The maple sap is about to flow and Mountsberg and Crawford Lake Conservation Areas are firing up for Maple150, a unique celebration of maple traditions in Ontario. One of the great traditions of springtime in our area is maple syrup season and each year we welcome thousands of visitors to Maple Town and the Sweet Water Season. With this year being Canada’s 150th anniversary there are a number of celebrations happening and what could be more Canadian than maple syrup!
Starting February 25 until April 2 (open on weekends, March Break and holidays) Mountsberg Conservation Area welcomes visitors to the working sugar bush at Maple Town and Crawford Lake Conservation Area presents Sweet Water Season, a celebration of the Indigenous origins of maple sugaring. With the support of Ontario150, both parks are featuring additional Maple150 themed events throughout the season.
Regular park admission fees apply for Maple Town and Sweet Water Season, Halton Parks members only need to show their membership for admission. Best of all, you can visit two parks for the price of one, as admission to one park may be used at any other Conservation Halton park (except Glen Eden) when visiting the same day. Please note some additional fees may apply for certain programs such as wagon rides. For more information on all Conservation Halton recreation activities and special events visit www.conservationhalton.ca/events.
Canada produces approximately 80% of the world’s pure maple syrup. Canada’s maple syrup producing regions are located in the provinces of Quebec (primary producer), Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. There are more than 10,800 maple syrup farms in Canada with more than 40,000,000 trees, according to the Government of Canada.
The sugar bush at Mountsberg’s Maple Town has been producing maple magic for more than 150 years and educating the public for over 30 years.
The park will tap about 400 trees this spring and the watery sap will be magically transformed into sweet maple syrup in the Sugar Shanty. How will it be served? Over hot pancakes in the Pancake House, of course! Maple candy tasting, guided wagon rides and tours of the sugar bush with Conservation Halton’s knowledgable staff round out the Maple Town experience.
Of course, a trip to Mountsberg wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Raptor Centre. The birds of prey will be stretching their wings in the outdoor theatre (weather permitting) as they greet visitors during shows at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Then take a stroll on the newly updated stroller and wheelchair friendly trail around the centre to learn more about these amazing creatures.
Finally, little ones will enjoy a trip to the Play Barn and farm yard before heading home tired, happy, and perhaps a little sticky from all the maple treats found in the gift shop.
Sweet Water Season
The skill of maple sugar making was learned from Ontario’s First Nations who have been enjoying the tasty treat for generations. A trip to Crawford Lake will help you step back in time to learn how maple sugar may have been made in an Iroquoian Village over 600 years ago. Sweetwater demonstrations occur at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and conclude with a tasty morsel of cornbread soaked in maple syrup. Don’t know what type of syrup you enjoy most? Syrup is similar to wine with many distinct flavours! Treat yourself to syrup sampling flights at noon and 2 p.m. Maple taffy on snow will also be available from noon until 4 p.m. (weekends and March Break) – a truly Canadian delight.
Throughout the season look for special Maple150 themed events to get the most out of your maple syrup experience.
- Have you ever wanted to tap a tree and learn how to make syrup at home? Come to the Sugarmaker’s Breakfast, Saturday, February 25 or Sunday, Feburary 26 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. (pre-registration required and spaces are limited).
- Want to try delicious maple treats that take you beyond pancakes and explore the Indigenous heritage of maple? Join us for A Taste of Maple, Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19 at Crawford Lake from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- For art lovers, chainsaw carver, Jim Menken, will be in the Mountsberg sugar bush carving a one of a kind creation Saturday, March 4, 25, and April 1.
- Want to help preserve sugar maple health for future generations? Come plant a tree and learn how to reduce your carbon footprint at Maple SOS on Saturday, May 6.
Whichever event you choose, Maple150 experiences bring the heritage of maple sugaring to life!