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Lake Wilcox

Fishing in Richmond Hill
Oak Ridges Community Centre & Park
Lake Wilcox Special Policy Area (SPA)

Lake Wilcox Channel GateLake Wilcox is located in the community of Oak Ridges at the headwaters of the East Humber River. As the largest kettle lake on the Oak Ridges Moraine, Lake Wilcox supports diverse and sensitive biological communities while also providing users with recreational activities such as skating, fishing and water sports. There are four Town properties on the shoreline of Lake Wilcox – Lake Wilcox Park (formerly Sunset Beach Park), Jesse Venek Park and North Shore Parkette provide lake front viewing and picnic space, while the Fish & Wildlife Sanctuary/Pike Hatchery is for those interested in a nature experience.

Features of Lake Wilcox

  • Surface Area 55.6 ha
  • Watershed Area 260 ha
  • Maximum depth 17.4 m
  • Flushing rate 0.28 times/yr
  • Length 1.5 km
Swimming at Lake Wilcox
Please be advised that swimming is not permitted from Town property at Lake Wilcox. The water area is unsupervised and unsafe for swimming. Potential hazards include: high levels of bacteria which may pose a risk to your health. As well, sink holes, sharp items such as fishing lures and broken glass may also be present and pose a hazard.

Boating on Lake Wilcox Kayaking on Lake Wilcox
If you will be boating on the lake this season, please practice safe boating and follow all posted restrictions. Human powered boats are preferred, given the small size of the lake.

Boating Rules and Regulations
Transport Canada regulates the operation of vessels, including motorized boats, personal watercraft, canoes and kayaks, under the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations which is part of the Canada Shipping Act (2001).

All shorelines in Ontario, including Lake Wilcox, have a universal shoreline speed limit of 10 km/hr within 30 m of shore.

There are three additional regulations that apply specifically to Lake Wilcox:
  • a speed limit of 9 km/hr on the southern part of the lake (generally at the latitude of Bethesda Side Road);
  • a prohibition of sporting events in the same area; and
  • a no boating zone 75 m from shore beginning where the river from Lake St. George enters Lake Wilcox (east of the Canoe Club) to Bethesda Side Road.
Boating Restriction on Lake Wilcox

Safe Boating Practices

Everyone using the lake is responsible for using their watercraft in a safe manner.

To be a Safe Boater please ensure that you:
  • Always wear a life jacket or personal floatation device when out on the water.
  • Take boater training and have your Pleasure Craft Operator Card.
  • Don’t mix alcohol and boating.
  • Be aware of environmental and weather conditions.
  • Have all required safety equipment for the type of boat you are using.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and other individuals using the lake.
  • Check that your boat is not leaking any petroleum or oil.
To download more information on Boating Safety by Transport Canada follow the link below.

Safe Boating Guide – Transport Canada


For all non-emergencies regarding boating restrictions on the lake please contact the York Regional Police general line at 1-866-876-5423.

Sporting Events and Regattas

If you would like to host a sporting event on the lake in the restricted area, please contact Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety at or 1-800-267-6687.

Lake Wilcox Habitat Enhancement Project

The Lake Wilcox Aquatic Habitat Enhancement project aims to improve shoreline and in-water habitat for fish and wildlife on Lake Wilcox. In 2005 habitat enhancements were  implemented at North Shore Parkette to demonstrate the type of shoreline restoration homeowners can undertake on their property. Interpretive signage was erected in 2006 to explain the function and benefit of these enhancements to local residents.

With the lake’s shoreline being primarily in private ownership, the importance of educating landowners about shoreline management practices is key. The Town, in partnership with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, will provide assistance to landowners who wish to implement aquatic habitat enhancements on their properties.

Oak Ridges Friends of the Environment is a community group that is very active in environmental issues at Lake Wilcox. Members of the organization have been extremely supportive of the Lake Wilcox Aquatic Habitat Enhancement project and assisted with events and program awareness in the community. Their continued support of the project will be integral in future successes and the on-going involvement of the public.

For more information about the Lake Wilcox Habitat Enhancement Project, contact Toronto and Region Conservation at

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