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Kingstie, a portmanteau of Kingston and Nessie, also sometimes called Oshawa Oscar or simply the Lake Ontario Monster is a lake monster allegedly inhabiting Lake Ontario, the 13th largest lake in the world, at 19,000 square km and more then 800 ft deep. Described as a gigantic 60 to 80 ft snake-like animal, Kingstie is said to have large eyes, thick body, bluish-grey skin and a snake-like head. Reports of Kingstie go back to pre-Columbian times, where the Seneca called it the gaayendietha, the Cayuga called it onyare and the Ojibwe called it the misiginebig. There are similar reports of gigantic black aquatic snakes or snake-like creatures in Lake Huron and Lake St. Martin in Manitoba.

The first recorded sighting by a European was by explorer Jacques Cartier in 1535 or 1536, who described seeing a creature he described as a finned snake that moved like a caterpillar. In the late 1600’s, French explorer Pierre Radisson described giant aquatic “snakes” that lived in Lake Ontario. In the late 18th or 19th centuries, a crew of fur traders reported seeing a “great snake”, which was in the centre of the lake while they were travelling to York, now called Toronto. On July 3rd, 1817, the crew of a ship spotted a black serpentine creature swimming in the lake five km from the shore. On August 5th, 1829, The Kingston Gazette and Religious Advocate published an article about two children who claimed to have seen a 20-30 ft long black snake-like creature in the lake. On July 1st, 1833, Captain Abijah Kellogg and his crew aboard the Polythemus claimed to have seen a dark bluish serpent swim by the ship to the direction of the St. Lawrence River. They described it as an absurd 175 ft long and the creature had no visible head. In 1877, various fishermen in the Burlington Bay claimed to have seen an animal they described as a serpentine creature with a body resembling a log with a crocodilian head. One of these fishermen claimed it even snapped off his oar. On August 22nd, 1882, three people witnessed a bluish grey serpent covered in bristles that was 2.5 ft wide and 50 ft long between the Toronto Islands and Fort York. In 1888, two sailors saw a serpentine creature between the Wolfe and Simcoe Islands at the mouth of the St. Lawrence.

In 1934, a group of boaters claimed to have collided with one of the “monsters”. The collision killed the animal, although it’s unknown what happened to the body. Later the same year, a group of pranksters painted a barrel filled with empty bottles for buoyancy, to resemble a dragon-like head. They used a rope to keep it from drifting away and would bob it up and down to make it appear alive. This hoax is notable for actually fooling some people, causing a newspaper to first coin the name “kingstie” and is also often falsely claimed to be the first kingstie report. In 1968, a man from Scarborough saw a 20 ft eel-like creature with a mane. On two separate occasions in the 1970’s, an employee from the Ministry of Natural Resources claimed to have seen a large serpentine creature in Prince Edward County. On May 16th, 2004 two people claimed to have seen an eight ft long animal in Little Cataraqai Creek Conservation Area, which is directly connected to Lake Ontario. In September 5th, 2011, a person described seeing a massive two foot wide, black, serpentine creature off the Toronto docks while they were at a concert. At one point it exposed enough of its body that he noticed that it had a fin.

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