Toronto man drowns in Sparrow Lake near Severn Township

A Toronto man died after going for a swim in Sparrow Lake near Severn Township on Tuesday.

Provincial police say witnesses managed to get the 76-year-old man to shore when he went under the water and didn't resurface. They administered first aid until Simcoe County paramedics arrived and took over.

Police say despite their efforts, Roland Jonker was pronounced dead at the scene.

The victim had been swimming near a cottage in Deep Bay.


Police continue to urge people to take extra precautions before entering onto lakes and rivers following multiple recent drownings across the region, including a Brampton man, 22, who died visiting Wasaga Beach on June 12.

One week later,  a well-known Orillia man passed away after falling into the water at Couchiching Beach Park.  He was 42.

Two men in their 20s lost their lives after going down the rapids in Port Sydney on June 27.

That same week, OPP divers pulled the body of a 61-year-old Caledon man from Arnolds Bay in Georgian Bay Township.

And just one day later, an 18-year-old Mississauga man who died while swimming in the Muskoka River on Saturday evening.

"Water can be very unforgiving," said OPP Sgt. Steve Mihills. "Regardless of how strong a swimmer you think you are, respecting this is vitally important, and that respect could save your life."

The Bracebridge officer posted a video to Twitter about the importance of wearing a life jacket.

"There's no shame in wearing something that could save your life," he added.

Water is unforgiving. Water safety is YOUR responsibility. Be prepared and wear your #lifejacket or PFD. #BbrOPP #LifejacketsSaveLives ^sm

— OPP Central Region (@OPP_CR) July 7, 2021