20 Things You Didn't Know about the Great Lakes

The Fresh Five…Some Things You May Not Know…

We grew up on the Great Lakes, more specifically, the mighty Lake Superior and the majestic Lake Huron. But… despite being on the Great Lakes for most of our lives, there are still some secrets that even we didn’t know!

1. There have been about 350 shipwrecks recorded in Lake Superior…and she is known not to give up her dead. Over 10,000 lives have been lost in her water.

2. The maximum wave ever recorded on Lake Superior was 9.45 metres or 31 feet high! And while Lake Superior is indeed a lake, she behaves more like an inland sea

3. Lake Superior has its own tide…and winter surfing

Lake Superior Wind Surfing


4. Lake Superior had a song written by Gordon Lightfoot called The Wreck of             the Edmond Fitzgerald The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Edmund Fitzgerald

5. Ojibway legends tell of the water monster “Mishebeshu (great lynx), who              is said to have an underwater den near the mouth of the Serpent River that            flows into Lake Huron

6.Lake Huron was the first of the Great Lakes to be discovered by European explorers. In fact, early explorers listed Georgian Bay as a separate 6th Great Lake because it’s nearly separated by Manitoulin Island and the Bruce Peninsula.  Speaking of Manitoulin Island…did you know it is the largest freshwater island in the world? And that the Great Lakes have over 30, 000 island.

7. Lake Huron is connected to Lake Michigan by the Straits of Mackinac. Hydrologically speaking, they have the same mean water level and are considered one lake.  What do you think?

Straits of Mackinac

8. Along the northwestern shore of Lake Huron, “puddingstone” is sourced from St. Joseph Island. English settlers in the early 1800s gave the stone its unusual name because it looked like boiled suet pudding with currants and red cherries.

9.French discoverers originally called Lake Huron “la Mer douce” or the sweet fresh water sea. On most early maps, the lake was labelled “lac des Hurons” (Lake of the Huron)

10. Fort St. Joseph, on Joseph's Island played a defining role in the War of 1812. Fort St. Joseph was the rallying point when the United States declared war on Great Britain.  A force of British soldiers, First Nations and Canadians left from the fort to capture the American fort on Mackinac Island…the was the first military maneuver…and one without bloodshed) in the War of 1818

11. Lake Michigan is the only lake that is located entirely within the US borders

12. Isle Royal is a massive island surrounded by Lake Superior. Within this island are several smaller lakes…yes…that’s a lake on a lake

13. It takes 2 centuries for all the water in Lake Superior to replace itself.

14. There is alleged to be a 30-40 foot long “monster” in Lake Erie named BessieThe earliest recorded sighting goes back to 1793.

15. The original publication of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax contained the line, “I hear things are just as bad up in Lake Erie”. Fourteen years later the Ohio Sea Grant Program wrote to Seuss to make the case that conditions had improved…he removed the line.

16. Goderich Mine is the largest salt mine in the world. Part of it runs underneath Lake Huron more than 500 m underground.

17. Within Lake Michigan there is a “triangle” with as similar reputation to the Bermuda Triangle, where a large amount of strange disappearances have occurred. There have also been UFO sightings.

18. Lake Ontario is the smallest of the Great Lakes…the province of Ontario was names after the lake…not vice versa

19. In 1804, a Canadian warship, His Majesty's Ship Speedy , sank in Lake Ontario. In 1990, wreck hunter Ed Burtt managed to find it…only he isn’t allowed to recover any of its artifacts until a government approved site to exhibit the items is found…he is still waiting.

20. Babe Ruth hit his first major league home run at Hanlan’s Point Stadium in Toronto. It landed in Lake Ontario…and is still believed to be there…

Tags: Great Lakes

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