Fast facts about the Great Lakes
The shorelines of Lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron and Superior draw the southern outline of our province. Our history and success as a province depends on these immense freshwater resources. Learn why we need to protect and restore them.
- The Great Lakes hold one-fifth of the world's freshwater
- The region encompassing the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin is home to 98 per cent of Ontarians
- More than 150 native species of fish and more than 3,000 species of plants live in the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem - one of the most biologically rich regions in Canada
- More than 70 per cent of Ontarians get their drinking water from the lakes
- More than 80 per cent of the power generated in Ontario depends, in some way, on the Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are under pressure from historic pollution, toxics, and urbanization. Invasive species such as zebra mussels are changing the ecosystem, while climate change and population growth are all affecting the health of the lakes.
Sounds daunting, but you can help!
- Never pour any contaminants like old paint and varnish down the drain
- Wash your car at the car wash not in your driveway, car washes are equipped to treat and clean soapy water
- Detach your downspouts and connect a rain barrel so run-off doesn't overwhelm the storm sewers and add untreated water into the lake
- Pick up after your pet. Their waste can drain into the sewers and put e-coli into the lake
- Join a local conservation organization and get involved in wetland restoration