Celebrate Maple Syrup Season Safely in Waterloo Region
by Meg Carman
Maple season in Waterloo Region signifies the end of winter and promises warmer days will soon be here. Sap is used to make maple syrup and best flows from maple trees when temperatures stay around 5˚C during the day. That means we are moving out of the below freezing range and into maple syrup season!
Maple syrup is associated with being Canadian, but it is important to know exactly where this knowledge came from. Indigenous Peoples of the First Nations should be credited with discovering sap in maple trees and using it to create maple syrup. The First Nations people shared this information with settlers, and it has become a time-honoured tradition whose origin is often forgotten. Please remember where the knowledge of maple syrup originated and share it with your friends. (A special thank you to Anne Snyder from Snyder Heritage Farms for providing information about maple syrup. This information was incredibly helpful for this article.)
If your adventurous heart has been longing for travel, if you’re looking for something to entertain the kiddos, or if you love real maple syrup, here is the sweet maple syrup staycation you never knew you needed. Click here for a map of all three itineraries.
The New Hamburg/Wellesley Maple Syrup Itinerary
This itinerary is the perfect date planning tool! It doesn’t matter if it’s a date with your bestie, your mom, your significant other, or for yourself. Just make sure you are following COVID-19 safety precautions and only coming in close contact with members of your household.
New Hamburg and Wellesley are filled with unique culinary experiences! Stop at both Roth’s Maple Syrup and Wagler Maple Products to stock up on all the maple goodness. You’ll want to grab some of Roth’s maple butter. It goes great on pancakes, ice cream, or toast. And if you don’t try the maple BBQ sauce from Wagler Maple Products, you’ll be missing out.
Continue the maple theme and grab lunch at Puddicombe House. They have Smoked BBQ Chicken Stromboli with Maple Chipotle BBQ Sauce that you can enjoy in the comfort of your own private greenhouse. Just make sure you have a reservation because they’re very popular.
The Elmira Maple Syrup Itinerary
This itinerary was created with the maple syrup enthusiast in mind. The Elmira Maple Syrup Festival has been an annual event for over 50 years. And even though they had to take a brief pause last year to pivot their approach, they are back again this year in a new and exciting way.
The Elmira Maple Syrup Festival is going virtual! Schmidt’s Family Syrup is one of the local sponsors for the festival gift bag that will be filled with maple treats, pancake mix, and everything else you need to enjoy the festival from home.
If you’d like to see a sugarbush in real life, head over to the Woolwich Reservoir. You can find this trail on the map here. There’s an active sugar shack along the trail and depending on the day, you can buy maple syrup during your hike.
After, you’ll want to warm up at Bonnie Lou’s Café with some pancakes and more local maple syrup. Then, if your sweet tooth still isn’t satisfied, make sure to stop in at Winding Road Maple Products to pick up some maple fudge.
The St. Jacobs Maple Syrup Itinerary
The last itinerary is a fantastic one for kids. It even includes an adventure to find the secret Wise Old Oak Tree!
Snyder Heritage Farms is a great place to teach the kids, and maybe yourself too, about Canadian maple syrup history and production. They can’t offer sugarbush tours this year due to COVID-19 safety regulations, but they have information packages, activity books, and cootie catchers for the kids to play with that are full of maple syrup information!
Continue your maple hunt at Picard’s for their Maple Syrup Peanut Brittle. Then, gather maple muffins and tarts from Stone Crock Bakery and you’ll have everything that you need for a maple themed picnic.
Finish this daytrip hiking the Health Valley Trail and seek out the Wise Old Oak Tree before heading home. You can find the Wise Old Oak Tree on the map here.
Meg Carman is a writer, photographer, and small business advocate in Ontario.
She enjoys meeting local business owners that are making a difference within their communities and sharing their stories.
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