Great Lakes of Canada are the most famous lakes in the world, and rightfully so. They are so vast that sometimes referred to as inland seas. Five big sisters – Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior, together with their smaller brother, Lake St. Claire, contain 20 percent of the entire world's fresh surface water reserve. The smallest among Great Lakes in surface - occupying the surface area of 7,340 square miles, Lake Ontario is one of the deepest in the Great Lakes system, with the maximum depth of 802 feet and the average depth of 283 feet. Almost 80 percent of Lake Ontario water flows from Lake Erie via the Niagara River. Tributaries and precipitation account for the remaining 20 percent. More than 90 percent of its leaving water ends up in the St. Lawrence River, while less then 10 percent evaporates.

The origins of Lake Ontario can be traced back to the Wisconsin glaciation, a vast Ice Age glacier that carved the path for the lake out of St. Lawrence Valley rocks following a bedrock depression that was originally made by steam erosion. The present elliptically-shaped basin was produced more than 11 000 years ago. When the glacier melted, Lake Ontario for a short time became an ocean bay, but then rebounded with the land to join the modern Great Lakes system. Research show that the lake is still slowly moving southwards.

Lake Ontario, the 14th largest in the world and the eighth largest in North America, is located to the east from the compact chain of Great Lakes, straddling the border between Canada and the United States. Its name has been derived from the word "skanadario", which means "sparking water" or a "beautiful lake" in the language of the Iroquois First Nations. Historically, this lake was a separation mark between the territories of the Iroquois and the Huron. Later, an entire Canadian province, Ontario, has been named after this lake.

Lake Ontario is located within a highly populated, urbanized, and farmed zone, especially on the Canadian side, with an estimated one fourth of all Canada's population living around it. Big urban industrial centers, such as Toronto and Hamilton, are situated on its shores. The lake alters the climate in the area and makes local weather mild and pleasant, with cooler summers and milder winters. For thousands of years, this lake provided local indigenous population with fresh water, abundant food, and trading routs, while now it is an important mode of cargo transportation and a popular tourist destination. Lake Ontario's picturesque landscapes, sport fishing, and recreational boating attract annually millions of tourists from all over Canada, the United States, and other countries of the world. The lake also represents a very important storage and supply of fresh water to the local population. And, as fresh water now is fast becoming a serious issue in North America, the deep waters of Lake Ontario look even more like a golden spot.

While local indigenous peoples had kept Lake Ontario pristine clean and fertile for centuries, modern ways of industrial production, toxic agricultural techniques, and wasteful consumption, unfortunately, quickly turned the lake into a dangerously polluted area. Due to the fact that Lake Ontario is the downstream water basin among Great Lakes, it is heavily impacted by human activities in the basins of Lake Superior, Huron, Erie, and Michigan. Traces of uranium and other pollutants of military or industrial origin have been found in the lake in considerable quantities.. Despite a massive campaign to restore Lake Ontario, which was started by environmentally-conscious activists back in the 1970s, the precious waters of the lake are still seriously impacted by pollution. However, in the recent years the lake has seemed to start a slow process of recovering and we should expect that the level of pollutants in beautiful Lake Ontario will soon be reduced.

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