Canada Day deadly on the water in Ontario and Quebec

At least nine people have drowned, or are presumed to have drowned, in Quebec and Ontario after a long weekend that proved particularly hazardous for people swimming and wading in the provinces' lakes and waterways.

High number of drownings could be related to warmer temperatures

Police in Ottawa have recovered a body believed to be that of one of two men who disappeared in the rapids Sunday. (CBC)

At least nine people have drowned, or are presumed to have drowned, in Quebec and Ontario after a long weekend that proved particularly hazardous for people swimming and wading the provinces' lakes and waterways.

Drowning prevention tips:

  • Restrict access to the water by enclosing backyard pools with a self-closing gate; draining bathtubs when not in use and emptying unattended wading pools and buckets.
  • Always wear a lifejacket when boating and ensure toddlers are wearing a lifejacket anytime they are near water.
  • Don’t drink and drive a boat.
  • Stay within arm’s reach of young children when they are near any source of water in the backyard, beach and bathroom.
  • Visit lifeguard-supervised beaches and pools.
  • Learn to swim and enrol children in swimming lessons.

Source: Royal Life Saving Society

The latest incident involved a 19-year-old woman who disappeared in the water near the military college in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., on Sunday just after 8 p.m ET. The woman was with a group of people on a boat when she appeared to faint and fall in the water.

Her friends tried to rescue her but were unsuccessful.

Police have not located her body.

Other reported drownings:

  • Two Ottawa men, aged 21 and 26, went missing after they walked into the rapids in the Ottawa River on Sunday. Police believe they have located the body of one of the men.
  • A 62-year-old Laval, Que., man drowned in a lake near St-Donat, Que., while trying to help his son who was struggling in the water. The 15-year-old son survived, but the body of his father was pulled from the water by emergency workers later. 
  • A 25-year-old man disappeared into the St. Lawrence River near Sainte-Angèle, Que., on Sunday night after he jumped into the water to free a boat that had become stuck. His body hasn't been found.
  • A 19-year-old St. Catharines, Ont., man is still missing after he fell into Twelve Mile Creek in Port Dalhousie, Ont., early Sunday morning.
  • A 30-year-old Oshawa, Ont., man drowned in Peterborough's Little Lake. He had been swimming when he disappeared under the water. His body was recovered by the OPP dive team Sunday evening.
  • A 27-year-old man from Howick Township was found unconscious in the water in Grand Bend, Ont., on Sunday. He was pronounced dead in hospital.
  • A  27-year-old man from the Toronto area disappeared in the Welland River near Niagara Falls, Ont., on Sunday evening after reportedly jumping from a bridge and being dragged away by the current. His body was recovered by emergency workers a short time later.
  • A 72-year-old man from Southampton, Ont., died while swimming in Lake Huron north of the Saugeen River. According to police, the man had been swimming when he stopped breathing. He could not be revived.

This has been a particularly bad year for drownings in Quebec, where 38 people have drowned since the beginning of the year, 14 more than at the same time in 2011.

Raynald Hawkins, director of the Quebec Lifesaving Society, said that part of the problem may be the warm temperatures since late spring.

More people started swimming earlier in the year, he said, and that presented more opportunity for swimmers to find themselves in trouble.