Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival

Sap is flowing and spring is saying come on down - it's the #Toronto Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival at Toronto and Region Conservation parks Kortright Conservation Area and Bruce's Mill Conservation Area until April 9, 2012 from 9:30am to 5pm. The wooded area is full of mature and new growth maple trees with about 150 trees tapped up to three times, depending on the size.
They have three large outdoor kettles sitting over wood fires, evaporating the water and reducing the mixture to a higher sugar content. There is an entrance/parking fee but the lovely nature site is perfect for a March break family outing and don't forget to enjoy the wildlife while you are wandering the trails.
A Chickadee flies from one of the many bird feeders
Buckets and blue lines will collect the syrup that flows from the tapped maple trees where fires will boil the tree juice until it becomes a sweet nectar called Maple Syrup. It's a perfect way to start the March Break adventures. The new method of running plastic hoses from tree to tree and eventually to storage tanks at the large evaporator is taking over the taps and buckets that traditionally were used to gather the tree sap.
The beautiful heavy horse team pulls the wagon around the park
"The sweetness of spring is flowing, and with it comes a chance for families to take part in a truly Canadian tradition at Toronto and Region Conservation's annual Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival. The festival will celebrate the new season with maple syrup demonstrations, horse drawn wagon rides, guided maple syrup walks, sap sampling, live entertainment, lots of maple syrup treats to buy at the sugar shack, and, of course, pancakes and maple syrup! The festival draws more than 50,000 visitors to come out for a taste of the sweet stuff from March 5th - April 3rd, including March Break and Easter weekend.Visitors will learn both historical and modern methods of maple syrup production at the Kortright Centre for Conservation in Woodbridge, and Bruce's Mill Conservation Area in Stouffville . The festival includes many activities for kids including children's music and comedy show, magic show and facepainting (additional fee). Additional activities at Bruce's Mill. WHERE: Kortright Centre for Conservation, 9550 Pine Valley Dr, Vaughan, ON and Bruce's Mill Conservation Area, 3291 Stouffville Rd, Stouffville, ON"
You can see the sap run from the tree as the weather warms up above freezing

See more after the jump.

The old fashioned way to tell if the sap has boiled down into syrup
You can try the slightly sweet sap and tasty maple syrup samples at the kettles
Without plastic tubing the work was very labour intensive
A demonstration of the wood burning evaporator

Some of the blue tubing that runs from tree to tree and into larger collector pipes
Besides Maple Syrup you can purchase a wide variety of products including these suckers or sit down in the large restaurant and order fresh pancakes and maple syrup. Right beside the restaurant is a gift shop so you can take plenty of maple syrup and other items home as souvenirs
Part of the restaurant area
More Chickadees enjoying a lunch break
"Sugar Makers never die, they just EVAPORATE" 

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