Spring in Burlington Ontario

Spring in Burlington Ontario
Discover Burlington this Spring

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It's Maple Syrup Time

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting one of Conservation Halton’s amazing events, Maple Town; a family friendly event held on weekends, holidays and daily during March Break ending the first weekend in April. This is where Fresh Ontario Maple Syrup flows out of the 500+ taps on their Sugar Maple Trees.

My nephew and I made the 30 minute car drive north of Burlington to experience this annual event for both of our first times. Directions were seamless and upon our arrival, Mother Nature sensed that we dressed warmly as snow began to delicately fall throughout the park and it definitely set the mood for winter adventure. I parked the car directly in front of the Raptor Centre, walked towards the pens and was astounded by the large amount of at risk bird species protected on site; from 5 different species of Owls, 7 Falcons, 3 different breeds of Hawks, 2 large Bald Eagles and Vultures; needless to say, my nephew, a toddler, was quite timid of the creatures until they started to speak up! Raptor Presentations occur daily on weekends, holidays and during March Break at 12, 1, 2 & 3pm.

After a short walk from the Raptor Centre, we arrived at the Discovery Centre filled with the scent of Maple. I grabbed a brochure of Maple Town and set out on a plan to experience it all! Our first stop was the Cameron Playbarn filled with straw and many areas for children to run, jump, swing and slide to their hearts content. Around the other side was the entrance to visit the farm animals, where we found 2 sheep nuzzling their baby lambs while a chicken clucked in the corner of their pen; we ventured more inside to discover 2 rather large horses, who are expecting later this year as well as bunnies, goats and many more chickens. The trail to the Sugar Bush was next on the agenda, with just a short walk over train tracks through tall snow-covered trees following the scent of maple, we discovered Maple Town.

With many cabins surrounding open fires boiling maple, the scene was picturesque. We wandered over to the Pancake House and enjoyed steaming stacks of pancakes smothered in fresh maple syrup served with hot apple cider to keep our hands warm. After noticing a horse-drawn wagon, we purchased tickets and it was all aboard the Sugar Bush Express! Off we went deeper into Maple Town pulled by 2 large black horses while we listened to an interpreter guide us through the different Maple trees, the tapping process and the ideal times for maple to flow. After our short ride, we headed for warmth as we stepped into the steamy scent of Canadian springtime inside the Sugar Shanty; where we were able to witness the process of transforming sap into pure maple syrup inside their evaporator. As the scent of maple swarmed the air, we entered yet another cabin, the Candy Cabin, where we listened to an interpreter enlighten visitors of the maple candy-making process and were given delicious samples of this treat!

Just when I thought we had seen it all, my nephew noticed other visitors leaving a cabin with bottles of maple syrup and he insisted we head inside. In its quaint country setting warmed by a wood stove, the Maple Town Country Store is packed with tasty maple products and pure maple syrup for purchase in various sizes. After making some purchases, half the day passed and my nephew growing more increasingly tired, I decided it was time to finally head home. After waking up from a short nap, he was upset to realize he was at home and not back at Maple Town with the “horsey-wagon”!

Maple Town isn’t the only great festival on this March in and around Burlington; another Conservation Area, Crawford Lake is hosting Sweet Water Season. During weekends, holidays and daily during March Break, enjoy native style Sweet Water Presentations, Sappy Strolls and samples of cornbread dripping with pure maple syrup. Bronte Creek Provincial Park hosts the annual Maple Syrup Festival which kicks off Weekends in March and daily during March Break. With guided tours of Maple Lane, wagon rides, pancake breakfasts and maple taffy on snow, it’s sure to please anyone with a sweet tooth! Be sure to browse through the maple products and souvenirs available in the Gift Shop at all locations and pick up a bottle of pure maple syrup to take home.

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