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These water level fluctuations are an integral part of lake ecology, and produce and maintain extensive wetlands.Baymouth bars built by prevailing winds and currents have created a significant number of lagoons and sheltered harbors, mostly near (but not limited to) Prince Edward County, Ontario and the easternmost shores.The lake was a border between the Huron people and the Iroquois Confederacy in the pre-Columbian era.In the 1600s, the Iroquois drove out the Huron from southern Ontario and settled the northern shores of Lake Ontario.The shoreline created during this stage can be easily recognized by the (now dry) beaches and wave-cut hills 10 to 25 miles (15 to 40 km) from the present shoreline. Lawrence valley, the outlet was below sea level, and for a short time the lake became a bay of the Atlantic Ocean, in association with the Champlain Sea.Gradually the land rebounded from the release of the weight of about 6,500 feet (2,000 m) of ice that had been stacked on it.

One unique feature of the lake is the Z-shaped Bay of Quinte which separates Prince Edward County from the Ontario mainland, save for a 2-mile (3.2 km) isthmus near Trenton; this feature also supports many wetlands and aquatic plants, as well as associated fisheries.Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America.It is surrounded on the north, west, and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south and east by the American state of New York, whose water boundaries meet in the middle of the lake.Both north and south shores experience shoreline erosion, but the tilting amplifies this effect on the south shore, causing loss to property owners.The name Ontario is derived from the Huron word Ontarí'io, which means "great lake".Its maximum length is 193 statute miles (311 kilometres; 168 nautical miles) and its maximum width is 53 statute miles (85 km; 46 nmi).As with all the Great Lakes, water levels change both within the year (owing to seasonal changes in water input) and among years (owing to longer term trends in precipitation).The bars themselves are the sites of long beaches, such as Sandbanks Provincial Park and Sandy Island Beach State Park.These sand bars are often associated with large wetlands, which support large numbers of plant and animal species, as well as providing important rest areas for migratory birds.The action of the ice occurred along the pre-glacial Ontarian River valley which had approximately the same orientation as today's basin.Material that was pushed southward by the ice sheet left landforms such as drumlins, kames, and moraines, both on the modern land surface and the lake bottom, reorganizing the region's entire drainage system.

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