Maple Syrup Season in OntarioNo matter what any groundhog says about the arrival of spring, one of the sure signs that winter is coming to an end is the start of Ontario's annual maple syrup festivals. Maple syrup festivals in the GTA generally take place during March, making them a great option for anyone looking for family activities during March Break.
What to Expect at a Maple Syrup FestivalMaple syrup festivals generally focus first and foremost on how maple syrup is made - both historically and how it is made today. Visitors will see how sugar maple trees are tapped for sap, how the sap is boiled down, and what products can be the result. Of course there's always some maple syrup products available to try or buy, and most festivals have fresh pancakes cooking up all day long so you have somewhere to pour all that syrupy goodness. Other activities may include horse-drawn wagon rides, family entertainment, historical interpreters, crafts, games and more. Dress in layers and bring your sweet-tooth, a re-useable shopping bag, and your camera.
Maple Syrup Festivals in the GTA
- Please note: Admission fees listed below generally will not include pancakes or other food, or activities such as wagon rides. Check each event's website for full pricing information.
Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival (Woodbridge and Stouffville)
This annual event is run by Toronto and Region Conservation at two conservation areas near Toronto. Families (and school groups) can visit the Kortright Centre for Conservation or Bruce's Mill Conservation Area to enjoy maple syrup demonstrations, horse drawn wagon rides, guided maple syrup walks, sap sampling, and live entertainment plus plenty of maple syrup treats, including pancakes with maple syrup. For 2013, there's even a maple syrup-themed dinner by lamplight at Kortright on Saturday March 23 to celebrate Earth Hour (separate ticket required).
- Kortright Centre for Conservation (Woodbridge) & Bruce's Mill Conservation Area (Stouffville)
- March 2 - April 7, 2013
- Weekends & March Break: 9:30am - 5pm; Weekdays: 9:30am - 4pm (Bruce's Mill is closed Monday and Tuesdays, except for March Break)
- General Admission (HST included): Adults $10; Kids, seniors and students $6.50; Children 4 and under free with family.
- Full details at maplesyrupfest.com. You can also "like" the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival on Facebook
Maple Syrup Festival at Bronte Creek (Oakville)
At Bronte Creek Provincial Park, the history of maple syrup in Ontario is celebrated. Demonstrations are provided by 1890s costumed interpreters, and visitors can browse the maple museum or tour a 100-year-old farmhouse. Of course maple products are available for sale, and a wagon can take you to a heated pancake house where you can order fresh pancakes, pure maple syrup and sausages.
- Bronte Creek Provincial Park, 1219 Burloak Drive, Oakville
- Weekends in March and the week of March Break
- 9:30am - 3pm
- Park Admission: $16/vehicle
- Full details at www.brontecreek.org/bronte-creek-maple-syrup-festival.htm
Maple Magic: Maple Syrup Festival at Bradley Museum (Mississauga)
On the Sunday before and during March Break, Mississauga's Bradley Museum will have tree tapping, kids crafts, family entertainment, horse and wagon rides, food trucks, and pancakes with maple syrup.
- Bradley Museum, 1620 Orr Road, Mississauga
- March 3 & March 9 to 17, 2013
- Weekdays 12pm-4pm; Weekends 10am-4pm
- Family Admission (2 adults and 3 children): $19.50 + tax
- Visit Museumsofmississauga.com or go directly to the PDF of the daily schedule for Maple Magic.
Purple Woods Maple Syrup Festival (Oshawa)
Visit the sugar maple forest in the Purple Woods Conservation Area to learn how maple syrup production methods have changed over 400 years and to visit a pioneer cabin. You can also enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides and pancakes, and shop for maple sugar products at The General Store.
- Purple Woods Conservation Area, 38 Coates Road East, Oshawa
- March 2-3, March 9-17, March 23-24; 10am - 2:30pm
- General Admission: Adults $3; Seniors & Children (ages 12 and under) $2; Family Pass (2 adults, 3 kids) $8
- Full details at http://www.cloca.com/msf/index.html
It's Maple Syrup Time! at Conservation Halton (Milton and Campbellville)
Conservation Halton also offers maple syrup festivals at two of its conservation areas. During the Maple Towne festival at Mountsberg Conservation Area, visitors can see how maple syrup is made, plus enjoy the PlayBarn, check out the Wildlife Walkway, see bird of prey demonstrations, and more. The Sweet Water Demonstrations at Crawford Lake Conservation Area focus more on the traditions of Native Canadians. While you're there, explore the reconstructed 15th century Iroquoian Village!
- Mountsberg Conservation Area (Campbellville) & Crawford Lake Conservation Area (Milton)
- Weekends, holidays, and daily during March Break; March 2 - April 7, 2013
- 9:30am - 4pm (Maple Towne activities begin at 10am)
- General Admission: Adults $7.50; Seniors $6.50; Children ages 5-14 $5.25; Children 4 and under free.
- Full event details at ConservationHalton.ca.
Horton Tree Farm Maple Syrup Festival (Stouffville)
Visit this family-run farm to see how maple syrup is made, enjoy some pancakes, take a wagon ride, and hike the trails.
- Horton Tree Farm - Home Farm, 5924 Slaters Rd, Stouffville
- Saturdays and Sundays, March 9 - April 7, and Good Friday (March 29), 2013
- 9am - 4pm
- General Admission (cash only; no debit/credit): Adults $6.50; Seniors and students $5.50; Children ages 5 to 12 $4.50
- Details at www.hortontreefarms.com