Speaking of Canada, a few common things pop up in most people’s mind are probably the beautiful maple leaf on the national flag and amber rich maple syrup. Although there are various types of maple trees around the world, majority of native sugar maple trees, the primary source of maple syrup, is in Canada.
Bronte Creek Provincial Park
Maple tree tapping is usually performed under certain temperature condition, which naturally brings in the tapping season and many maple syrup festivals around the time. Every year around March, Bronte Creek Provincial Park in southeast Ontario hosts Maple Syrup Festival. While it provides lots of treats made from fresh maple syrup like many local farms do, it also offers a great tour which demonstrates the evolvement of the production process and helps visitors easily understand the preciousness of maple syrup.
The festival area in the park is not widespread which makes it pretty easy to walk around and explore thoroughly.
Maple Syrup Festival – Free Tour
The tour starts with a demonstration of tapping tools and tapping process to collect the sap into a container. The sap is pure and clear, and it takes about 2 to 3 days to make the container full, followed by the evaporation process which turns one full container of sap into 1/40 container of maple syrup.
The evaporation process has improved gradually during the past 300 years and the visitors can see how it changed from centuries to centuries during the tour.
About 200 years ago, the European immigrants learned about maple tree tapping from Native Americans and invented the 3-pot method, which utilizes different temperatures to control the density of sap. Back then, it took 12 hours to turn maple sap into maple syrup.
From around 100 years ago, people began using flat pans, which enlarged boiling area and brought down the processing time from 12 hours to 6 hours.
Nowadays, the evaporation process has even improved more with advanced automatic technology. However the first-run boiling can still take about 6 hours.
The tour is in English and takes about 30 minutes. Brochures in many foreign languages (including Chinese and Japanese) are available in the main building (the pick-up location of wagon ride) so non-English speakers can also enjoy the tour.
In the park, there are also many other interesting exhibitions, including different types of sap spiles used for tapping and a huge tree trunk with clear trace of tapping history. There is also a chart showing various grades of maple syrup and the best use of each.
Maple Syrup Treats
Part of the fun at this festival is to see how these treats are made and enjoy them fresh, including maple taffy and maple sugar. The staff are very friendly and willing to introduce the recipe and cooking process.
Visitors are also very welcome to take a free 6-minute wagon ride to the Pancake House to enjoy a plate of delicious sausage and pancake with amber rich maple syrup.
We really enjoy the time at the festival. The tour covers great information and exhibitions, and all the syrup treats definitely worth trying. As most sugar shacks have used automatic tubing for sap collections and focused more on providing group set meals, one of the best parts at this festival is walking around the farm and seeing the traditional tapping in the forest to fully enjoy the nature.
Location: Google Maps
All festival information is posted on the Park’s event page on the website when it gets close to the opening.
Credit cards (VISA and MasterCard) are mostly accepted, such as vehicle admissions, pancake plates and gift shop products. For most syrup treats, only cash is accepted.
– Passenger car admission: 17 CAD
– Maple syrup tasting: 0.5 CAD
– Maple taffy: 2 CAD
– Maple sugar: 0.5 CAD
– Pancake House small platter: 4 CAD (1 pancake, 1 bacon or sausage, 1 beverage and 1 syrup)
– Pancake House medium platter: 10 CAD (3 pancakes, 3 bacon or sausages, 1 beverage and 1 syrup)
– Pancake House family platter: 30 CAD (10 pancakes, 10 bacon or sausages, 4 beverages and 4 syrup)
Beverage options include coffee/tea/hot chocolate/apple juice/orange juice. A La Carte is also available.