Crawford Lake Conservation Area is a truly exceptional park with a truly exceptional lake. In the deepest part of the lake 75 ft below the surface, sediment is deposited in annual layers and remains totally undisturbed. Scientists researching this sediment in the early 1970s discovered corn pollen dating from the 13th to 15th century. This led to the discovery of the archaeological footprints of a Wendat or Attawandaron village. Three longhouses from this village have been reconstructed on their original footprint to help educate the public about the area’s Indigenous history through programs, exhibits, gardens, and workshops developed with Indigenous partners of the park. Along with the teaching village Crawford Lake features trails for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing as well as a trail filled with larger-than-life wood carvings of species at risk and a boardwalk that winds around the lake.
Reservations are not required but are recommended. If you book online, you can reserve your spot and save money on gate fees. Click below to reserve now.
Crawford Lake is also an important site for global scientific research. Click- here to learn more about these studies and how our rare meromictic lake may help scientists define a new proposed epoch: the Anthropocene.
Experiences at Crawford Lake
Activities at Crawford Lake
Land Acknowledgments are about acknowledging the rights, responsibility, and relationship to the Land.
Conservation Halton Parks reside on land rich in history and modern traditions and residence of many Indigenous peoples. From the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee, the Attawandaron, the Wendat, the Métis and many more Indigenous peoples. We recognize and honor the right that the Mississauga’s of the Credit have to this land as treaty holders.
We also recognize that this land is home to countless spirits by the name of plants, animals, fungi, rocks, fires, winds, and waters since time immemorial.
We recognize that the lands and waters nourish our mind, body, spirit, and emotions and we are so thankful for her today.
We ask you to recognize what this land means to each and everyone of you. What is your role to this land? What is your responsibility to this land?
Based on available archeological evidence it is difficult to say exactly what Nation of people lived in the village. However it is accepted that the people who most likely lived in this village were ancestors of the Wendat (often referred to as Huron) and/or the Attawandaron based on the pottery that was found at the site.
The Wendat were a First Nations culture that mainly lived in the area surrounding Lake Simcoe, and southeastern Georgian Bay at the time of European arrival. The Wendat people were heavily dispersed (but not destroyed) due to war, famine, disease, and colonial efforts.
Often referred to as the Neutral Nation the Attawandaron were a First Nations people living in what is now southwestern and southcentral Ontario at the time of European arrival. These people were heavily dispersed due to war, famine, disease, and colonial efforts, and do not exist as a formal or independent culture, ceded or unceded in Canada or the United States.
Although we recognize that the Village itself was Wendat, Attawandaron, or ancestors of both, we must also recognize that this land has surely been home to or visited by many other First Nations including the Anishinaabe, and Haudenosaunee, and has been home to countless other beings by the name of plants, animals, fungi, rocks, fires, winds, and waters.
At Crawford Lake we are grateful to have worked with numerous Indigenous peoples, organizations and communities. As our organization has continued to grow and change, we have evolved our thinking and the way we approach building relationships with Indigenous peoples. We are guided by the phrase ‘nothing about us without us’ and we move at the speed of trust at Crawford Lake. Prioritizing building authentic relationships with our Indigenous partners, we are honoured to have worked with the following community partners to ensure we have authentic
As an organization we believe in maintaining a reciprocal relationship with our treaty holders, and with other Indigenous peoples living in the Halton region.
As an organization we are honoured to live, and work within the Great Lakes region. The Indigenous programing at Crawford Lake respectfully and authentically teaches about First Nations people who lived and continue to live in what is now Southern Ontario, including the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat. We recognize and acknowledge that the term Indigenous broadly applies to all original inhabitants of Turtle Island (North America), and that our programming cannot speak to all Indigenous peoples.
The educational programs at Crawford Lake have been guided by and developed with First Nations people, organizations, and community to ensure that our programs are both accurate and respectful. They have also been created and updated with the current Ontario Curriculum in mind.
We strive to deliver programs that foster an appreciation, understanding, and education with respect to Indigenous peoples living in what is now Southern Ontario, and further develop a personal meaningful relationship with the lands and waters.
These programs are guided by wholistic teaching and are imbedded in Indigenous land-based pedagogies, ensuring we respect our students for all four states of their being. Each program at Crawford Lake will have the students learning with their mind, body, character, and emotions.
We are honoured to deliver our educational programs to >30, 000 school students from all around Ontario each year. As such, any self-Identifying Indigenous person living within Halton has access to a free Conservation Halton pass here.
We offer a variety of programs including:
- Full Day Life in the Longhouse
- Interconnected Ontario (Indigenous Science Program)
- Tour of Discovery
- Niagara Escarpment: Take a Hike
- Lake to Longhouse Tour
Learn more: Education – Conservation Halton
Longhouse Village and Visitor Centre hours
June 1-Labour Day Weekend, weekends & holidays
Please note that the park will be closed September 15-17, 2023
3115 Conservation Road
Do I need to make a reservation to visit?
No, reservations are not required to visit Conservation Halton Parks, however they are recommended. By booking in advance, you can guarantee your spot and save on gate fees. Reservations can be made at parkvisit.ca.
Is swimming allowed in the lake at Crawford Lake?
No, swimming is not allowed at Crawford Lake, because the lake is an ecologically sensitive area. For this reason, we ask that you keep your pets on a leash while at the park, to prevent them from entering the lake and disturbing the ecological balance. Kelso is the only park where swimming is allowed. Click here for more information about swimming at Conservation Halton Parks.
Is boating allowed in the lake at Crawford Lake?
No, boating is not allowed at Crawford Lake, because the lake is an ecologically sensitive area. Click here for more information about boating at Conservation Halton Parks.
Is fishing allowed in the lake at Crawford Lake?
No, fishing is not allowed at Crawford Lake, because the lake is an ecologically sensitive area. Click here for more information about fishing at Conservation Halton Parks.
When are the Longhouses open to the public?
The longhouses are open 10am-4pm on weekends and holidays (except December 25th) all year long. They are open 10am-4pm on weekdays June 1 until Labour Day. Please be aware that longhouses may be reserved for pre-booked groups.