About the Great Lakes

The importance of the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes help make Ontario a great place to live. Whether you love to fish, swim, boat, camp, play on a sandy beach with your kids, or walk along a shoreline trail, Ontario’s Great Lakes support an ecosystem that is unique in the world.

These beautiful lakes are an unparalleled treasure—holding one-fifth of all the fresh water on Earth. The envy of a world that is increasingly facing water shortages, drought and pollution, the Great Lakes give Ontario a clear competitive edge.

Most Ontarians live within the watersheds of the Great Lakes-St Lawrence River system. We all benefit from the Great Lakes—their resources provide us with drinking water and energy, food and recreational opportunities. The Lakes also provide the province with numerous economic advantages.

The Great Lakes regional economy is the world’s fourth largest. Almost 75 per cent of Canada’s manufacturing along with 80 per cent of Ontario’s power generation and 95 per cent of Ontario’s agricultural lands depend on the Great lakes-St Lawrence River basin.

The Lakes support a rich array of plants, animals, and ecosystems and are the foundation for Ontario’s strength and success.

Text excerpted from “Protecting the Great Lakes”, Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.