Did you know that Ontario is one of the few places in the world able to produce maple syrup? And did you know that it takes 40L of sap to produce just 1L of syrup? I didn’t either, until an outing to the Bronte Creek Provincial Park Maple Syrup Festival.
The festival takes place every year throughout the month of March, when the sap is flowing and the seasons are changing. Our day felt much more like winter than spring, but with so much to do, it was easy to keep warm.
We began with a tour down Maple Lane, led by Sheila Wiebe, the park’s Natural Heritage Education Specialist. Dressed in 1890s attire, she guided us through the history of how maple syrup was discovered by First Nations people, to current methods of syrup production. With a little help from enthusiastic kids in the audience, we were shown how to tap a tree, how the pioneers used kettles to boil sap and how the magic of tubes and gravity keeps the sap flowing nowadays.
Following our guided tour, we eagerly checked out the “Candy Shanty”, where maple treats and souvenirs abound. A highlight was the fresh maple candy – made right in the shop and sold at the bargain price of 50 cents! How could anyone resist?
Energized by our “maple sugar high”, we explored Spruce Lane farmhouse, with actual furniture and household items from the 1890s. Here, you can peek into the maid’s quarters, watch a logging movie and read what rural living was like over 100 years ago.
It was then time to get a taste of what we were all eagerly waiting for, at the Pancake House. Fresh syrup, fluffy pancakes and hot chocolate were the perfect end to a jam-packed day! Along with wagon rides, the Maple Museum and children’s play barn, there’s a lot happening at Bronte Creek’s Maple Festival.
Can’t make it before the end of March? Don’t worry, now you have a taste of what you can expect next year….Mmm!
For more information about events at Ontario Parks, visit www.OntarioParks.com. You can also learn more about Bronte Creek Provincial Park at www.brontecreek.org.