With that negative 20 weather creeping in and the Holiday season over, it can be extremely alluring to cozy up by the fire with a cuppa tea and hibernate for the rest of the winter. But when a local conservation park provides an opportunity to get active, explore nature and the cultural experience of a museum – you may just be cajoled out of your house. Bundle up!
Crawford Lake Conservation area is owned by Conservation Halton and boasts 19 kilometres of trails with connections to the Bruce Trail. Not only can you hike all of these trails, you’re welcome to cross country ski or use snowshoes courtesy of the rental program at Crawford Lake.
Throughout the trails, there are handmade wooden carvings and First Nations art, inspired by the history of the site.
In the centre of the conservation park surrounded by the breath-taking nature trails is a rare meromictic lake, Crawford Lake. These special lakes are about 1:1000 to a holomictic lake (most lakes are holomictic). A meromictic lake is deeper than its surface area, meaning the levels of water do not mingle and the low levels of the lake are rarely disturbed. (As a side note: if you’re into the paranormal, there’s a pretty spooky story about the lake at Crawford.)
The qualities of this lake lead to scientists discovering ancient corn pollen deep in the lake, which meant there had been settlements in the area. The researchers and scientists began their studies to conclude that First Nations groups settled in this area over six hundred years ago.
Excavations during these studies in the 70s and 80s uncovered 11 longhouses on the site and over 10,000 artefacts from the Iroquoian people who once called Crawford Lake “home”.
Present day; three of these longhouses have been rebuilt in all their glory, and give visitors a look into the lives of these First Nations peoples. You really have to see the village in person to appreciate the grandeur of the longhouses. Currently, one longhouse is open to viewers while the Turtle and Wolf Clan longhouses are under revitalization projects, expected to end March 2018.
On top of these ventures into local history, Crawford Lake hosts events such as regular tours of the Iroquoian village, fire starting demonstrations, and Evening Moonlight Snowshoe Hikes weekly.
Visit their website for the full details on upcoming events.
3115 Conservation Road, Milton, ON L9T 2X3
HOURS: 8:30am to 7:00pm October 11 – March 29
Adult (15-64): $7.75
Senior (65 & over): $6.75
Child (5-14): $5.50
Child (4 & under): Free