It’s not surprising when you look at the Canadian flag that the maple tree plays a big part in our cultural history.
Did You Know…
Canada produces 85% of the world’s maple syrup?
It takes 40 litres of sap water to make 1 litre of syrup?
Yes, these are two things we learned during our family’s first visit to the Kortright Centre in Vaughan.
A Trip to the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival
Since our 5 year old was on March Break last week, we decided to plan a few hours of learning and celebrating the soon to be arrival of spring at the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival.
Scores of families also made the trek out to Kortright as we visited on a day that was above 0C.
What I loved about the festival was our daughter got a glimpse of the different ways to make maple syrup. She now knows it is much more than buying a bottle at the store.
How Do They Make Maple Syrup from Sap?
First Nations used to freeze sap in bowls overnight and remove the thin layer of ice each morning. Hot stones would then be used to bring the sap to a boil until it turned into syrup.
Pioneers used large cast iron pots over fire to make maple syrup – a 3 day long process.
Current day syrup production involves plastic tubing systems to collect the sap which then goes directly to an evaporator house where it’s filtered and boiled.
Celebrate Spring at a Maple Syrup Festival
Along with learning about syrup production, there were pony rides, wagon rides and maple syrup samples to try.
We worked up an appetite after two hours of hiking and headed indoors for some pancakes with what else – maple syrup!
It was so good, our toddler wanted to drink the remaining syrup even after we finished our pancakes – definitely worth the wait and the effort.
Maple Syrup Festivals in Central Counties
There are several Maple Syrup Festivals in Central Counties – each running until end of March of early April.
- Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival – Kortright Centre for Conservation in Vaughan March 1 – April 13, 2014
- Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival – Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area in Stouffville March 1 – April 13, 2014
Come out and tap into nature! Demonstrations, wagon rides, activities and of course pancakes and Maple Syrup.
- Purple Woods Maple Syrup Festival – Purple Woods Conservation Area in Oshawa March 8 – 30, 2014
Save your appetite for the famous pancake breakfast served hot and drizzled with 100% pure maple syrup! Spend quality time outdoors with various activities fit for all ages: horse-drawn wagon rides, maple taffy fun, crafts and more!
- Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival – Town of Sunderland March 29 – 30, 2014
Visit the quaint town of Sunderland and join in the festival fun filled with family-oriented activities, including live music, dance performances, pony rides, ALL DAY pancake breakfast, outdoor petting zoos, and more!
- A Taste of Maple – Various locations across the Headwaters Region March 28 – April 13, 2014
Here’s your chance to take part in a Maple Syrup Festival, enjoy delicious maple cowboy breakfasts, enroll in maple cooking classes, be inspired by maple themed art or even create your own at a painting class! All this plus the delicious Tastes of Maple on offer via special desserts, savouries, prix fixe meals and more to tempt your taste buds.
You’ll learn some fun facts about one of Canada’s most loved treats and leave with your bellies full.
Mother Nature, we’re ready for Spring!
Know Before You Go
At Kortright, participating in the Sugarbush Maple Syrup festival requires that you walk the hiking trail. It is fairly hilly and parents with little ones will need a stroller with wheels that can handle the terrain. We took our umbrella stroller which unfortunately didn’t fare that well. Luckily, our kids wanted to walk more than sit.
Dress appropriately for the weather. All activities take place outdoors at Kortright with the exception of the dining hall/concession area.
Plan to spend a few hours at Kortright if you want to see and do everything. It took us two hours to walk the entire trail and it was due to our 2 year old wanting to walk on his own. We would have feasted on pancakes sooner had he wanted to be carried in our arms – the trade offs you make when traveling with a determined toddler!
Pony rides, wagon rides, and pancakes are not included in admission.
Cheryl is founder of Kids On A Plane – a blog dedicated to family travel in North America and the Caribbean. When she’s not on a plane, you can find her exploring York Region and the GTA with her two young children and husband.