Lake Ontario is located on the border of the US and Canada. It borders the US states of New York and the Canadian province Ontario. The two states divide the lake into two nearly equal parts. The lake is named after the province of Ontario. The Niagara River is the primary source and connects the lake to Lake Erie. Lake Ontario is the last in the series of the Great Lakes that begins with Lake Superior. Its main outlet is the St. Lawrence River which connects the lake to the Atlantic Ocean.
Lake Ontario is the smallest of the great lakes in terms of surface area. It covers an area of 7,340 square miles and holds 393 cubic miles of water which is more than Lake Erie. When the islands in the lake are taken into account, it’s coastline stretches for 712 miles. Its elevation of 243 feet is lower than the other four. Lake Ontario has a maximum length of 193 miles and a maximum width of 53 miles. Its average depth is 283 feet but is maximum depth is 802 feet. The Niagara River drains Lake Erie and feeds Lake Ontario while the St. Lawrence river drains Lake Ontario and feeds the Atlantic Ocean. Its drainage basin extends over an area of over 24,720 square miles, and just like the other Great Lakes, the water level change seasonally depending on the inflow and precipitation.
The prevailing winds and lake currents create Baymouth bars that in turn result in sheltered harbors and lagoons especially close to Prince Edward County. The Toronto Bay is the most popular and strategic harbor of Lake Ontario. The Baymouth bars are characterized by long beaches. These bars create vast wetlands that allow several species of animals and plants to survive as well as a resting place for migratory birds. The lake’s basin lies on a soft Silurian-age rock on the Wisconsin ice sheet. Before the last ice age, the lake drained into the Mohawk River via what is today’s Syracuse, New York. The Mohawk joined the Hudson River then to the Atlantic. After the ice melted Ontario sank below the sea level, and the Atlantic began draining into the lake. The land rebounded after the 6,500 feet of ice melted at a rate of 12 inches per century. The lake’s course changed to what it is today.
The islands on Lake Ontario are concentrated on the north-eastern and the eastern edge between the outlet at Kingston and Prince Edward County peninsula. The Toronto Islands that lie on the north-western edge were formed by the erosion of the coastline. Other islands on the lake include the Wolfe Island, Amherst Island, Garden Island, etcetera. The first –person to swim across the lake was Marilyn Bell in 1954. The Marilyn Bell Park in Toronto was named in her honor.
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