Let the Good Times Flow at Maple Syrup in the Park

Maple syrup sap buckets on maple trees

Flipping the calendar to March means one thing – soon we’ll be enjoying pancakes and real maple syrup! While the season is short, it’s an important one in Canada. Maple syrup is an iconic Canadian treat that people around the world enjoy. As we head into another maple syrup season in the Credit River Watershed, here are some fun facts about this sweet treat:

Maple Syrup Fun Facts

Fun Fact #1

Canada produces over 70 per cent of the world’s supply of this “liquid gold.” Quebec is the top producer accounting for over 90 per cent of the supply, averaging an amazing 8 million gallons per year. Ontario is the second largest Canadian producers with an average of 400,000 gallons each year.

Frozen maple syrup on a stick on ice.
Warm maple taffy over a block of ice is a classic way to enjoy this sweet treat. You can try it at Maple Syrup in the Park.

Fun Fact #2

While there are 13 native maple tree species in Canada, only three are tapped for their sap – the sugar maple, black maple and red maple. We tap sugar maples at Island Lake and Terra Cotta Conservation Areas. Depending on the size and age of the tree, some trees can support two or three taps.

Maple sap dripping into bucket
Drilling a maple tree for sap does not hurt it long-term. Trees are extremely resilient and can be tapped for decades.

Fun Fact #3

Spring temperatures play a huge role in the production of maple syrup. Daytime temperatures above freezing and night time below freezing are ideal conditions for a successful production year. If temperatures stay too warm or too cold, it can affect overall sap collection. This affects maple syrup supply and pricing. That’s why climate change is affecting the production of this sweet treat.

Fun Fact #4

Maple syrup comes in four different colour grades: golden, amber, dark and very dark. It’s all maple syrup but the colour changes as the sugaring season progresses. Golden or amber sap are collected earlier in the season so its lighter on maple taste. These flavours are best for all around use on pancakes and other delicious treats. Dark maple syrup has a more robust taste and is good for all around use and is ideal for cooking and baking. Very dark syrup is from the end of the sugaring season and is very strong in flavour. It is often used as an additive in industrial food processing.

Small bottles of maple syrup showing colour gradients.
Colour grades of maple syrup.

Fun Fact #5

CVC has two sugar shacks. There are 210 taps at Terra Cotta and 120 at Island Lake. Our staff string sap lines that send the liquid to our sugar shacks where it’s boiled in evaporators to remove excess water. The boiling process is very precise to make sure you get the perfect bottle of maple syrup. Our production is done largely for demonstration to teach visitors about the process and share the magic of maple syrup.

CVC staff teaching park visitors about maple syrup production.

Now that you’re in the maple syrup mood, why not leave the pancake flipping to us? Head to Island Lake and Terra Cotta Conservation Areas for Maple Syrup in the Park March 12-20, 26 and 27. This event is by reservation only so make sure to book your tickets in advance. Dates vary by location.

See you in the sugar bush!

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