It’s syrup season again! Every year, come March, cold winter nights blend with sunny spring days creating the perfect conditions for making maple syrup.
For generations, Canadian kids have made the trek into the sugar bush for a taste of nature’s sweet nectar. Continuing this tradition, Bronte Creek Provincial Park hosts its annual Maple Syrup Festival every weekend in March plus all of March Break week. The festival teaches how syrup has been
made through the centuries and provides a number of opportunities to sample it different ways.
Our first stop on this adventure was the Welcome Centre that serves as the central hub for the festival. From here tours depart down Maple Lane, wagon rides head out for the Pancake House and costumed interpreters help bring a Maple Museum to life.
With our Festival Passport and Map in hand, we enjoyed a guided tour by very knowledgeable volunteer Alex. She showed us how to tap a tree and how syrup production has changed.
Alex took the time to answer all the questions had by ever-curious Jr Burlington. She made sure we understood how to tell maple trees apart from other trees and demonstrated different ways syrup has been made as we visited living exhibits all down the lane.
We soon approached Spruce Lane Farm which was home to the Breckon family from 1899 to the 1950s. Alex pointed out one of the big maple trees that the Breckons’ themselves had tapped for sap every winter.
Having escorted us to the farm, Alex left to lead another group and encouraged us to discover more on our own. Our first stop was the Candy Shanty where we watched fresh maple sugar being made and molded into a familiar maple leaf shape.
Outside the shanty, we came across Victorian era boys enjoying traditional games and teaching tech-savvy kids how their counterparts of yesteryear played without screens in hand.
A bit farther down the way we came across fresh Maple Taffy — always a festival favourite!
We met the farm animals, browsed the maple gift shoppe and toured the farmhouse. All along the way Jr Burlington enjoyed finding the secret code locations needed to complete his Maple Passport. Whenever we found a bright yellow sign, we answered the question and recorded a letter to decipher a secret word.
Upon returning to the Welcome Centre, the completed passport was traded for an Official Park Ranger Card!
Next we were transported by tractor to the Pancake House where we feasted on pancakes,
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bacon and sausage all smothered with a generous dose of maple syrup!
In addition to all the Maple Syrup activities, Bronte Creek offers an abundance of trails and a fantastic Children’s Farm and Playbarn to enjoy. Admission to Bronte Creek Provincial Park is $16 for a daily vehicle permit.