It’s the ultimate Canadian experience and each year the Maple Syrup Festival in Stouffville celebrates it. The month-long event has demonstrations, activities, food and more at Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area. Find out how maple syrup is made and the process that it goes through from tree to table.
Andrew Morin, supervisor, Bruce’s Mill, said the festival has been running for more than 50 years. He’s been overseeing the Stouffville location for close to a decade.
“We try to bring something different to the festival every year,” he said. “This year we have a couple of new additions. We have axe throwing every Saturday throughout the festival from 11 to 4 p.m. We try to incorporate things that are popular and interesting to people.”
He has created a kid’s fun zone with arts and crafts, a life-size maze, and over-size games such as checkers and a bean bag toss. In addition, this year’s festival will also include a petting zoo and horse-drawn wagon rides. Take some pictures, meet and pet the horses.
The maple syrup demonstration trail is the main draw for the festival. Take a walk through the sugar bush and learn all about maple syrup, how it was collected and used throughout history—the method of making it has changed from First Nations people to the pioneers to the present day.
“Then there are the pancakes – who doesn’t love pancakes and maple syrup?” he said, adding that it will be available for purchase along with different menu options from a variety of food trucks.
The event also includes strolling musicians, clowns, busker entertainment, chain saw demonstrations and woodcarving. There is a retail area with maple syrup and maple based products such as lollipops, maple butter, and maple popcorn.
Visitors can do their own self-guided tours. There are various spots throughout the trail where interpreters are stationed to answer questions and provide information.
The festival also marks the beginning of the season at Bruce’s Mill and, as such, several activities will be open including a kid’s village operated by Tree Top Trekking. Zipline courses tend to open toward the end of the festival.
March Break and sunny spring days are the busiest time to visit the festival as it can attract more than 2,500 people on any given day.
“We encourage people to come out early,” said Morin. “You definitely want to try and get there early if the weather forecast is good. It will allow you to spend more time.”
The Maple Syrup Festival runs from Saturday, March 14 to Sunday, April 12 (including Good Friday, April 10). It’s open weekends and March Break (March 16 – 20) from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tickets purchased online include free parking and are valid at the following maple syrup festival locations: Stouffville, Woodbridge, Halton Hills, and Orangeville. Visit at maplesyrupfest.com for more information.
Photo: The Maple Syrup festival runs from Saturday, March 14 to Sunday, April 12. Photo courtesy of Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.