Exploring Great Destinations in the Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada
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The Great Lakes

The Niagara River, 55 km long, flows from Lake Erie northward over Niagara The Niagara region is enveloped by two Great Lakes. Lake Ontario is situated on the north side of the region and Lake Erie on the south.

At one time, a single huge lake covered much of the upper Great Lakes area of Lake Superior, Michigan and Huron. As the glacial ice melted away, lake levels dropped quickly.

Lake Erie has only flowed into Lake Ontario for the last 4,000 years.

The Great Lakes also played a pivotal role in the colonization of Canada. The lakes were the first means of transportation for early fur traders. With the completion of the Welland Canal the Niagara Region became home to an international waterway.

Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario is 19 000 km2 (10 000 km2 in Canada), with a drainage area of 90 130 km2, an elevation of 74 m, a mean depth of 86 m (max 244 m), length 311 km and width 85 km.

Lake Ontario has the smallest surface area of all the Great Lakes and is the most easterly located Lake. Lake Ontario receives water from the Niagara River which flows from Lake Erie. Lake Ontario flows into The St. Lawrence River.

The name Ontario is believed to be of Iroquoian origin, meaning "beautiful lake" or "sparkling water." It was first applied to the lake by Europeans in 1641 and appears on maps of North America as early as 1656.

Today the area surrounding Lake Ontario is known as the Golden Horseshoe and is the industrial hub of Ontario. Twenty five percent of all Canadian citizens live in the vicinity of Lake Ontario. 

Lake Erie

Lake Erie, 25 700 km2 (including islands), of which 12 800 km2 lie in Canada, elevation 173.3 m; 388 km long, 92 km wide and 64 m deep.

Originally called Lac du Chat by the French explorers, the lake came to be known as Lake Erie, after the Erie, an Iroquoian tribe inhabiting the south shore.

The waters of Lake Huron flow into Lake Erie via the Detroit River. The Grand River in Ontario also flows into Lake Erie. Lake Erie empties into Lake Ontario through the Niagara River, cascading over Niagara Falls.

Lake Erie is the shallowest of the five major Great Lakes (excluding Lake St. Clair). Lake Erie is also the southernmost of all the Great Lakes with latitude similar to northern California.

Lake Erie has a large commercial fishing industry, the largest of all the Great Lakes. The main catch is yellow perch. Many of the early villages started out as early fishing communities.