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"Shark" in Lake Ontario turns out to be Shark Week stunt

Discovery Canada made the revelation Wednesday afternoon

No, there are not sharks lurking in the waters of Lake Ontario.

Discovery Channel has revealed a viral video showing what looks to be a small shark swimming on the end of a fishing line, is actually part of a marketing push for Shark Week, airing next month.

The video was shot near near Wolfe Island, not far from where the St Lawrence empties into Lake Ontario. Since being posted to YouTube July 10, the video has been viewed over 281, 000 times.

Locals and marine wildlife experts had speculated that the animal filmed struggling with a fish might be a porpoise or a bull shark, a man-eater able to survive in fresh and saltwater.

Despite using an "incredibly life-like prosthetic model shark" in the stunt, Paul Lewis, President and General Manager of Discovery Canada tells NEWSTALK 1010 he did not anticipate fear.

"I think we all thought that the focus would more on 'is it or isn't it' then 'oh my god, this is a shark and let's run!' That really was a surprise," said Lewis.

Some locals on Wolfe Island suggested to the National Post they would not be swimming in Lake Ontario in light of "shark" sightings. Lewis says once safety concerns were raised, Discovery decided to reveal what it had done weeks earlier than it had anticipated.

Lewis says the video was shot about three weeks ago. Great care was taken to make the clip, apparently shot on a smartphone in portrait orientation, look like the work of an amateur.  The "shark" itself was manipulated by a man under the water.

Before the revelation, interim Progressive Conservative leader Jim Wilson mused that an unnamed marine boost could help tourism.

When NDP leader Andrea Horwath was asked what she would name a potential "monster," she took the bait. She offered "Big Tooth" as an option, but suggested there should be a contest to figure out a more Ontario-inspired name.

Before learning it was all a hoax, Horwath had also suggested people going for a dip near Wolfe Island should be careful.

Discovery Canada is owned by Bell Media, the parent company of NEWSTALK 1010.

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  • 17
  1. Frankie posted on 07/16/2014 02:27 PM
    We're going to need a bigger TV set.
  2. Dama posted on 07/16/2014 02:31 PM
    DEPORT. This shark is a candidate for deportation.
    1. Angry Jill posted on 07/16/2014 02:34 PM
      @Dama Agreed. Call immigration. DEPORT. DEPORT. DEPORT.
  3. Concerned Troll posted on 07/16/2014 02:49 PM
    Damn. This video looks fake. I think they made it on porpoise.
  4. john posted on 07/16/2014 03:15 PM
    it is okey people nothing to worrie about it is just Katleen winbag`s pet shark .
  5. Matt posted on 07/16/2014 03:27 PM
    Kathleen Wynbag had the video made so she had an excuse to claim she was going to spent $50 billion draining lake Ontario to find the creature.....only six months later to claim that the project had been brought in under budget by spending $5 billion on a drag net for the lake that resulted in no evidence of a the creature....but solved the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa
  6. Frankie posted on 07/16/2014 03:57 PM
    Q: What kind of shark is always gambling?
    A: A cardshark

    Q: What do you call a solitary shark?
    A: A Loan Shark.

    Q: What is a sharks favorite sandwich?
    A: Peanut butter and jellyfish.

    Q: What did the shark say to the whale?
    A: What are u blubbering about?

    Q: Did the shark raised by fish receive an education?
    A: Yes, he was home-schooled (in a school of fish)

    Q: What do yuppie sharks like to drink?
    A: Jaw-va

    Q: What did the Shark say to comfort a friend who had gotten out of a relationship?
    A: "It's ok, there's plenty of other fish in the sea"

    Q: Why did the shark quickly turn away and not eat the people in the water?
    A: Because they were Polish and Italian. The shark had eaten enough sh*t already.
    1. Karl Burgin posted on 07/17/2014 09:35 AM
      @Frankie funny....lol
  7. Blair posted on 07/16/2014 05:04 PM
    THIS IS SO ANNOYING. I'm so annoyed I fell for this.
  8. Bill R posted on 07/16/2014 07:17 PM
    I don't see the humour in this at all. Paul Lewis, President and General Manager of Discovery Canada needs to be fired for thinking this was a great idea. About as "creative" as the Coors publicity stunt a week ago of leaving a briefcase in a busy intersection - to be mistaken for a bomb. These idiot publicity stunt / marketing gurus need to be charged with public mischief at the very least if not being an outright criminal public menace.
    1. MrMarbles posted on 07/17/2014 12:00 AM
      @Bill R Shame on Bell Media. Creating false news stories sets a bad precedent. What else will they be creating news stories about in the future under the guise of marketing? Can I trust the news I see on Bell owned news organizations now or do I have to think in the back of my mind that they're pulling another prank?
    2. G Man posted on 07/17/2014 01:35 PM
      @Bill R How is this public mischief? No one was hurt by this stunt, unlike the Coors stunt. Educated people know there are no sharks in the Great Lakes.
    3. MrMarbles posted on 07/17/2014 06:11 PM
      @G Man Bull sharks have traveled as far up the the Mississippi as Illinois and 2500 miles up the Amazon River. (National Geographic),
  9. Donald MacLeod posted on 07/17/2014 10:25 AM
    Lake Ontario drains into the St. Lawrence........not the other way round ......just sayin'
  10. john posted on 07/17/2014 01:55 PM
    i would love to have the shark in office instead of Katleen Wynne . the shark would be better .
  11. john posted on 07/17/2014 02:02 PM
    yea i thought so . sharks would not last long in this lake .
  12. john posted on 07/17/2014 06:18 PM
    when i was a little kid i used to play with my plastic shark in the tub. my mom said i always like to lick the underbelly
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