5 Reasons Why I Can't Stand Being In The Ocean & Think Lake Ontario Is Way Better

I'm team fresh water. 💧

A photo of Patrick. The Toronto Islands.

A photo of Patrick. The Toronto Islands.

This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

I'll take Lake Ontario over the ocean any day.

When I was four, my mom let me watch Jaws 3-D. I have no idea why. All I know is that I've never been the same since. That terrible movie shook my pre-pubescent world to its core and ruined my relationship with the ocean forever.

Seriously, I wish I were exaggerating. Last year, I went sea kayaking in San Diego with my girlfriend and almost had a full-on panic attack. Why? Jaws 3-D, folks, Jaws freaking 3D.

The physiological after-effects of that movie have controlled large portions of my life. It's one of the reasons I chose to pursue acting in Toronto rather than Vancouver.

Ultimately, I decided I'd rather not live close to a water source that has spent billions of years housing the scariest things on the planet.

In fact, I wouldn't trade the Toronto Islands for Vancouver Island even if you promised me a pirate's treasure. Why? Oh, I'll tell you why.

The ocean is full of monsters

Let's be real, I could end and begin this argument right here and still make a compelling case for Lake Ontario amongst us worriers, but I'm having fun, so I'll continue.

First, let's list some of the predators currently thriving in the Pacific Ocean:

  • Great White Shark
  • Killer Whale (also known as Orca)
  • Blue Shark
  • Hammerhead Shark
  • Tiger Shark
  • Giant Pacific Octopus
  • Barracuda
  • Moray Eel
  • Humboldt Squid
  • Northern Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskie
  • Walleye
  • Brown Trout
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Coho Salmon
  • Lake Trout
  • Channel Catfish

You see what I'm getting at here, right? One of those lists has a giant octopus on it and the other doesn't, okay? Let's move on.

Freshwater destroys saltwater 

Obviously, fresh water is the GOAT of water because, without it, we'd all be dead. Enough said. But I'll admit, salt water does have some attractive benefits, such as exfoliation, gargling, and kidney failure — alright, maybe not that last one.

But I want you to imagine for a second that you have two friends, Fresh Stream and Salty Oceans. Stream is a good guy, willing to wash you off and give you a sip of his bounty. Salty, not so much. In fact, he's the type of guy who, if push really came to shove, would let you die of thirst. Harsh.

Stream, you're perfectly safe going skinny dipping with him late at night, assuming you can swim, of course. But, Salty, well, he's got some not-so-cool friends over, and it's dinner time.

I mean, if that tale doesn't tell you everything you need to know, friend, then I don't know. I've listed your choices below:

  • A. Fresh water: drinkable, guaranteed to have fewer monsters, can open eyes underwater.
  • B. Salt water: not drinkable, a staggering amount of monsters, can confirm, stings eyes.

They aren't called "The Great Oceans" for a reason

I'll admit now that this point is petty. It's not based on logic. It's a diss. It's a childish schoolyard burn I'm hurling toward the ocean because a movie scared me when I was four-year-olds.

Worst yet, when I was a child, I used to think that's why we called them "The Great Lakes" because they lacked sharks. I tried to figure out what the imaginary mechanics of such a naming process would be for this article, and it almost broke me.

In reality, most of the province's lakes and rivers were named thousands of years ago by Indigenous Peoples.

In fact, words like "Ontario," "Erie," "Huron," and "Michigan" are unique to North America because they come from languages spoken by Indigenous Peoples.

You can understand Lake Ontario

Look, the oceans are too damn big, alright? We don't know what's happening in there, and we probably never will. It's such an alien world that the deeper you travel into it, the more you feel like you've entered an alternate dimension. It's incomprehensible.

Lake Ontario, though? We've got that bad boy mapped out. Thousands of years ago, it was a giant ice cube; now, it's a stunning body of water. That's not to say there's nothing more to learn from it, but it's an easier thing to wrap one's head around.

Does that make lakes better than oceans? Not really, but it does for me. I don't know, there's just something overwhelming about stepping into the sea, an unease I've never felt jumping off a boat into a lake.

The movie "Open Water"

Does anyone remember that horror movie Open Water? Yeah, my mom let me watch that one too. Although, I was 10 or 11 at that point, so maybe this one's on me.

The film centres on a couple, who becomes stranded in the open ocean after their scuba diving group leaves them behind. It's terrifying and loosely based on a true story.

I can't think of a scarier situation, to be honest. It's my worst nightmare and one of the reasons I will never go scuba diving or swimming in open ocean.

I understand this fear is irrational and one-sided. After all, people have been lost forever in Lake Ontario. I have to remind myself that although the lake seems tiny compared to the ocean, it's still a massive body of water that any rescue crew would struggle to comb.

Still, there's something about the enormity of the ocean that makes me feel like it's more dangerous. Maybe I was a tragic sea captain in a past life or maybe — just maybe! — I've seen too many movies.

If you're not a total worry wart like me, these thoughts have probably never crossed your mind, but it's one of the reasons I've always preferred lakes to oceans.

Hopefully, this list has convinced you to join my team, team never-in-the-ocean, and maybe I'll see you up at the cottage this year.

Patrick John Gilson
Patrick John Gilson was a Creator with Narcity Media focused on Ontario gas prices and is based in Toronto, Ontario.