Ontario’s twin cities of Kitchener-Waterloo both have downtown parks that surround small lakes. Waterloo Park, founded in 1893, was built around Silver Lake and upon completion was dubbed the “Jewel of the City.” Three years later and two miles distant, in what must have been a bit of twin rivalry, Kitchener created Victoria Park by transforming a plot of swampland on the site into Victoria Park Lake. Kitchener officials declared that the park built around the lake was “The City’s Crown Jewel.”

Photographs by and courtesy of Matt Morris

For boating lakes that are outside of the bicycle's range, the boat fits in the back of Matt's car.

There was, unfortunately, a bit of a lapse in civic pride through the 20th century and both lakes filled with silt from the creeks that fed them. Waterloo’s “Jewel” became known as Mud Lake among the locals and was so foul in the summer of 1995 that hundreds of waterfowl that had settled upon it died of botulism. In the fall of that year, motivated by the dead ducks, the city created a seven-year plan to dredge the lake and restore the wetlands around it. Kitchener eventually followed suit and decided it was time to dredge Victoria Park Lake, and in 2011 scooped over 85,000 tons of sediment from the lake bottom.

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