Friday, March 29, 2013

Fun with the Kids: Maple Syrup Festivals

I was very happy to be invited by Toronto Region Conservation Authority to visit one of their Maple Syrup Festivals with my family.  These festivals run yearly in two locations - at Bruce's Mill in Stouffville, and at Kortright in Woodbridge. Since we're in the east end, we headed up the 404 to Stouffville. We've visited Bruce's Mill for the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival before, and we've always had a great time.

We took advantage of a nice day last Saturday, grabbed our mitts and boots, and hit the road. Among the events we enjoyed at Bruce's Mill were a petting zoo, magic show, facepainting, balloon animals, wagon rides, and of course maple syrup tasting! Kortright has similar activities. You can find complete schedules for both sites on the festival website.

Our favourite part of the visit was the tour through the sugarbush.  Guided tours start on the hour, or you can stroll along on your own, and learn about the history of maple syrup production through a series of displays and explanatory plaques. Little Boo's favourite part of the tour is when we get to the three-kettle method of preparation, and an interpreter is on hand with a board filled with delicious maple syrup samples. I think the pony ride was a close second. Here's some images from our day:

Did you know that Canada produces about 85% of the world's maple syrup? This is a truly Canadian product, with a great history. The displays you will see at the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival will take you through the history of production from First Nations methods, through those of later European settlers, right up until today. The tour ends in a modern sugar shack, which of course leads into the gift shop (at least at Bruce's Mill). We make sure to pick up a huge jug of Ontario maple syrup on our way out,

Oh! And while you're there, you can visit the pancake house for a yummy meal of pancakes, lovingly covered in real maple syrup. MMMM.

A couple of notes about accessibility - Bruce's Mill is fairly flat, though can get muddy. Wheelchairs and strollers should be ok. According to the festival website, Kortright is more hilly and involves more walking. Also, dogs on leash are allowed at both sites, just not on the wagon rides or inside the buildings. We decided not to bring Maxi, as we're still getting used to how she reacts in public settings. Plus, we knew we were going on an incredibly muddy day.

The Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival continues until Sunday, April 7 at both locations. Sunny, warm days, with colder nights make for great sap running. You can see a small drip in the bottom right picture above. Easter Saturday should be a great day for a visit, given the forecast. Take advantage of the milder spring weather and get outdoors for some fresh air with the kids!

Admissions - adults are $10 each, kids (over 4) and seniors are $6.50. Parking is free at Bruce's Mill, and just $4 at Kortright. You can find all the details online.

Disclosure: I was provided with a free family pass to attend the festival. However, all opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own. Actually, you can check out my previous posts too - 2011 & 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to know you're reading! What's on your mind?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...