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Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival Q&AMar 11, 2016
What is the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival?
AM: The Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival is the longest-running maple syrup festival in the GTA, running for 5-6 weeks each year.
We provide demonstrations of the various methods that have been used to make maple syrup throughout Canadian history. This includes First Nations, pioneer and modern-day maple syrup production methods.
You can come out and go on a guided information tour, learn about the sugarbush and how sap is collected, as well as engage in various entertainment pieces such as face painting, horse and carriage rides, watch clog dancers and hang out at the petting zoo.
There are also plenty of pancakes and sausages to be eaten, and maple syrup can be sampled along the tours!
What’s the significance behind the festival?
AM: Maple syrup and Canada are obviously very, very closely tied together. I know that Canada produces 80% of the world’s maple syrup, and Ontario is the 3rd largest maple-syrup producing province.
Maple Syrup is a huge part of Canadian culture, I think, and people enjoy it.
The maple syrup festival also goes hand-in-hand with the beginning of spring. It’s a nice indicator that the warm weather is coming and the long winter is finally over.
How many years has the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival been around?
AM: This is the 48th year of the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival.
How many people visit the Maple Syrup Festival each year?
AM: At both Kortright and Bruce’s Mill, we see about 50,000-60,000 visitors each year.
How many pancakes are consumed during the Maple Syrup Festival?
AM: About 60,000 pancakes are consumed through the festival.
If all of those pancakes were stacked on top of each other, they would be taller than the CN Tower!
How much maple syrup is consumed at the festival each year?
AM: About 2000 pounds, which is about 680 litres. That’s enough to fill over 3 bathtubs!
How many volunteers and staff go into ensuring this event runs smoothly?
AM: We have about 25 staff members working the Maple Syrup Festival, and about 5-10 volunteers helping out. But the more volunteers we have, the better!
What is the most unique part of the Maple Syrup Festival?
AM: The personalities of the guides. They’re very good at what they do. They interact with all of our visitors, and deliver thorough information. They’re good at relating the information with certain analogies of the certain things.
For example, one of our guides is a retired teacher. The other day, I overheard her explaining the different grades of syrup, explaining why light, medium and amber syrups are different colours when they have the same percentage of syrup. She related this to the analogy of baking cookies:
If cookies take 10 minutes to bake, and you take them out of the oven after 10 minutes, they will be golden-brown. But if you take the cookies out after 15 minutes, they’ll come out black and burnt.
So the longer the maple syrup boils the darker it gets.
It’s a great analogy and a great way to relate the information to kids in a way that’s understandable for them.
How do you prepare for the Maple Syrup Festival?
AM: It usually takes about 3-4 staff members about a month to physically prepare for the festival.
We clear the trails, ensuring hazardous trees are removed and that it’s safe to use. We also set up various signs and syrup lines and buckets for the demonstrations.
We also prepare firewood for the event, which is actually a year-long process. Any tree that needs to come down during the year we store and use as firewood for the Maple Syrup Festival.
What goodies can we expect to find in the gift shop this year?
AM: There is tons of syrup to be purchased, along with other great maple syrup products, we have everything from fudge to chocolate bars to books about maple syrup.
This year, we also have these really great maple syrup-based recipe books. It’s 120 pages of maple-syrup based recipes, with anything from desserts to main courses, to salad dressings and bread.
The Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival runs from March 8-April 6 this year. Get more information on the festival, and plan your trip at www.MapleSyrupFest.com