There have occasionally been reports of harbour seals inhabiting various lakes and rivers in Canada. The only lake in Ontario that had a seal population was Lake Ontario, but they went extinct in 1824 by overhunting. Ungava seals, a subspecies of harbor seal is one of the four known freshwater types of seal. Ungava seals, discovered in 1938, have a rather small range 200 kilometres away from the ocean, living only in Lake Bienville, Little Seawolf Lake, Seawolf Lake and Lake Bourdel, all in the Ungava peninsula of northern Quebec. The cryptid connection with Ungava seals is that there are reports of them in other lakes nearby where they’re not thought to inhabit. Since the 1960’s, Inuit hunters and workers of Hydro-Quebec have seen them in Lac Guillaume-Delisle, Rivière Nastapoca, Rivière Boniface, Rivière Niagurnaq, Rivière Kuunga, Rivière Longland and Lac Tasialuk.
After the supposed extinction of the harbour seals in Lake Ontario in 1824, two more were killed, one in 1865 and the other in 1880. In 1937, famous explorer “Windy” Smith wrote of an unknown species of seal inhabiting the remote Edehon lake, which he “discovered”, 129 km inland from the Hudson Bay in southern Nunavut. Later in environmentalist Farley Mowat’s 1993 book, Born Naked, he was also told that freshwater seals lived in Edehon Lake by some Inuit people, who occasionally made summer hunting camps there. On August 2nd, 1938, multiple people claimed to have seen an eight ft long, brown, slender creature around the Wasaga Beach area of Lake Huron. In 1975, there were reports of a group of seals or seal-like animals near Kincardine, off Lake Huron. In 2006, a man saw a five ft long seal 100 yards into the water from Port Weller in southwestern Lake Ontario. The last Canadian freshwater seal sighting I’m aware of was In a 2007 report by the Innu Traditional Knowledge Community, which mentioned that hooded seals were reported in Seal Lake, Labrador by the local Innu people.
The first photo of an Ungava seal
An Ungava seal swimming in a lake