Lake Ontario

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Lake Ontario (French: Lac Ontario) is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. The lake is bounded on the north by the Canadian province of Ontario and on the south by Ontario's Niagara Peninsula and by the U.S. state of New York. It has the smallest area of all the Great Lakes.



The lake was previously identified in some maps under different names. In a map drawn in the Relation des Jésuites (1662–1663), the lake has the legend "Lac Ontario ou des Iroquois" and in smaller type "Ondiara". A French map produced in 1712 (currently in the Canadian Museum of Civilization[2]), created by military engineer Jean-Baptiste de Couagne, identified Lake Ontario as "Lac Frontenac". Iroquois people called the lake "Skanadario".


Lake Ontario (43.7° N, 77.9° W) is the eastern-most and smallest in surface area (7,540 square miles, 19,529 km²)[1] of the Great Lakes, although it exceeds Lake Erie in volume (393 cubic miles, 1639 km³). It is the 14th largest lake in the world and has a shoreline 712 miles (1146 km) long.

Lake Ontario has an elevation of 246 feet (75 m)[1] above sea level. Its length is 193 miles (311 km), and its width is 53 miles (85 km). The average depth is 283 feet (86 m), with a maximum depth of 802 feet (244 m).[1]

Its primary inlet is the Niagara River (from Lake Erie) and primary outlet is the St. Lawrence River. Other major rivers which flow into it include the Don River; Humber River; Trent River; the Cataraqui River; the Genesee River; the Oswego River; the Black River; and the Salmon River. Other notable geographic features include Hamilton Harbour, the Bay of Quinte, the Toronto Islands, Irondequoit Bay and the Thousand Islands. The Bay of Quinte separates most of Prince Edward County from the north shore except for a 2-mile (3-km) stretch of land connecting it to the mainland. The largest island on the lake is Wolfe Island located near Kingston at the St. Lawrence River entrance. It is accessible by ferry from both Canada and the U.S.

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