What Color is Lake Ontario Today?
This art installation asks a simple question with a deceptively simple answer: What color is Lake Ontario? Most people would say ‘blue’ and they would be incorrect most of the time. The actual color of Lake Ontario is constantly changing due to natural factors such as daily weather and seasonal cycles. Additionally, human activities have a major impact on the water’s appearance, such as sewage overflows and phosphorus runoff that can cause harmful algae blooms.
Taking advantage of a peninsular outcropping on Toronto’s beachfront, the installation uses large scale color swatches juxtaposed with the backdrop of Lake Ontario to elicit a comparison and point of reference. From the deep blues of healthy water, to the neon greens of algae blooms, to the cloudy brown hues caused by sewer overflows from the nearby marina; colors are chosen based on research done by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, a non-profit dedicated to protecting the lake’s water quality. The pavilion can be understood as a barometer to better perceive the character of the water and better understand the relationship between its appearance and wider ecology.