Discover the Deepest Lake in Canada

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: November 19, 2023
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Canada is known for having vast, deep lakes throughout the country. The Great Lakes in the country’s southeastern region are enormous, with Lake Superior reaching 31,700 square miles in size. Despite that lake’s enormous size, it does not have the greatest depth of any in the country. Today, we’re going to look at the deepest lake in Canada and reveal its depth, location, and how it compares to some other deep bodies of water throughout the world!

What Is the Deepest Lake in Canada?

"Lake" infographic for the Great Slave Lake in Canada's Northwest Territories.
This lake is named for the Slavey tribe, a group of indigenous people who lived in the area.
2,014 feet10,500 sq. mi

The deepest lake in Canada is Great Slave Lake, a lake that plunges 2,014 feet at its greatest depth. This incredible depth makes the lake the deepest in the country as well as the deepest lake in North America as a whole.

This body of water is known for more than being deep. Great Slave Lake is also a vast lake in terms of size. This lake measures 10,500 square miles in total area, and that makes it the 4th largest lake in Canada by surface area. The largest lake by surface area is Lake Superior.

So, Great Slave Lake is deep, voluminous, and vast in size. But what’s the deal with its name?

Well, the name for the Great Slave Lake has a complicated past. In this context, the word “slave” is derived from a translation of a word from the Cree, a group of North American Indigenous people, referring to people belonging to a group from the Dene Indigenous people.

The Cree pushed into the Dene territory, attacking and capturing people as they pushed the Dene farther to the north. The unfortunate name is attached to other bodies of water including the Slave River.

Where Is Great Slave Lake Located on a Map?

Great Slave Lake is in the Northwest Territories in Canada, meaning it is located in the northern central part of the country. The lake is in the southern part of the territory, though. Given the immense size of the lake, it’s easy to find on any map that features the waters of the Northwest Territories.

Several towns dot the borders of the lake. They include Hay River at the southern end of the lake, a town with an airport that shares its name with a river that flows north into the lake. Yellowknife is a town on the northern end of the lake. This part of the country is very desolate and remote.

Mackenzie River, the longest river in Canada, begins its flow out of the western side of the lake. That is another valuable landmark in finding this lake on a map.

Now, some people may be tempted to merely look for the largest lake in the Northwest Territories. That will not work, though. Another larger lake also exists farther to the northwest, and it is called Great Bear Lake. All this information put together should make the lake’s location obvious on a map.

The Animals That Live Near the Deepest Lake in Canada

Peary Caribou buck standing.

Far more animals than people thrive in the Northwest Territories.

©Paul Loewen/

The Northwest Territories, along with the Great Slave Lake, are a very desolate part of the world. Fewer than 50,000 humans live in the entire territory, and the nearest major city is over 500 miles away. Far more animals than people thrive in this region.

The best way to consider the wildlife that lives in this area is to discuss the creatures that live near the lake and then look at the ones that live in the lake.

To start with, let’s take a look at the animals in the Northwest Territories that live near the lake. Some of these animals include:

This area has a lot of different animals living around it. However, we must also consider the animals that live in the lake itself. Some of the fish species that people can find in this lake are:

  • Lake trout
  • Arctic grayling
  • Northern pike
  • Walleye
  • White suckers
  • Burbot
  • Lake whitefish

This is just a handful of the different fish that live in the lake. Many other sorts of animals live around the lake and within the territory as a whole.  

Is Great Slave Lake the Deepest Lake in the World?

Lake Baikal

The deepest lake in the entire world is Lake Baikal.


Lake Baikal5,387 feet
Great Slave Lake2,014 feet

No, the deepest lake in Canada is not the deepest in the world. Instead, Great Slave Lake is the 8th deepest lake in the world. The deepest lake in the entire world is Lake Baikal. This immense body of water is in Siberia, Russia, and it is about 5,387 feet deep. That is over 2.5 times as deep as Great Slave Lake.

Several other lakes fill the positions on the list of the deepest lakes in the world. Among them is the Caspian Sea, a body of water that is technically a lake. In that case, it is the largest lake in the entire world by a large margin. The lake has a total area of 143,000 square miles, a depth of 3,363 feet, and a length of 745 miles!

All in all, Great Slave Lake is a very sizable body of water. It’s the deepest lake in North America and the 10th largest lake in the world by surface area. While the body of water has an unfortunate name, some efforts are being put forth to rename it. Currently, we do not know if any measures to rename the lake will actually pass. We also do not know what they might rename the lake in the future. For now, the lake’s name remains.  

The photo featured at the top of this post is © © Getty Images/>> via Getty Images

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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