World News

Great lake swimmer: Ontario man celebrates 50th birthday by swimming in 50 lakes | CBC News


A Stratford, Ont., man who pledged to swim 50 lakes to celebrate his 50th birthday this year will complete his goal by plunging into Lake Huron on Friday.

David Jackson fell in love with lake swimming while at summer camp as a youth.

He has gone for a lake swim every year to celebrate his birthday, he said. 

But he decided to build on that tradition for this year’s milestone celebration in May.

“I saw an article maybe 10 years ago of some person trying to do a 50 of something — so I said to my wife, ‘I love swimming … You know what? Why not try it?'” he said. 

“I just really wanted to prove to myself that I could do it at my age too,” Jackson said.

David stands in front of a lake holding a white board that reads "1 Belwood Lake."
David Jackson poses in front of Belwood Lake, the first lake he swam. (Submitted by David Jackson)

Jackson’s first swim was in Belwood Lake near Fergus in May.

His quest has so far taken him to Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, several lakes in the Parry Sound area and some in Algonquin Park. 

In order to count toward his tally, Jackson, according to his own rules, has to walk out into a lake as far as he can, then swim three strokes under water away from shore, then surface and swim back. 

He spent hours swimming in some of the lakes, but others have been shallow and swampy. He’s had to cut through peoples’ back yards to access some of them.

At others, he’s been swarmed by mosquitoes. 

The worst, he said, was Found Lake next to the Algonquin Art Centre.

“It was awful,” he said. 

David kneals at the water's edge holding a white board that reads "David #31, Katie #17, Erin #17."  He has his arm around one daughter to his right.  His other daughter is behind him with her arms draped over his shoulders.
David Jackson’s two daughters have been accompanying him on some of his swims. (Submitted by David Jackson.)

“It’s just swampy and mucky and [has] no shore … And I had to do a lot of bushwhacking to get into it.”

Jackson swims in a shirt and bathing suit, which he keeps them in his car so if he sees a lake at the side of the road, he can pull over and jump in. 

“I have a little whiteboard,” he said. “I take a selfie and it’ll say the lake and it’ll say the number on the bottom.”

His two daughters, ages five and six, have also gotten into the action, swimming 22 and 18 lakes respectively.

Now that he’s about to reach his goal with plenty of summer weather still to come, Jackson said he’s considering getting even more ambitious.

“I might try for 60 actually,” he said. “Just because, you know what? Why not? Why not keep going? And maybe 70? We’ll see.”


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button