Maple-drenched goodness

Local sugar bushes offer fun family adventures, mouth-watering maple treats


Visiting a sugar bush is an ideal spring family activity, particularly if you live in the Ottawa-Gatineau area.

Many farms and maple syrup operations in Ontario and Quebec offer tours and programming for kids and families. The sap starts to flow as soon as the weather warms up, usually in late February or early March.

Ottawa-area sugar bushes (and sugar shacks)

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make for a great early spring day trip, where the whole family can enjoy the full country experience, with fresh maple syrup, horse-drawn wagon rides, buffet lunches, farm animals and much more. And many sugar and maple syrup farms are all within a convenient driving distance from the city.

Maple syrup delights are a deliciously fun attraction during this season. Near mid-March, when the days become warmer but the nights remain cold, the sap in the maple trees starts to rise. This maple water is boiled down to syrup, sugar, butter and taffy.

And when you visit one of the many sugar bushes across the river during the maple syrup season, your family will discover an authentic taste of life in Québec.

From sleigh rides to learning how maple syrup is made to checking out sugar shack mini-farms, there’s plenty to do before stuffing up on an all-you-can-eat

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maple-based dinner.

While each sugar bush offers something different, all offer a variety of fun-filled activities and delicious maple-flavoured treats.

Some sugar bushes offer traditional food (even a buffet), a living history farm, and the chance to take a walk in the maples and see the “maple shanty” where the syrup is made each spring, using a wood-fired evaporator.

Or sample traditional lumberjack camp meals and then burn off those calories by taking a walk among the maples, or hit the hiking trails offered by many.

Some also offer a delicious traditional meal in a rustic and warm décor, where you’re welcome to bring your own wine and musical instrument.

At any sugar bush, however, your family can witness the authentic production of pure Canadian maple syrup amid the fresh spring air.


Photo: Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm