Lake Simcoe

Lake Simcoe

Overview
Lake Simcoe is a lake
Lake
A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams,...

 in Southern
Southern Ontario
Southern Ontario is a region of the province of Ontario, Canada that lies south of the French River and Algonquin Park. Depending on the inclusion of the Parry Sound and Muskoka districts, its surface area would cover between 14 to 15% of the province. It is the southernmost region of...

 Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, the fourth-largest lake wholly in the province, after Lake Nipigon
Lake Nipigon
Lake Nipigon is the largest lake entirely within the boundaries of the Canadian province of Ontario . It is sometimes described as the sixth Great Lake. Lying 260 metres above sea level, the lake drains into the Nipigon River and thence into Nipigon Bay of Lake Superior...

, Lac Seul
Lac Seul
Lac Seul is a large, crescent shaped lake in northwestern Ontario, Canada. It is approximately long. It has a maximum depth of 47.2 m, with a surface elevation of 357 m above sea level. It is the second largest body of water entirely within the province of Ontario. The lake consists of open...

, and Lake Nipissing
Lake Nipissing
Lake Nipissing is a lake in the Canadian province of Ontario. It has a surface area of , a mean elevation of above sea level, and is located between the Ottawa River and Georgian Bay. Excluding the Great Lakes, Lake Nipissing is the fifth-largest lake in Ontario. It is relatively shallow for a...

. At the time of the first European contact in the 17th century the lake was called Ouentironk ("Beautiful Water") by the Huron natives. It was also known as Lake Toronto until it was renamed by John Graves Simcoe
John Graves Simcoe
John Graves Simcoe was a British army officer and the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada from 1791–1796. Then frontier, this was modern-day southern Ontario and the watersheds of Georgian Bay and Lake Superior...

, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, in memory of his father.

The lake is bordered by Simcoe County
Simcoe County, Ontario
Simcoe County is located in central portion of Southern Ontario. The County is situated just north of the Greater Toronto Area stretching from the shores of Lake Simcoe in the east to Georgian Bay in the west...

, Durham Region, and York Region.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Lake Simcoe'
Start a new discussion about 'Lake Simcoe'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Lake Simcoe is a lake
Lake
A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams,...

 in Southern
Southern Ontario
Southern Ontario is a region of the province of Ontario, Canada that lies south of the French River and Algonquin Park. Depending on the inclusion of the Parry Sound and Muskoka districts, its surface area would cover between 14 to 15% of the province. It is the southernmost region of...

 Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, the fourth-largest lake wholly in the province, after Lake Nipigon
Lake Nipigon
Lake Nipigon is the largest lake entirely within the boundaries of the Canadian province of Ontario . It is sometimes described as the sixth Great Lake. Lying 260 metres above sea level, the lake drains into the Nipigon River and thence into Nipigon Bay of Lake Superior...

, Lac Seul
Lac Seul
Lac Seul is a large, crescent shaped lake in northwestern Ontario, Canada. It is approximately long. It has a maximum depth of 47.2 m, with a surface elevation of 357 m above sea level. It is the second largest body of water entirely within the province of Ontario. The lake consists of open...

, and Lake Nipissing
Lake Nipissing
Lake Nipissing is a lake in the Canadian province of Ontario. It has a surface area of , a mean elevation of above sea level, and is located between the Ottawa River and Georgian Bay. Excluding the Great Lakes, Lake Nipissing is the fifth-largest lake in Ontario. It is relatively shallow for a...

. At the time of the first European contact in the 17th century the lake was called Ouentironk ("Beautiful Water") by the Huron natives. It was also known as Lake Toronto until it was renamed by John Graves Simcoe
John Graves Simcoe
John Graves Simcoe was a British army officer and the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada from 1791–1796. Then frontier, this was modern-day southern Ontario and the watersheds of Georgian Bay and Lake Superior...

, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, in memory of his father.

The lake is bordered by Simcoe County
Simcoe County, Ontario
Simcoe County is located in central portion of Southern Ontario. The County is situated just north of the Greater Toronto Area stretching from the shores of Lake Simcoe in the east to Georgian Bay in the west...

, Durham Region, and York Region. The city of Barrie
Barrie
Barrie may refer to:* Barrie, city in Ontario, Canada* Barrie , Canadian federal electoral district* Barrie , provincial electoral district* Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, former Canadian electoral district...

 is located on Kempenfelt Bay
Kempenfelt Bay
Kempenfelt Bay is a 14.5 km long bay that leads into the Canadian city of Barrie, Ontario. It is as deep as 30 m in places, and is connected to the larger Lake Simcoe...

, and Orillia is located at the entrance to Lake Couchiching
Lake Couchiching
Lake Couchiching, from the Ojibwe gojijiing meaning "inlet", is a small lake in Central Ontario separated from Lake Simcoe by a narrow channel. The Trent-Severn Waterway enters Lake Simcoe by the Talbot River and exits this lake by the Severn River which empties into Georgian Bay...

. The watershed draining into the lake contains a population of roughly half a million people, including the northern portion of the Greater Toronto Area
Greater Toronto Area
The Greater Toronto Area is the largest metropolitan area in Canada, with a 2006 census population of 5.5 million. The Greater Toronto Area is usually defined as the central city of Toronto, along with four regional municipalities surrounding it: Durham, Halton, Peel, and York...

.

The town of Georgina
Georgina, Ontario
Georgina is a town in south-central Ontario, and the northernmost municipality in the Regional Municipality of York. It forms part of the northern boundary of the Greater Toronto Area and is situated on the southern shores of Lake Simcoe...

 lies along the entire south shore of Lake Simcoe and consists smaller residential towns and communities, including Keswick
Keswick, Ontario
Keswick is a community in the south central portion of the Canadian province of Ontario. Located north of Toronto on Cook's Bay , Keswick is part of the Town of Georgina...

 on Cook's Bay
Cook's Bay
Cook's Bay is the southernmost bay of Lake Simcoe in Ontario, Canada. It is about 60 kilometres north of Toronto. The bay has some of the best fishing areas in North America, especially for yellow perch. The town of Keswick is the largest area that the bay has access to. Many marinas and motel...

, Sutton
Sutton, Ontario
Sutton is a suburban community located nearly 2 km south of Lake Simcoe in Ontario, Canada. The community was formerly a village but is now part of the Town of Georgina after amalgamation with it and North Gwillimbury in 1971.-Geography and information:...

, Jackson's Point, Pefferlaw
Pefferlaw, Ontario
Pefferlaw is a community within the Town of Georgina, located 3 kilometres south of the southeastern shores of Lake Simcoe and in the eastern end of the town. A river, known officially as the Pefferlaw River, runs just south of the community's commercial district...

, and Udora
Udora, Ontario
Udora is a small rural community in Ontario, Canada. It has a population estimated to be around 500 and is situated in the most south-eastern part of Georgina, split between York Region and Durham Region. The town was originally known as Snoddon Corners and was the location of the Snoddon Hotel....

.

The town of Innisfil occupies the western shore south of Barrie and north of Bradford.

History


Lake Simcoe is a remnant of a much bigger, prehistoric
Prehistory
Prehistory is the span of time before recorded history. Prehistory can refer to the period of human existence before the availability of those written records with which recorded history begins. More broadly, it refers to all the time preceding human existence and the invention of writing...

 lake known as Lake Algonquin
Glacial Lake Algonquin
Lake Algonquin was a proglacial lake that existed in east-central North America at the time of the last ice age. Parts of the former lake are now Lake Huron, Georgian Bay and inland portions of northern Michigan....

. This lake's basin also included Lake Huron
Lake Huron
Lake Huron is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. Hydrologically, it comprises the larger portion of Lake Michigan-Huron. It is bounded on the east by the Canadian province of Ontario and on the west by the state of Michigan in the United States...

, Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron...

, Lake Superior
Lake Superior
Lake Superior is the largest of the five traditionally-demarcated Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded to the north by the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Minnesota, and to the south by the U.S. states of Wisconsin and Michigan. It is the largest freshwater lake in the...

, Lake Nipigon
Lake Nipigon
Lake Nipigon is the largest lake entirely within the boundaries of the Canadian province of Ontario . It is sometimes described as the sixth Great Lake. Lying 260 metres above sea level, the lake drains into the Nipigon River and thence into Nipigon Bay of Lake Superior...

, and Lake Nipissing
Lake Nipissing
Lake Nipissing is a lake in the Canadian province of Ontario. It has a surface area of , a mean elevation of above sea level, and is located between the Ottawa River and Georgian Bay. Excluding the Great Lakes, Lake Nipissing is the fifth-largest lake in Ontario. It is relatively shallow for a...

. The melting of an ice dam at the close of the last ice age
Quaternary glaciation
Quaternary glaciation, also known as the Pleistocene glaciation, the current ice age or simply the ice age, refers to the period of the last few million years in which permanent ice sheets were established in Antarctica and perhaps Greenland, and fluctuating ice sheets have occurred elsewhere...

 greatly reduced water levels in the region, leaving the lakes of today.

At the time of the first Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an contact in the 17th century, the lake was called Ouentironk ("Beautiful Water") by the Wyandot (Huron) natives. In 1687, Lahontan
Louis-Armand de Lom d'Arce de Lahontan, Baron de Lahontan
Louis Armand, Baron de Lahontan served in the French military in Canada where traveled extensively in the Wisconsin and Minnesota region and the upper Mississippi Valley. Upon his return to Europe he wrote an enormously popular travelogue. In it he embellished his knowledge of the geography of the...

 called it Lake Taronto, an Iroquoian
Iroquoian languages
The Iroquoian languages are a First Nation and Native American language family.-Family division:*Ruttenber, Edward Manning. 1992 [1872]. History of the Indian tribes of Hudson's River. Hope Farm Press....

 term meaning gateway or pass; Taronto had originally referred to The Narrows, a channel of water through which Lake Simcoe discharges into Lake Couchiching
Lake Couchiching
Lake Couchiching, from the Ojibwe gojijiing meaning "inlet", is a small lake in Central Ontario separated from Lake Simcoe by a narrow channel. The Trent-Severn Waterway enters Lake Simcoe by the Talbot River and exits this lake by the Severn River which empties into Georgian Bay...

. Since then, many subsequent mapmakers adopted this name for it, though cartographer
Cartography
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.The fundamental problems of traditional cartography are to:*Set the map's...

 Vincenzo Coronelli
Vincenzo Coronelli
Vincenzo Coronelli was a Franciscan monk, a Venetian cosmographer, cartographer, publisher, and encyclopedist known in particular for his atlases and globes, and who spent most of his life in Venice.-Biography:...

 is thought to have introduced the more commonly used spelling of Toronto in a map he created in 1695.


The name 'Toronto' found its way to the current city through its use in the name for the Toronto Carrying-Place Trail
Toronto Carrying-Place Trail
The Toronto Carrying-Place Trail, also known as the Humber Portage and the Toronto Passage, was a major portage route in Ontario, Canada, linking Lake Ontario with Lake Simcoe and the northern Great Lakes...

 (or Toronto Passage), a portage
Portage
Portage or portaging refers to the practice of carrying watercraft or cargo over land to avoid river obstacles, or between two bodies of water. A place where this carrying occurs is also called a portage; a person doing the carrying is called a porter.The English word portage is derived from the...

 running between Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded on the north and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south by the American state of New York. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, was named for the lake. In the Wyandot language, ontarío means...

 and Georgian Bay
Georgian Bay
Georgian Bay is a large bay of Lake Huron, located entirely within Ontario, Canada...

, that passed through Lake Toronto, which in turn was used as the name for an early French fort located at the foot of the Toronto Passage, on Lake Ontario. The Severn River
Severn River (central Ontario)
The Severn River is a river in central Ontario, Canada. Its headwaters are located at the north end of Lake Couchiching. It drains Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe...

, its outlet stream, was once called 'Rivière de Toronto' which flows into Georgian Bay's Severn Sound, then called the 'Baie de Toronto'.

The later French traders referred to it as Lac aux Claies, meaning "Lake of Grids (or Trellises)" in reference to the Huron fishing weir
Fishing weir
A fishing weir, or fish weir, is an obstruction placed in tidal waters or wholly or partially across a river, which is designed to hinder the passage of fish. Traditionally they were built from wood or stones. They can be used to trap fish...

s in the lake.

It was renamed by John Graves Simcoe in 1793, not in honour of himself, but in memory of his father, Captain John Simcoe. Captain Simcoe was born on 28 November 1710, in Staindrop
Staindrop
Staindrop is a village in County Durham, in England. It is situated to the east of Barnard Castle. Lord Barnard of Raby Castle also resides on the border.The village has one of the long greens typical of County Durham...

, in County Durham
County Durham
County Durham is a ceremonial county and unitary district in north east England. The county town is Durham. The largest settlement in the ceremonial county is the town of Darlington...

, northeast England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 and served as an officer in the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

, dying of pneumonia aboard his ship, HMS Pembroke
HMS Pembroke (1757)
HMS Pembroke was a 60-gun fourth rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built at Plymouth Dockyard to the draught specified in the 1745 Establishment as amended in 1752, and launched on 2 June 1757....

, on 15 May 1759.

The lake is about 30 kilometres (18.6 mi) long and 25 kilometres (15.5 mi) wide. Its area is roughly 725 square kilometres (279.9 sq mi). It is shaped somewhat like a fist with the index finger and thumb extended. The thumb forms Kempenfelt Bay
Kempenfelt Bay
Kempenfelt Bay is a 14.5 km long bay that leads into the Canadian city of Barrie, Ontario. It is as deep as 30 m in places, and is connected to the larger Lake Simcoe...

 on the west, the wrist Lake Couchiching
Lake Couchiching
Lake Couchiching, from the Ojibwe gojijiing meaning "inlet", is a small lake in Central Ontario separated from Lake Simcoe by a narrow channel. The Trent-Severn Waterway enters Lake Simcoe by the Talbot River and exits this lake by the Severn River which empties into Georgian Bay...

 to the north, and the extended finger is Cook's Bay
Cook's Bay
Cook's Bay is the southernmost bay of Lake Simcoe in Ontario, Canada. It is about 60 kilometres north of Toronto. The bay has some of the best fishing areas in North America, especially for yellow perch. The town of Keswick is the largest area that the bay has access to. Many marinas and motel...

 on the south. Couchiching was at one time thought of as a third bay of Simcoe, known as the Bristol Channel; however, the narrows between the two bodies of water separate them enough to consider this to be another lake. The narrows, known as "where trees stand in the water", an interpretation of the word 'Toronto', was an important fishing point for the First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

 peoples who lived in the area, and the Mohawk
Mohawk nation
Mohawk are the most easterly tribe of the Iroquois confederation. They call themselves Kanien'gehaga, people of the place of the flint...

 term toran-ten eventually gave its name to Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

 by way of the portage route running south from that point, the Toronto Carrying-Place Trail.
Regarding the translation of 'Toronto' as meaning "where trees stand in the water", this would have been the likely outcome of the Huron practise of driving stakes into the channel sediments to corrale fish. Fresh-cut saplings placed in the water and sediments would have sprouted branches and leaves, persisting for some time, leading to a place "where trees stand in the water".

Watershed and navigation



A number of southern Ontario rivers flow, generally north, into the lake, draining 2581 km² (996.5 sq mi) of land. From the east, the Talbot River
Talbot River (Ontario)
The Talbot River is a south-central Ontario]] which flows from the Kawartha lakes to Lake Simcoe. The lower section of the river is now part of the Trent-Severn Waterway, although a new more direct channel was cut at the end of the 19th century, bypassing the original mouth of the river.Even before...

, part of the Trent-Severn Waterway
Trent-Severn Waterway
The Trent–Severn Waterway is a Canadian canal system formerly used for industrial and transportation purposes and now for recreational and tourism purposes, connecting Lake Ontario at Trenton to the Georgian Bay portion of Lake Huron at Port Severn...

 is the most important river draining into Lake Simcoe, connecting the lake with the Kawartha lakes
Kawartha lakes
The Kawartha lakes are a band of lakes in south-central Ontario, Canada that form the upper watershed of the Trent River. The lakes all lie upon the boundary between the Paleozoic limestone regions of the Golden Horseshoe, and the Precambrian granite Canadian Shield of northern and central...

 system and Lake Ontario. From its connection to Lake Couchiching, the Severn River is the only drainage from the lake to Georgian Bay, part of Lake Huron
Lake Huron
Lake Huron is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. Hydrologically, it comprises the larger portion of Lake Michigan-Huron. It is bounded on the east by the Canadian province of Ontario and on the west by the state of Michigan in the United States...

 (Simcoe itself is not one of the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

). The canal lock
Lock (water transport)
A lock is a device for raising and lowering boats between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways. The distinguishing feature of a lock is a fixed chamber in which the water level can be varied; whereas in a caisson lock, a boat lift, or on a canal inclined plane, it is...

s of the Trent-Severn Waterway make this connection navigable
Navigability
A body of water, such as a river, canal or lake, is navigable if it is deep, wide and slow enough for a vessel to pass. Preferably there are few obstructions such as rocks or trees to avoid. Bridges must have sufficient clearance. High water speed may make a channel unnavigable. Waters may be...

.

A number of creeks and rivers flow into the lake:
  • Bluffs Creek
  • Beaverton River (Beaver River)
  • Holland River
    Holland River
    The Holland River is a river in Ontario, Canada that drains the Holland River watershed into Cook's Bay, the southern extremity of Lake Simcoe. It is named after Captain Samuel Holland, , Dutch born first Surveyor General of British North America. The river flows generally north, and its...

  • Maskinonge River
  • Pefferlaw River
  • Black River
    Black River (Ontario)
    Black River may refer to several rivers by that name in the province of Ontario, Canada.*The Black River in Hastings County, Ontario joins the Moira River near Tweed, Ontario....

  • Talbot River
    Talbot River (Ontario)
    The Talbot River is a south-central Ontario]] which flows from the Kawartha lakes to Lake Simcoe. The lower section of the river is now part of the Trent-Severn Waterway, although a new more direct channel was cut at the end of the 19th century, bypassing the original mouth of the river.Even before...

  • White's Creek

Georgina island



Lake Simcoe contains a large island, Georgina, which is the reserve
Indian reserve
In Canada, an Indian reserve is specified by the Indian Act as a "tract of land, the legal title to which is vested in Her Majesty, that has been set apart by Her Majesty for the use and benefit of a band." The Act also specifies that land reserved for the use and benefit of a band which is not...

 of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation
Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation
frame|right|Map of [[York Regional Municipality, Ontario|York Region]] showing Fox, Snake, and Georgina islands.thumb|Georgina Island, Lake Simcoe, Ontario...

. The lake is dotted with several smaller islands, including Thorah Island
Thorah Island
Thorah Island is located in the southeast portion of Lake Simcoe, approximately four kilometres from Beaverton, Ontario, Canada. The island is approximately 1,450 acres in size and the land is divided mainly between wooded and wooded-swamp terrain...

 (a cottage destination), Strawberry Island (a Basilican retreat), Snake Island, and Fox Island. Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 stayed on Strawberry Island for four days just before World Youth Day 2002
World Youth Day 2002
The 17th World Youth Day 2002 was a Catholic youth festival held from July 23 to July 28, 2002 in Toronto, Canada. World Youth Day is a celebration of faith begun by Pope John Paul II held on an international level every two to three years, and WYD2002 was the tenth such event. It was also Pope...

 in Toronto. Before the completion of the Trent Severn Waterway, the water level on Lake Simcoe was quite low enabling residents to cross in wagons or walk in ankle deep water to the mainland. However when it was completed, the water table increased by several feet.

Recreation


The lake has little commercial activity, but sees many recreational uses. In the winter, It freezes over completely and hosts a number of ice fishing competitions, making it one of the most intensely fished lakes in Ontario. However, claims that it is one of the world's largest lakes that freeze over completely in winter are pure speculation, and, in fact, spurious; Canada alone has about 100 lakes of the same size or larger that do the same.

In the summer, fishing is still an attraction; however, there are also a number of poker runs, jet-skiing, and other boating events. The lake is surrounded with summer cottages leading heavy recreational and boating use in summer.

There are a number of beaches which attract visitors from the GTA as Lake Simcoe has a reputation for cleaner and warmer water than the GTA's Lake Ontario beaches. Many of the beaches are used for kite surfing as well.

There are seven yacht clubs (sailing) around the lake, which host a number of regattas, and an active sailing community exists on the lake.

The lake also forms part of the Trent-Severn Waterway system that links Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay/Lake Huron.

Ecology



When a lake is healthy, cold-water fish like lake trout, herring and whitefish are abundant and active. It is sometimes known as Canada's ice fishing
Ice fishing
Ice fishing is the practice of catching fish with lines and fish hooks or spears through an opening in the ice on a frozen body of water. Ice anglers may sit on the stool in the open on a frozen lake, or in a heated cabin on the ice, some with bunks and amenities.-Locations:It is a popular pastime...

 capital.

Geology & Physiography



The lake is located on paleozoic limestone of the Ordovician period. However, due to deep deposits of glacial sediments, this bedrock only appears exposed along the lakeshore on Georgina Island. This rock, however, also appears along the shore of Lake Couchiching, where sediments are thinner. The outlet of the lake at the north end of Lake Couchiching is controlled by precambrian bedrock which first makes its appearance about mid-way along this lake. As a result, the lake has persisted to the present, with the outlet-flow unable to cut down through the rock, and thereby draining the lake. This is unlike its one-time smaller sister-lake of 'Lake Minesing' to the west, being a remnant of Lake Algonquin, and, later the Nipissing stage of Lake Huron. This lake's outlet was founded on sediments located near Edenvale,which have largely been cut through, draining most of the lake. Today 'Lake Minesing' exists as the Minesing Swamp, but it re-establishes itself for a short period each spring when spring run-off floods the basin.

Isostatic rebound from the retreat of the last glaciers results in a steady rise of Lake Simcoe, particularly at its south end, and is further responsible for the deep organic sediments that have accumulated in its one-time shallow southern arm, known as the Holland Marsh. Here, organic deposits created by vegatation have largely kept pace with the steady rise in water level, and today supports extensive market gardening. All rivers, and most streams, flowing into the lake have wide, deep, navigable mouths as a consequence of the rising waters drowning the river channels.

Environmental problems


Lake Simcoe has been victim to significant eutrophication
Eutrophication
Eutrophication or more precisely hypertrophication, is the movement of a body of water′s trophic status in the direction of increasing plant biomass, by the addition of artificial or natural substances, such as nitrates and phosphates, through fertilizers or sewage, to an aquatic system...

. Lake Simcoe has seen a dramatic decline in these fish species, along with an increase in algae blooms and aquatic weed growth. Phosphorus
Phosphorus
Phosphorus is the chemical element that has the symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidized state, as inorganic phosphate rocks...

 emissions from both urban and rural sources have upset the lake's ecosystem and fostered excessive aquatic plant growth, raising water temperatures, decreasing oxygen levels, and thereby rendering limited breeding grounds inhospitable.

Lake Simcoe has been victim to zebra mussel
Zebra mussel
The zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, is a small freshwater mussel. This species was originally native to the lakes of southeast Russia being first described in 1769 by a German zoologist Peter Simon Pallas in the Ural, Volga and Dnieper rivers. They are still found nearby, as Pontic and Caspian...

, Purple Loosestrife
Purple loosestrife
Lythrum salicaria is a flowering plant belonging to the family Lythraceae, native to Europe, Asia, northwest Africa, and southeastern Australia. It should not be confused with other plants sharing the name loosestrife that are members of the family Primulaceae...

, Black crappie, spiny water flea, round goby
Round goby
The round goby, Neogobius melanostomus, is an euryhaline bottom-dwelling goby of the family Gobiidae, native to central Eurasia including the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.-Characteristics:...

, and Eurasian milfoil invasions.

The zebra mussel, which arrived in North American waters in 1985 originated in the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 and Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 area and is thought to have been brought to this continent in the ballast of foreign freighters. Zebra Mussels are particularly harmful to Lake Simcoe because they increase the clarity of the water allowing sunlight to penetrate to the bottom of the lake, where more algae and aquatic weeds can grow accelerating the eutrophication process.

The Rainbow Smelt
Rainbow smelt
The rainbow smelt, Osmerus mordax, is an anadromous species of fish of the family Osmeridae. The distribution of Osmerus mordax is circumpolar. The rainbow smelt was introduced to the Great Lakes, and from there has made its way to various other places. Walleye, trout, and other larger fish prey on...

 are another introduced species and they were first observed in the early 1960s. They were believed to compete with native Lake Whitefish
Lake whitefish
The lake whitefish , also called the Sault whitefish or gizzard fish, is a species of freshwater whitefish from North America. Lake whitefish are found throughout much of Canada and parts of the northern United States, including all of the Great Lakes. A valuable commercial fish, they are also...

 and somewhat responsible for a decline in their populations.

Several initiatives, such as the Lake Simcoe Environmental Management Strategy (LSEMS), the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation, and the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority
Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority
The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority is a conservation authority established in 1951, and is among the oldest in the Canadian province of Ontario....

, are making efforts to rectify some of the lake's environmental woes.
A local activist group, The Ladies of the Lake, are using the $250,000 they raised from the sale of a nude picture calendar to rally government, business, the school system and the local citizenry to rescue the lake. Several towns and communities on the lakeshore depend on Lake Simcoe for their drinking water.

External links