Situated high on a mountain above Lake Ontario’s Bay of Quinte, Lake on the Mountain is a natural curiosity that defies all known geographical and geological theory. It has a constant flow of clean, fresh water, with no apparent source, 62 metres above Lake Ontario.
The mystery of the lake has been the subject of speculation for centuries. Mohawks called it Onokenoga, or Lake of the Gods, and believed that spirits dwelled within its deep waters; each spring they offered gifts to the spirits to ensure a successful crop in the coming year. Early settlers believed the lake was bottomless and still others thought Lake on the Mountain led to a subterranean passage and distant water source.
Over the years, geographers and scientists have devised many complex theories about how the lake restores itself. Today, the most generally accepted theory holds that the lake is a collapsed doline, an unusual feature found in areas with a limestone rock foundation. Dolines are cavities formed when limestone beneath the surface dissolves. Ultimately the roof collapses and the giant sinkhole fills with water. The lake’s outlet stream flows northward through a shallow, bedrock channel, eventually tumbling over the Prince Edward Escarpment to the Bay of Quinte below.
It provides quite an unusual experience, to drive along the Bay of Quinte only to drive up a hill and find another large body of water, a lake, at the top.