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Lake Ontario:

Toronto's hidden treasure

While revitalization projects are bringing new accessibility to Toronto’s waterfront with parks and public spaces, just beyond the waterfront there’s a great lake called Ontario. Beautiful as it is, Lake Ontario shares many of the challenges of its four sister lakes. You can help make this Great Lake greater—join the efforts of Shedd Aquarium and the Toronto Zoo.

Learn about Lake Ontario’s and the Great Lakes Basin’s Challenges
As Toronto grew on Lake Ontario’s northwestern shore, it erased beaches, reefs, marshes, meadows and woods. Much of the natural shoreline was reshaped and put to work as an industrial waterfront and harbour that separated the rest of the city from the lake. Despite a new emphasis on the beauty and vitality of Toronto’s waterfront, there’s a lingering estrangement: Many Torontonians don’t use the lake, recognize its value, or feel a connection to it. By getting to know their lake, they can enjoy opportunities unique to residents of North America’s “Third Coast” and, perhaps, take inspiration to protect this precious resource.

The lifeblood of the entire Great Lakes flows through Ontario to the Atlantic. Unfortunately, so do toxic pollutants and non-native plant and animal species from the other lakes, while more invasive species are introduced to the basin through Lake Ontario from oceangoing cargo ships. Lake Ontario made Toronto great—it’s time for us to return the favor and make this Great Lake, and all of the Great Lakes, great again.

Shedd Aquarium focuses on four issues that affect everyone and everything in the Great Lakes basin, from the smallest freshwater mussel to the residents of the cities along the basin’s shoreline: habitat restoration, native species, invasive species and ecological separation. Learn more...

Join the Great Lakes conservation conversation:  

Volunteer opportunities and events

Lake Ontario waterfront volunteer opportunities via Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

Educational Resources
Toronto Zoo’s downloadable lesson plans
Additional educational resources from Toronto Zoo’s Adopt-a-Pond program
Shedd's Right Bite program


Conservator Partners:

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