Why Lake Erie?

Great Art for Great Lakes 2019 is focusing on Lake Erie in order to contribute and support the decades of continuous efforts to conserve and protect the smallest and most fragile of the Great Lakes.

Currently, conservation efforts have had limited success as we witness the lake shift from blue to green. It is our goal to build and strengthen the public’s understanding of Lake Erie’s ecological and economic value. We will tap into the creativity of citizens to express and share their skills and stories in order to celebrate Lake Erie’s significance to our culture and heritage.

Plagued by increasingly frequent, severe, and sometimes-toxic algae blooms–these blooms threaten drinking water, clog intake pipes, suffocate fish, and deter tourists. The largest algae bloom on Lake Erie was recorded in 2015. Algae blooms—linked to phosphorus from farm fertilizers, livestock manure and sewage treatment plants—have taken hold in the western third of the lake over the last decade and colored some of its waters a shade of green that looks like pea soup. The blooms, which typically peak from the middle of August through the end of September, also have been blamed for contributing to oxygen-deprived dead zones where fish can’t survive.

Photo credit: Lesley Mabo

Haldimand County

Haldimand County is on the Niagara Peninsula in southwestern Ontario where the waters of the southern Grand River meet Lake Erie. The county is adjacent to Norfolk County, the Brant County, the City of Hamilton, and the Regional Municipality of Niagara.

Lake Erie has an average depth of only 19 metres, or 62 feet. This shallow depth means that when the winds pick up, legendary fierce waves hit frequently. The lake is so shallow, that under strong winds, lake levels can be down on one end and drastically increased on the other. The majority of Lake Erie’s water flows in through the Detroit River from the upper lakes — Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron — as well as tributaries such as the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair. The lakes main outlet is Niagara Falls.

Six Nations of the Grand River

The Six Nations consist of the: Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, Onondaga and Tuscarora.

These Nations unified under the Great Tree of Peace. During the American Revolution, Captain Joseph Brant led many from the Iroquois Confederacy to ally with the British. For their loyalty to the Crown, the Six Nations would be deeded a tract of land along the Grand River. Eventually, most of the land would be stripped from them and they would be reduced to present 46,000 acres. Recognized as “Six Nations Reserve No. 40”.

For many Aboriginal people and their ways of life, water offers “life-giving” forces, accompanied by certain duties and responsibilities. First Nations maintain unique perspectives on, and relationships with, water. The quality of water is not just an ‘environmental’ issue from an Aboriginal perspective, but one of the main features of Aboriginal knowledge, based on thousands of years of living sustainably with Creation.

Port Rowan

Located on Lake Erie’s north shore, from the St Clair River to the Grand River, Port Rowan became part of the newly formed County of Norfolk in 2001. The Algonquin nation are notably the earliest inhabitants of the area, around the year 1000. Subsequently, the Attawandaron nation occupied the area from 1350 until the absorption by the Iroquois in 1651. The last significant indigenous nation to have occupied Port Rowan was the Mississaugas.

Lake Erie was the last of the Great Lakes to be explored by Europeans. Lake Erie is popular with sports fishermen and it boasts an extensive walleye fishery. Charter fishing boats also take tourists out to catch Smallmouth Bass. Millions of people get drinking water from Lake Erie.

Port Dover

Located on the north shore of Lake Erie, at the mouth of the Lynn River. The earliest known inhabitants in the area from roughly 1000, were the Algonquin nation, followed by the Iroquois, and later the Mississaugas. Subject to an American raid in the War of 1912, much of it was destroyed but later rebuilt and the village recovered and flourished as an agricultural centre, tourist resort and lake port. The excellent harbour was home port to a large commercial fishing fleet. Port Dover was incorporated as a town in 1954, and in 1974 it was amalgamated with several other communities to create the city of Nanticoke, but as of January 2001 it is part of the city of Norfolk County.

Lake Erie is the second smallest Great Lake by surface area, second to Lake Ontario, but is the smallest by volume. Its southerly location and fine beaches turns Lake Erie tropical in the summer, especially with its warm waters. Lake Erie is along the same latitude as Rome, Italy giving the area an extended growing season for farmers.