Bringing Indigenous Placemaking to the Credit Valley Trail

The northern trailhead of the Credit Valley Trail (CVT) will be the Crane Gathering Space, an Indigenous cultural feature at Island Lake Conservation Area, in Orangeville.

The vision for the Crane Gathering Space was developed by the Indigenous Roundtable in collaboration with CVC and CVT partners. It’s guided by the Indigenous Experience Plan (IEP), developed in 2019, which aims to bring Indigenous culture and experiences to life along the trail.

Construction starts August 2022 and, once built, the Crane Gathering Space will nurture connections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, provide a space for Indigenous ceremonial practices, produce unique recreational experiences, and serve as a publicly accessible site available for innovative educational opportunities.

Learn about the crane teaching from Elder Garry Sault and the journey to build the Crane Gathering Space with the Indigenous Roundtable.

Credit Valley Conservation and partners has installed interpretive signage at the Crane Gathering Space at Island Lake Conservation Area. This project was funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

Goverment of Canada logo

Project Overview

The vision for the Crane Gathering Space was developed by the Indigenous Roundtable with the support of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, CVC and Smoke Architecture Inc. It takes inspiration from Anishinaabe culture with animal dodems that represent different clans. The Anishinaabe Ajijaak (Crane) Dodem is the speaker for the clans and, as such, comes before all the others. It’s an announcer for things to come. The sandhill crane also uses Island Lake as a stopover site during its annual migration.

The Crane Gathering Space is inspired by historic fishing practices (fishing weirs) and the Ajijaak (Crane) Dodem. It will be prominently situated as a gateway to Island Lake Conservation Area and the CVT experience.

The concept for the Crane Gathering Space was developed alongside the Island Lake Conservation Area Management Plan, and will be:

  • An inclusive space for community-building, teaching and events
  • A space for Indigenous peoples and communities to express their culture and language, and deepen their ancestral connections, traditional understanding and knowledge of the Credit River and surrounding valley lands
  • A publicly accessible location for educational and recreational programming

Learn more about the Credit Valley Trail and Indigenous Placemaking.

During Phase One the main gathering space will be built. The space will include a ceremonial fire pit, stone masonry seating, wood lattice enclosure and wood deck pier and fishing-weir tripods. An access trail will lead to the site and interpretive signage will be installed. Native trees and shrubs and Indigenous medicinal and ceremonial plants will be planted.

Construction work starts in August 2022 and will continue through December 2022.

Welcome to the Crane Gathering Space

The Crane Gathering Space was developed by the Credit Valley Trail Indigenous Roundtable. They are an Indigenous community group leading the work to create spaces and educational experiences that connect trail users with the Indigenous history of the Credit River, as well as current Indigenous cultural practices.

The inspiration for this space comes from the Ajijaak Dodem (Crane Clan). In Anishinaabe tradition, the Ajijaak is known as an ‘echo maker’ and is the speaker for the clans. Ajijaak is an announcer of things to come. The sandhill crane also uses Island Lake as a stopover site during its annual migration.

We invite you to learn with us and make connections to Indigenous culture, nature and heritage of the Credit River and surrounding valley lands.

historical photo of people standing on fishing weirs
The design of the Crane Gathering Space was based on fishing weirs, which are a traditional stewardship practice in waterways to catch fish and create fish habitat.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Credit Valley Trail will be a continuous 100-kilometre pathway through the Credit River Valley – from the Hills of the Headwaters in Orangeville to Lake Ontario in Port Credit. It will connect people to the beauty of nature, rich cultural experiences, Indigenous heritage and values, and the sacred, sustaining waters of the Credit River.

The Credit Valley Trail Indigenous Roundtable is an Indigenous led committee made up of community representation from the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Cree and Huron-Wendat First Nations.

 

 

CVC is committed to inclusive practices, engaging and partnering with Indigenous Nations, communities and people to advance Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation though our work.

We acknowledge that the land on which we gather, and the entire Credit River Watershed, is part of the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. The Credit River Watershed is also part of the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat and Haudenosaunee, and home to many First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples today.

Through our conservation efforts, CVC strives to support meaningful engagement and respectful collaboration with CVC’s Indigenous partners and with Indigenous communities – empowering Indigenous peoples to share and integrate their history, cultural practices, and aspirations across the Credit River Watershed.

Along with the collective goal to connect the trail route, CVC and CVT partners are committed to developing dedicated space along the trail to recognize and honour Indigenous knowledge, history and present-day culture.

Learn more about CVC’s commitment to engaging and partnering with Indigenous nations, communities and peoples.

The project is estimated to cost $1,000,000. The Credit Valley Conservation Foundation has secured $750,000 (75 per cent) of the funds needed to build the Crane Gathering Space. Learn more about how you can help support the development of Indigenous placemaking along the CVT.

Access to the waterfront parking lot, rental shop and boat launch will remain open.

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