It’s sugarbush time! This March and April, there will be lots of great maple syrup festivals happening in York Durham Headwaters.
Festival time in sugarbush country has traditionally been a kickoff to the upcoming spring season, when rising daytime temperatures encourage previously frozen maple sap to flow through the trees. The result: sticky, gooey maple goodness. Need we say more?
Come out to York Durham Headwaters this year, and experience this quintessentially Canadian tradition.
Maple syrup: a (very) brief history
Maple syrup is truly a North American delight. First produced by indigenous communities on the continent, the tradition of tapping maple trees for their sweet sap was adopted by European settlers. Today, Canada produces more than eighty percent of the world’s maple syrup.
The practice of holding maple syrup festivals in the spring is a time-honoured tradition. Some of our festivals in operation today have been going strong for almost half a century. It is a time to tromp out into the sugarbush, perhaps in your snow pants or maybe in your mud boots (weather at this time of year is amusingly unpredictable) and be a part of the miraculous process of turning tree sap into the deliciously sweet phenomenon that is maple syrup.
What to do at the festival
Each festival has its own lineup of events and programming, of course. But one thing they all have in common is that visitors get to taste fresh maple syrup. Maple taffy is a particular delight for children of all ages… whether you’re actually a child in age, or maybe not but you’re still a child at heart. Maple products like syrup, candy and other sweet creations are always available for purchase no matter which festival you attend. And what is maple syrup without a pancake or two (or ten) to put it on? Most festivals offer a pancake breakfast, so come hungry.
If eating fresh maple syrup isn’t enough of a reason to go, then here are a few more. Learn about the historical and modern production of maple syrup with onsite demonstrations. Hop up into a horse-drawn wagon and tour the sugarbush crop. Browse vendor markets for unique finds. As we said, there is something different at every festival, so be sure to check online for specifics offered at your particular destination.
The joy of eating maple syrup drizzled on fresh snow is not just for kids. Why not make your sugarbush fun into a grownup date for two? The Island Lake Conservation Area and the Kortright Centre for Conservation are putting a new twist on the old sugarbush experience. Their Maple Syrup by Lamplight event starts at twilight—the most magical time of the day. Enjoy a guided tour, sample fresh maple syrup and snuggle by the campfire with a sweet treat.
More than just syrup
Maple syrup is a culinary delight, with a unique flavour that simply cannot be described. Nor can it be replicated. If you’ve ever had a steaming hot stack of flapjacks with authentic maple syrup dripping over the sides, you’ll know what we mean.
In this modern day and age where time-honoured traditions are making a comeback, restaurants are jumping into the syrup fun with their own unique twists. Maple glazes and maple-inspired dishes find prominent position on many menus around York Durham Headwaters at this time of year.
Additionally, in Headwaters region, the month-long Taste of Maple event showcases culinary establishments that feature maple-inspired dishes, as well as attractions that offer maple-themed fun and education.
Where to go
Has your maple fancy been sufficiently tickled? Are you dreaming of that tantalizing maple stickiness yet? Can you smell the woodsmoke and the boiling sap amongst the maple trees in the sugar bush? Are you drooling yet?
Yep, us too.
Plan your maple adventure this season at one of our York Durham Headwaters maple syrup festivals. Don’t forget to come back and tell us all about your sticky situation!
Purple Woods Conservation Area, 38 Coates Rd. E., Oshawa
March 8 – 31
1 River St., Sunderland
April 6 – 7
Headwaters, various locations
March 7 – April 6
14844 Warden Ave., Stouffville
March 9 – April 7
Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival (four locations)
Kortright Centre for Conservation: 9550 Pine Valley Dr., Woodbridge
Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area: 3291 Stouffville Rd., Vaughan
Terra Cotta Conservation Area: 14452 Winston Churchill Blvd., Terra Cotta
Island Lake Conservation Area: 673067 Hurontario St., Orangeville
March 9 – April 7
Maple Syrup by Lamplight at the Kortright Centre, March 9, 16, 22, 23.
Maple Syrup by Lamplight
Island Lake, April 5.
12300 Concession Rd. 6, Uxbridge
March 30 & 31
975 Regional Rd. 21, Port Perry
March Weekends & April 5, 6, 7. @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Kortright Centre for Conservation
March 2, 2019 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Written by: Katherine Ryalen
For mouth watering maple syrup recipes see blog below!