Lake Ontario: The Cooler Side of Summer Fun | Water Travelogue #3

Lake Ontario

If you live in Florida, you’re likely used to summer weather starting around the same time your taxes are due and lasting until Thanksgiving. By mid-June, you’re lucky to not be scorched just by walking from your car to the beach. As Randy, Penn and I made our way from Toronto to the rural areas east of the city, our experience with Lake Ontario was a bit different.

Firstly, I forget that in places featuring below-freezing temperatures for the better part of the year, school is in session until the close to the summer solstice (around June 21), restarting after Memorial Day. This means that many boating attractions don’t get into full swing until July. Second, apparently the weather sometimes takes the summer solstice quite literally, and in some places, bodies of water don’t entirely thaw until the summer season has officially arrived.

This is what we experienced in Prince Edward County, a beautiful and unexpectedly progressive region just two hours east of Toronto. The Globe dubbed it, “the gastronomic capital of Ontario,” which is no slight accomplishment given its proximity to its notoriously hip neighboring city. The region is full of breweries, distilleries, wineries and locally-sourced cuisine and, given the weather we experienced, it seems we would have been better off exploring all of that. Instead, we attempted to get out onto Lake Ontario, only to find that many boat rental locations had yet to be fully operational; we ended up settling for dune climbing and beach lazing.

Lake Ontario

While we were sitting on the beach I noticed a slight haze blowing up the beach toward the dunes. When I see this at the Florida beaches back home, it’s simply the reaction of beach sand on a windy day. On the shores of Lake Ontario, however, I realized that I wasn’t feeling grains of sand pelting my body. And with each gust of wind, I also noticed a slight chill that cut underneath the warmth of the sun. I’m far from being a weather expert, but as Randy and I were puzzling over this hazy phenomenon, we realized its origin. Since summer was still in its early stages, the temperature of Lake Ontario was still far below that of the air. The meeting of the two elements created a mist of condensation, constantly showering beachgoers.

I was amused and humbled by this phenomenon at the same time. When I’m on the beach in Florida, especially around spring break time, I relish a good chuckle when I see pasty northerners slathering themselves with sunscreen and hiding under umbrellas and sun-protective clothing. At this moment on the shores of  Lake Ontario, I got to laugh at myself huddling from the cold while the Canadians in bikinis got their summer party on.

Lake Ontario

Author: Kara Wood