Ontario Parks has some pretty cool events every year and Bronte Creek Provincial Park’s legendary Maple Syrup Festival is right up there on the cool-o-meter.
Yes, folks: fresh Ontario maple syrup will be flowing over pancakes, bacon and more as visitors get set to celebrate an annual spring tradition.
Fresh air, maple taffy, and loads of fun await visitors of all ages!
“I think our Maple Syrup Festival is pretty fantastic because it celebrates a delicious and very important part of our Ontario heritage and takes visitors back to a simpler time,” says Sheila Wiebe, Natural Heritage Education Specialist at Bronte Creek Provincial Park.
Here are 6 reasons to pull on your long johns and get sappy this March:
1. Channel your inner Victorian
The theme of this year’s festival is The Victorian Farmhouse, so put away your smart phones folks!
There’ll be no texting around ye old hearth as park staff in period costumes make taffy on wood-burning stoves while explaining the joys and hardships of living off the land. No heat, no hydro, no running water here, just good old-fashioned hard work and fun.
Kids play games and sing songs in the family activity centre, or jump around on hay bales and visit the farm animals.
2. Learn how maple syrup is made
Take a 20-minute walk down Maple Lane amidst hundreds of beautiful maple trees flowing with sap and tap a tree yourself!
Learn how this delicious super food goes from trees to tables and why it takes 40 years for maple trees to be just the right size and age to produce this Canadian delicacy. Watch hot syrup being poured into sugar moulds and listen as staff explain the process of making maple sugar.
3. Cabin fever be gone – breathe in some beautiful fresh air
For many Bronte Creek visitors, the Maple Syrup Festival is their first real foray outdoors since the snow started flying before the holidays last December. Dress warmly and you can last all day in the cool fresh air and enjoy the sights and sounds of this iconic Canadian winter experience. No wonder attendance has soared from 5,000 to 52,000 over the past 23 years.
4. Teach your kids about conservation
Experiential learning is the best, especially for kids who love running, jumping and gallivanting around. Your kids will be learning while they play—why maple syrup time is so important, why we should respect these beautiful Canadian trees and how the whole process of sugaring off contributes to the bigger ecological picture.
“If you understand it, you appreciate it. And if you appreciate it, you can protect it,” says Wiebe.
5. Move from learning to doing
By attending the Bronte Creek Maple Syrup Festival, and other winter activities around the province, children and their families can gain a new appreciation for nature and become stewards of the natural beauty that surrounds us every day of the year.
“As interpreters we are striving to move people towards environmental stewardship, even by doing something as simple as watching maple syrup flow this time of year or learning how precious water is and was to our ancestors. We want people to take what they learn and experience at the festival and share it with others so we can grow stewardship of our parks today and tomorrow,” says Wiebe.
6. Pancakes aren’t just for breakfast!
Do you stack them high and smother them in fresh maple syrup, or dip each bit into the syrup?
No matter how you enjoy your pancakes, you can enjoy a meal for breakfast, brunch or a mid-afternoon snack. Back by popular demand, our infamous Maple Sausages – also available frozen for visitors enjoy at home.
Take some syrup home and whip up a delicious loaf of banana-maple pecan bread!
Ready to “tap” into fun at Bronte Creek’s Maple Festival?
The festival happens in March! Visit the Bronte Creek event calendar for more information.
Find directions to this Oakville park here.