10 Facts about Lake Ontario

How well do you think you know Lake Ontario? Many assume Lake Ontario got its name from the Canadian province, but the province was actually named after the lake. It is the easternmost Great Lake and bordered by Ontario, the Canadian province, and New York. Although it is the only Great Lake that is not bordered by Michigan, it is still important to our state because the other four lakes drain into it. Test your knowledge with these 10 interesting facts about Lake Ontario.

  1. Lake Ontario has a surface area of 7,340 square miles making it the 14th largest lake in the world. It is, however, the smallest of the five Great Lakes.
  2. Lake Erie, although larger, is closest in size to Lake Ontario. Lake Ontario has an elevation of 243 feet above sea level which is 326 feet lower than Lake Erie. While Lake Erie has a larger surface area and higher elevation, Lake Ontario’s volume holds four times as much water.
  3. Depending on the severity of the winter, a sheet of ice can cover between 10% and 90% of the lake. Because of its depth, however, it is rare for Lake Ontario to freeze over completely and has only been recorded of doing so five times.
  4. Just like the other Great Lakes, Lake Ontario was formed by the melting of the glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age.
  5. Several treasures can be found here including the second-oldest Great Lakes shipwreck from 1862 and a U.S. Air Force C-45 aircraft.
  6. Legend has it, the ball from Babe Ruth’s first major league home run at Hanlan’s Point Stadium in Toronto landed in Lake Ontario and is still there.
  7. You might want to think twice about searching for that Babe Ruth ball though. Not only did it happen over one hundred years ago, but only 65 people have successfully swum across Lake Ontario as of 2019.
  8. Lake Ontario is home to several islands including Amherst Island, Association Island, Galloo Island, Little Gallo Island, Waupoos Island, and Wolf Island. Wolf Island is the largest in the lake and is home to a church, a bakery, restaurants, and 1,400 people.
  9. Along Lake Ontario’s 712 mile shoreline you will find over one hundred beaches. The Wasaga Beach, one of the lake’s most popular beaches, is the longest freshwater beach on Earth.
  10. While we all know there are not any sharks in freshwater, Lake Ontario is inhabited by plenty of wildlife. Besides walleye, trout, salmon, and bass, the American eel was once the most common fish in the lake but is now endangered. Lake Ontario is also home to giant goldfish, yes goldfish. Most of the goldfish start as home pets in fishbowls or ponds but make their way to the lake during flooding or by being released and can grow to a massive size in the wild.