do by the waterfront. We also walk the walkways because you could go all the way downtown and do things down there and then walk back. We live close to the river so it’s a beautiful place. It really has changed the community, and has become a focal point for the city. It’s a real special place to me.