She attributes that to the sheer size of the lake.
“When you drive around the shores of smaller lakes, you can see the whole lake and land surrounding it. But when you drive along the shore of Lake Ontario, it all looks the same,” Gateley said.
The lack of stories about Lake Ontario seems to be an American thing, though.
“What really sparked the interest was going to Canada with my boat and talking to locals. Their biggest city (Toronto) is on the lake, so they seem to talk about it a lot more,” Gateley said.
Her first History Press book, “Maritime Tales of Lake Ontario,” dealt primarily with shipwrecks on the lake.
“One of the most interesting shipwrecks was the HMS Ontario, which sunk during the Revolutionary War. It happened on Halloween night, and lots of people died — men, women and children. It was the largest loss of life (in a shipwreck on Lake Ontario). It was a British ship, and they didn’t want the Americans to know it was gone, so not a lot was known about until it was discovered about five years ago,” Gateley said.
That wreck is especially interesting to Western New Yorker, since the boat sunk after leaving Fort Niagara en route to Oswego, and some of the artifacts and bodies washed ashore at the time of the shipwreck — 1780 — in Somerset and Wilson.
Like most authors, Gateley is already thinking about her next book.
“I think the next one might be about the environmental history of the lake. Lake Ontario has 16 nuclear power plants on its shores, and huge hydro dams.
“Right now, I have four books still in print. As long as people keep buying them, I’ll keep writing them,” Gateley said.