In Ontario, the months of March and April are specially set aside to enjoy Canada’s sweetest commodity: maple syrup.
Throughout the province, there are countless local festivals and celebrations dedicated to the sugary and uniquely Canadian product. The art of tapping maple trees and boiling the sap into a rich syrup was first taught to European settlers by the indigenous peoples of Canada. Once preferable to highly taxed white sugar from the southern locales, prized Canadian maple syrup continues to be harvested in select regions of the country.
With the maple leaf as the national symbol, the product is synonymous with Canada. The country produces 85 per cent of the world’s supply. On a Canadian holiday in Ontario, you’ll find fresh, locally produced maple syrup on tap, making it a delicious treat at any time of the year. But the indulgent addition to pancakes is especially satisfying during the spring because it’s festival time.
Maple Syrup Festivals in 2016
Lasting an entire month, the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival is one of the region’s largest tributes to the syrup. Held across three different locations, the event features face painting, bird of prey shows, educational programs about sustainable farming, live music, great food and wagon rides. The events are presented by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.
The Elmira Maple Syrup Festival takes place on 2 April. Now in its 52nd year, the festival features toy trucks, a fun run, a dog show and live music. And, of course, it features many events dedicated to pancakes and maple syrup. Starting out in 1965, the festival was originally a small affair, presided over by local ladies and their electric griddles. Since then it has grown and grown. The event was recognised in 2000 by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest single day maple syrup event, with over 66,000 attendees from all over the world.
On the same weekend, Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival will kick off as well. The event includes bathtub races, a fair games midway and an alpaca farm. Entertainment includes clogging (a more folksy version of tap dancing) and magic acts. Sunderland is located in the Durham Region of Ontario – about 100 kilometres northeast of Toronto.