When the snow starts to give up its hold on the Northern hemisphere and the days grow longer, that can only mean one thing: It’s time for maple syrup festivals in Canada!
For many Canadian families, a trip to the sugar bush is a springtime tradition. It’s easy to see why Canadian maple syrup festivals are so popular. After all, Canada makes more of this delicious, sweet substance than any other nation.
While most of the sweet stuff hails from New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec, maple syrup festivals abound across the region, offering fun for the whole family. So pack up your RV and hit the road to some of the best maple syrup festivals in all of Canada.
How is Maple Syrup Made?
Maple syrup is a Canadian tradition that stems back to the original inhabitants of the land. In fact, Canada’s indigenous peoples showed early settlers how to make syrup.
Today, more than 70 per cent of the world’s syrup comes from Canada’s prime maple syrup-producing region, which includes Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. But how is the sweet treat actually made?
The syrup comes from maple trees; the sugar maple is an especially prolific species. Every year, when the weather starts to warm up a bit and just before the trees bud, the trees’ sap starts to run. That means it’s time to tap or drill a small tap into the tree trunk to collect the sap.
The sugary sap is boiled down to create that iconic, amber liquid that’s beloved the world over. Then it’s festival time! Towns and cities across Canada celebrate the syrup with contests, games, music, food and fun for the whole family.
Here are a few of the best maple syrup festivals in Canada.
Festival Beauceron de L’érable
Just across the St. Lawrence River from Quebec City — about a 30-minute drive — lies the charming town of Saint-Georges. It’s worth a visit any time of year, but visitors on March 18 to 22 will be there just in time for the Festival Beauceron de L’érable.
This maple syrup festival offers a range of activities for all ages, with pancake breakfasts, syrup tastings, artisanal products from around the region, and of course tire sur la neige, or hot syrup poured on icy cold snow to make delicious taffy.
What really sets this Canadian maple syrup festival apart is its partnership with the Beauce Carnival. From rides to bouncy houses, kids of all ages will have a ball at this four-day celebration of all things maple syrup.
Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival
Every weekend from March 12 through April 10, 2022, load up the RV and head to the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival. Held in not one but two Ontario locations — the Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area in Stouffville and Kortright Centre for Conservation at Woodbridge — this annual event offers demonstrations, tastings and activities galore.
At Bruce’s Mill, you’ll find weekends packed with fun events and activities including life-size games, a maze and the Tree Walk Village, an adventure across the top of the forest. At Kortright, you’ll also find life-size games, demonstrations and tastings. You can also join the “maple syrup by lamplight” tour that takes you through the tapping process and sugar shack in a twilight forest.
Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival
Want even more maple syrup? Then head to Sunderland, about 100 km northeast of Toronto. The Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival is one of the largest in the region. After a two-year hiatus, this annual festival is back on April 2 and 3, 2022.
Over this exciting weekend, you can enjoy a bus tour to the local sugar shack, take a ride on a horse-drawn wagon, listen to live music, and watch bathtub races and a pizza-eating contest. Other fun activities include a petting zoo for the little ones, a lawn tractor pull, lots of shopping and (of course) pancakes and syrup.
With spring just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to head to the sugar bush. So pack up the RV with your warm winter clothes and head to the woods to enjoy the time-honored tradition of Canadian maple syrup festivals!