National Treasure #53: Great Lakes

For anyone who’s driven the seemingly endless north shore of Lake Superior, this designation of the Great Lakes as a national treasure might seem odd. Sort of like celebrating the Canadian Shield.

But where else can you find roughly 35,000 islands and 20% of the world’s fresh water, or enough to cover the whole of North America to a depth of 1.5 metres?

Now, although there are five Great Lakes, only four of them lie along the Canada/USA border. That would be, west to east, Lakes Superior, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, Lake Michigan being entirely in the USA.

On the other hand, some folks consider that Huron and Michigan are one lake, because they are “one hydrological body of water, connected by the Straits of Mackinac.”

So what the heck. We’ll claim the whole shebang. I mean, whose sesquicentennial is it?

Want to read more on the Great Lakes? They have their own website, the Great Lakes Information Network, as well as their own Commission.



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6 Responses to National Treasure #53: Great Lakes

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    The Great Lakes would be nothing — or at least, not as romanticized — without the Group of Seven. And the converse is probably equally true, the Group of Seven would be nothing without the Great Lakes they painted so often, and so movingly.
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – Good point. I remember the first time I saw one of those white pines in the flesh. By golly, they really did look like that!

  2. Marion says:

    I don’t have an actual bucket list, but if I did one of the things on it would be to drive around the Great Lakes. I think it’s called the Great Circle or Grand Tour or something like that. I’ve had it in the back of my mind to do that trip for a long time. It will take some planning though.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Marion – Interesting – I haven’t heard of that as a “thing.” We cut off Lake Michigan by crossing at the Straits of Mackinac (I think) on our trip to Kenora, but what we saw, fore and aft as it were (OK, OK, north and south) was a whole whack of Canadian Shield. Its enchantment pales after a while. Say, after half a day of a 6-day round-trip transit. The thing to do (as always) is to stop and see stuff along the way. So yes, some planning involved.

  3. Tom Watson says:

    As it turns out, I have driven around all five great lakes. I especially like the northern Lake Superior shore which I have driven several times. I love it. So picturesque. I have to say though that winter is not the best time to do it, as there are fair stretches where motels and restaurants are closed (at least they were the one time I did it in winter) and that creates other inconveniences as well.

    We still make periodic trips to Manitoba and I wouldn’t mind driving that Superior shore one more time but…well, Janice says from now on, buddy, we’re flying. Likely wise but sigh.


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