Canada’s 150th birthday is an opportunity to celebrate our nation’s most cherished traditions. For new Canadians, it’s a chance to discover maple syrup.
Earlier this month, a group of 120 women and their young children, all newcomers to Canada, spent one sweet winter morning at the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival at Terra Cotta Conservation Area. They were adult students from the Language Instruction for Newcomers (LINC) Program offered by the Afghan Women’s Organization. Eighty per cent were Syrian refugees who arrived in Canada in 2016.
Only three per cent of the students had ever tried maple syrup. CVC staff taught them about maple syrup production through the ages. The women spent time outdoors learning about the First Nations discovery of ‘sweetwater’. They heard about how pioneers harvested maple sap and viewed traditional tools used in sap collection. The tour ended with a stop at Terra Cotta’s sugar shack where they learned how maple syrup is made today. Sampling the freshly made syrup was the best part!
For newcomers, a trip to the sugarbush is an opportunity for a personal experience with a time-honoured Canadian tradition. It was also an opportunity to connect with the outdoors, take pictures of our beautiful landscape and be among friends.
The group was joined by members of the CVC Board of Directors and staff. Councillors Martin Medeiros from Brampton, Bob Inglis from Halton Hills and John Brennan from Erin also participated in the program. Board members, along with our CAO Deborah Martin-Downs, spent time with the students and learned more about their backgrounds.
The Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival is a must for those looking to celebrate Canada 150 with traditional Canadian activities. The festival runs on weekends in March and throughout March break. It is hosted in partnership with Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) and offers four locations across the region.
Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets online to receive UNLIMITED general admission to all four festival locations. For event hours, schedule of events and prices, visit maplesyrupfest.com.