Lake Ontario

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Ontario, Lake,

7,540 sq mi (19,529 sq km), 193 mi (311 km) long and 53 mi (85 km) at its greatest width, between SE Ont., Canada, and NW N.Y.; smallest and lowest of the Great LakesGreat Lakes,
group of five freshwater lakes, central North America, creating a natural border between the United States and Canada and forming the largest body of freshwater in the world, with a combined surface area of c.95,000 sq mi (246,050 sq km).
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. It has a surface elevation of 246 ft (75 m) above sea level and a maximum depth of 778 ft (237 m).

Lake Ontario is fed chiefly by the waters of Lake Erie by way of the Niagara River; other tributaries are the Genesee, Oswego, and Black rivers in New York and the Trent River in Ontario. The lake is drained to the northeast by the St. Lawrence River. Oceangoing vessels reach the lake through the St. Lawrence Seaway and use the Welland Canal to bypass Niagara Falls and reach Lake Erie; smaller craft (mostly pleasure boats) can travel the Rideau Canal between Kingston and Ottawa, and the Trent Canal between the Bay of Quinte and Georgian Bay. Navigation on the lake is not usually impeded by ice in winter.

The chief Canadian lakeshore cities are St. Catharines, Hamilton, Toronto, Oshawa, and Kingston; on the south shore are Rochester and Oswego, N.Y. Commercial fishing is important, but pollution has been a problem. A U.S.-Canadian pact (1972) established that water quality would be improved and further pollution ended. Recreational facilities are provided at state and provincial parks. The first European to see (1615) Lake Ontario was Étienne BruléBrulé, Étienne
, c.1592–1632, French explorer in North America. He arrived (1608) in the New World with Samuel de Champlain, who sent him (1610) into the wilderness to learn about Native Americans and the land. He lived with the Huron and accompanied (c.
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, the French explorer; later that year Samuel de ChamplainChamplain, Samuel de
, 1567–1635, French explorer, the chief founder of New France.

After serving in France under Henry of Navarre (King Henry IV) in the religious wars, Champlain was given command of a Spanish fleet sailing to the West Indies, Mexico, and the
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 visited it.

References in periodicals archive ?
Fish retrieved from 90 to 95 percent of these Ontario lakes have proved so heavily tainted with methylmercury that they have triggered health adivosries, Mierle observes.
The Trent-Severn Waterway is a 386-km canal route through central Ontario lakes and rivers that connects Lakes Huron and Ontario.
These Canadian researchers worked with yellow perch (Percaflavescens) taken from Ontario lakes, some of which were contaminated by runoff from a copper mine.
It will have a higher flushing rate, resulting in more dissolved oxygen, which is generally low in the northeastern Ontario lakes, says Mooney.

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