Guest Blog: Sweet Sunderland Celebrates its Community with Maple Syrup

This article is an oldie but a goodie!

Posted: April 9, 2014

Our blog is chock full of great ideas for fun things to see and do in York Durham and Headwaters. We are always adding new content and updating old posts, but sometimes you might stumble upon something from our vault. If this article has inspired you to hit the road, be sure to double-check that the featured stops in this post are still welcoming visitors.

Sunderland sign at maple festival
Each year the town of Sunderland welcomes visitors to celebrate its annual Maple Sugar Festival. The two day affair includes pancake eating, bush tours, community entertainment and many other surprises. On a perfect spring day, with the sun shining and not a cloud in the sky, I made the short drive out to check out Sunderland’s community spirit and of course its maple syrup.
Signs showing different parts of Sunderland maple festival
The weather was absolutely perfect and a welcome relief from the cold winter temperatures. Spring is here and sap is now flowing out of the Maple trees in Ontario. Sunderland was booming when we arrived, the horse and carriages were packed with riders excited to get a tour of the town. There were lots of opportunities for animal lovers to get a hands on experience, petting the horses that were hanging around near the arena or the playing with the lamas and goats at the petting zoo. A large crowd however was inside the arena interacting with the reptiles on display. Children bravely took turns as snakes slithered around their necks and arms, while others helped feed the many other species of reptiles on display.
Horse drawn wagon ride at Sunderland maple festival
chameleon on branch
Outside the arena the midway featured a ferris wheel, carousel and other fun rides and of course a few midway games. The local museum, also opened it’s doors to everyone to come in and take a look at the historical farm equipment, fashions and precious finds from days gone by in Sunderland.
man in old style military outfit at Sunderland maple festival
But this festival was all about Maple Syrup! Outside many vendors featured bottles of fresh maple syrup for sale and were giving everyone fresh samples to try. There were tables and tables of fresh baked goodies on display, featuring maple syrup. Cookies, tarts, pies it was all just too much variety to choose from!
Maple syrup in glass maple jar on display
maple buttertarts packaged on table
The street was filled with tents housing the many of the local businesses from Sunderland and the surrounding area. There were lots of fun festival goodies to shop for, including wood carvings, crafts, knitted hats and honey candles.
people on street at Sunderland maple festival
Local bands also added some music to the annual street festival, playing some great country tunes to a crowd sitting on hay bales, tapping merrily to the beats. As you walked down the street enjoying the sights and sounds, one could not avoid the smell of fresh BBQ wafted in the air. The local community groups sold burgers, pancakes and hot dogs for various charities to a most appreciative crowd. There was also plenty of popcorn, cotton candy, chocolate, fudge and swirly lollipops to keep the kids energy levels up through the day!
band playing at Sunderland maple festival
Sunderland presented a two day packed schedule of activities, including bathtub races, mini truck pulls, old tractor displays and performances by many groups including the Outback Cloggers and local bands: Cider House, The Wing Men, Burning Squirrel and The Great Canadian Nobodys.
Thanks so much to the Town of Sunderland for starting off the spring and Maple Syrup season with such a great festival! I’m excited for the many road trips to come as I explore more of the amazing communities in Central Counties.
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Sharon Mendelaoui is a Thornhill based travel writer. Her blog dreamtravelmagazine.com is an online travel magazine filled with travel tips, hotel and excursion reviews and dream vacation destinations and experiences.

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