The Lake Ontario Crossing will run from Port Dalhousie, ON, to Cherry Beach in Toronto. Water temperatures typically run around 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Conditions can range from flat water to 15 kt winds and four-foot swells, with winds most often running from the SW/S/SE. Expect highly variable conditions.
Lake Ontario Crossing Race Course
The crossing route runs from the sandy beach at Lakeside Park in Port Dalhouise to Cherry Beach in Toronto. Paddlers start on the beach, head out into the open expanse of Lake Ontario, and then cross to Toronto. Use the CN Tower as a landmark, and as you approach Toronto, aim for the lighthouse on the tip of the Leslie Street Spit. Smile for the cameras as you pass the spit inside of the red channel marker, then grind out the last mile home in the protected water of the Outer Harbour.
Approaching the Outer Harbour. Photo: Andy Skeoch
Port Dalhousie, in the heart of the Niagara region, offers the infrastructure to facilitate a big crossing. There is vibrant tourist area, large marina with ample docking facilities, and a picturesque sandy beach to start the race.
Cherry Beach finish line. Photo: Warren Won
The variable nature of the conditions on Lake Ontario requires an alternate race course in the event that crossing is deemed unsafe. In such an event, the race will be run on a near-shore course (with escort boats optional). The configuration will be determined based on conditions, at a length of roughly 20-32 miles. The alternate course will rank up there in distance with some of the most respected endurance races on the East Coast, and will have a significant open-water paddling component. Relay teams will have the opportunity to split the paddle, or switch into the solo race. Race directors may also alter the crossing route (i.e., reverse the course, or start in a different location).
Photo: Warren Won