From the National Film Board's YouTube channel.
During the last glacial period (which lasted more than a million years) there were 4 glacial stages and, with each, the lake basins were progressively enlarged. Towards the end of the last glaciation (Wisconsin), lakes formed in front of retreating ice margins, first in the Erie and Michigan basins, and drained S to the Mississippi more than 14 000 years ago. Subsequently, a lake formed in the southern part of the Huron basin and drainage between Erie, Huron and Michigan was linked. There was also an outlet to the Hudson R (S of the Ontario basin). The Ontario basin became ice free about 12 000 years ago; Lk Superior and Georgian Bay later. The presence of ice margins caused many early lakes to form at very high levels. At one time, a single huge lake covered much of the upper Great Lks area (Superior, Michigan and Huron). As the ice melted away from the natural outlets, lake levels often dropped quickly and to extremely low levels, for example, about a 150 m drop in the Ontario basin, with the opening of the St Lawrence Valley (12 000-11 500 years ago). As a result of continued uplift during the past 10 000 years, upper lakes drainage was fully transferred (through Lks St Clair and Erie) to Lk Ontario only 4000-5000 years ago, when the Chicago outlet (Lk Michigan) closed.
The Great Lakes have, since the days of the early fur trade, provided an important transportation route to the interior of the continent, and with the opening of the ST LAWRENCE SEAWAY (1959) they became a truly international waterway.
Author P.G. SLY
Links to Other Sites
The website for the Historica-Dominion Institute, parent organization of The Canadian Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Check out their extensive online feature about the War of 1812, the "Heritage Minutes" video collection, and many other interactive resources concerning Canadian history, culture, and heritage.
Library and Archives Canada
The website for Library and Archives Canada. Offers searchable online collections of textual documents, photographs, audio recordings, and other digitized resources. Also includes virtual exhibits about Canadian history and culture, and research aids that assist in locating material in the physical collections.
Marine Museum of the Great Lakes
The museum's extensive exhibits provide a look at 19th and 20th century shipbuilding and life on the Great Lakes.
The Great Lakes Atlas
This very extensive website covers the history, geography, ecology, and just about everything else you may want to know about the Great Lakes. A joint production of Environment Canada and the American E.P.A.
Explore this Webby award-winning website about the ills besetting the waters of the Great Lakes. From the National Film Board of Canada.
Thunder Bay Port Authority
The website for the Port of Thunder Bay, part of the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System. Provides information about port facilities and cargo.
Glossary: Great Lakes
A glossary of key environmental terms and programs related to the Great Lakes. From the University of Minnesota in the US.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
An online collection of archival material related to the history of shipping, harbours, and ports on the Great Lakes.
Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area of Canada
Visitor's guide to the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area of Canada, the world’s largest freshwater marine protected area. From Parks Canada.