Lake Ontario is massive. With a surface area of nearly 19,000 km2 and an average depth of 86 metres, this ‘Great Lake’ is the 14th largest in the world. People who live in Toronto are more often than not well acquainted with its ocean-like presence along the city’s waterfront.
Many, however, have no idea just how deep Lake Ontario gets. While the area directly visible in front of Toronto beyond the inner harbour ranges from 120 to 140 metres deep (the height of a 40-story residential building!), further east the basin reaches depths of up to 244 metres.
In order to highlight the enormity of those measurements, this article carries 2 conceptual pictures showing approximately what downtown Toronto would look like if it were located near Lake Ontario’s deepest point. Only a handful of buildings would reach the surface. The CN Tower, First Canadian Place (BMO), Scotia Plaza, Trump Tower’s spire, Brookfield Place’s (Canada Trust) spire, and Commerce Court’s (CIBC) antenna would be the only visible evidence of the city if it were submerged in 244 metres of water.
Lake Ontario, like the rest of the North America’s ‘Great Lakes’, was carved out by a large glacier which once stood in its place. It was over-fished and polluted during during the last half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, but its ecosystem is now relatively healthy and some of its beaches are among the world’s cleanest and best monitored.
Note: Concept pictures are ± 25 metres in some of the landmarks due to challenges with perspective and irregular terrain in the city. For reference, Commerce Court West (CIBC) is 239 metres tall.