Celebrate 2023 maple syrup season in Ontario

    Each year as winter recedes, the changing climate brings warmer days and frosty nights. This causes sap in sugar maple trees to flow up from the roots, and maple harvesting to kick into high gear.

    Two young girls enjoy sampling maple syrup taffy sticks off a tray of snow.
    Sand Road Maple Farm | Laura Bombier

    During this short, but eagerly anticipated sweet season, guests flock to sugar bushes (maple tree forests) and sugar shacks to witness the tree-tapping and boiling process of converting sap to syrup.

    Pancake houses pop up and kids are treated to maple taffy. Family-friendly, maple-themed events and festivals follow.

    And maple syrup is just the start. This versatile flavour is used in so much, from beer and wine to tea and coffee. It’s infused in spreads, jams, butter, butter tarts, donuts, bacon and even maple bacon donuts.

    Here are some of the best places to sample and experience everything maple in Ontario.

    Don’t miss out, time is limited on this tasty season.

    Note: Always check weather, reservations, dates and hours of operation in advance as some event details may change.

    Lanark County and the Ottawa Region

    The knowledge and use of sweet sugar maple sap originated with the Indigenous Peoples of the Eastern Woodlands who valued it for centuries. In and around Ottawa, maple syrup production continues today. So much so that Lanark County, located within an hour’s drive southwest of Ottawa, is hailed as “Ontario’s Maple Syrup Capital”.

    Maple syrup experiences include:

    Lanark County Maple Trail

    Choose your own adventure on a self-guided tour of seasonal maple sugar bushes and camps, as well as other year-round maple-related stops at shops, restaurants and breweries.

    Location: throughout Lanark County

    Fulton’s Sugar Bush and Maple Shop 

    Nestled between the communities of Pakenham and Almonte in Mississippi Mills, Fulton’s is like the godfather of maple with over 170 years and six generations of experience.

    Explore the property trails, book a horse-drawn sleigh ride, visit the maple shop and learn all about maple tapping and production.

    Details: The 2023 sugar bush season runs from February 18 to April 16 and there is a $10 entrance fee per vehicle.

    Location: 399 Sugar Bush Road, Pakenham

    Sand Road Maple Farm and Sugar Camp

    Just east of Ottawa, this fully operational maple farm opens its gates to visitors to witness the traditional maple syrup-making process. And of course, to enjoy a homemade pancake and maple syrup feast.

    Details: The syrup season typically begins in March and runs until the sap stops flowing. The first-come-first-serve, buffet-style breakfast costs between $9.95 (kids under five) and $21.95 (adults) and runs from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

    Location: 17190 Sand Road, Moose Creek

    Wheelers Pancake House, Sugar Camp and Maple Heritage Museum

    In addition to the all-day pancake breakfast, you’ll also want to visit Wheelers Maple Heritage Museum, which holds the Guinness World Record for the “Largest Collection of Maple Syrup Artifacts.”

    Details: Wheeler maple farm and pancake house is open weekends only until the syrup season from March 6 until April 30, during which they open Tuesdays to Sundays.

    Location: 1001 Highland Line, McDonalds Corners, Lanark Highlands

    Find more maple-inspired highlights at:

    Kingston and Prince Edward County

    From family-friendly events to maple-themed wine and dining experiences, there are great opportunities to enjoy Ontario’s favourite sweet treat in and around Kingston.

    Maple syrup experiences include:

    Kingston’s Maple Madness

    A seasonal highlight for families, the annual maple syrup event at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area involves demonstrations of sap boiling as well as wagon rides and trails to explore.

    Location: 1641 Perth Road, Glenburnie

    PEC March Maple Madness 2023

    After a brief hiatus, March Maple Madness is back to celebrate local sugar bushes, maple farms and maple treats in The County.

    Create your own itinerary from the dozens of participating maple syrup producers, wineries, breweries, cideries, restaurants and accommodations.

    Details: The event takes place every Saturday and Sunday in March, starting on March 4, 2023.

    Location: Prince Edward County

    Find more maple-inspired highlights at:

    • Black River Cheese for melt-in-your-mouth, artisanal maple cheddar with cracked pepper cheese log.

    Muskoka and Haliburton Highlands

    Each spring, communities across Muskoka and Haliburton Highlands turn their attention to maple in a big way.

    Maple syrup experiences include:

    Muskoka Maple Trail

    Create your own maple adventure on a self-guided culinary tour of maple treats and attractions at 18 sweet stops.

    Details: This event takes place between March 10 and April 28, 2023.

    Location: throughout Muskoka

    Muskoka Maple Festival

    Hailed as spring’s sweetest party, this family friendly event celebrates all things maple with an entire day of fun activates, performers and entertainment and, of course, a myriad of maple syrup-inspired foods.

    Details: This event takes place on April 29, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. admission is $5, kids 12 and under are free.

    Location: Main Street, Huntsville

    Maple Weekend in Haliburton Highlands

    During the first weekend in April each year, Haliburton Highlands invites you to explore all the ways this region celebrates Ontario’s favourite springtime treat from sugar bush trails and demonstrations to pancake breakfasts and maple syrup products.

    Location: throughout Haliburton Highlands

    Find more maple-inspired highlights at:

    Algoma Country

    There are a handful of dedicated maple syrup producers in this region, specifically on St. Joseph Island, just over half an hour’s drive from Sault. Ste Marie. With its abundance of maple trees, the island produces 18% of Ontario’s total maple syrup. 

    Maple syrup experiences include:

    St. Joseph Island Maple Syrup Festival

    Meet local maple producers and other craft vendors and fill up on pancakes, sausages and delicious, golden, local maple syrup at 54th annual Maple Syrup Festival held at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 374.

    Details: The event takes place on April 1, 2, 8 and 9, 2023, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    Location: 1534 10th Side Road, Richards Landing

    Find more maple-inspired highlights at:

    York, Durham and Headwaters 

    Within an easy day trip distance from Toronto, several highly anticipated maple syrup festivals take place across York, Durham and Headwaters.

    Maple syrup experiences include:

    Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival 

    Enjoy a variety of different family activities, demonstrations and delicious maple products during York Region’s maple syrup festival which is held in two locations at Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area and at Kortright Centre for Conservation. 

    Details: Event dates are March 4 to April 1, 2023.

    Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area, 3291 Stouffville Road, Whitchurch-Stouffville
    Kortright Centre for Conservation, 9550 Pine Valley Drive, Woodbridge

    Maplefest at Brooks Farm

    Guided and self-guided sugar bush tours, a campfire at the sugar bush, wagon rides, a barnyard playground and pancakes are some of the highlights that families love during Maplefest at Brooks Farm.

    Details: Tours take place on weekends and during March Break, tickets are $12.99 plus tax per person. Check back for more details on dates and tickets for more of Maplefest events.

    Location: 122 Ashworth Road, Mount Albert

    Purple Woods Maple Syrup Festival

    Enjoy daily activities like maple syrup demonstrations and self-guided hikes through the sugar bush and shop in the Heritage Store at Purple Woods Conservation Area in Durham Region.

    Special events include a sugar bush lantern walk with maple syrup tastings.

    Details: Events and activities take place during the weekends in March and the first weekend of April 2023. Entrance fee per person is $8 online and $11 onsite. Tickets are limited by capacity so purchase online in advance is strongly recommended.

    Location: 38 Coates Road East, Oshawa

    Sunderland Maple Festival

    Look forward to music, entertainment, local maple producers and other vendors, pancake breakfasts and even iron forging demonstrations during this outdoor event.

    A special treat is the local festival recipes like maple garlic chicken wings and maple butter tarts.

    Details: This event takes place April 1 and 2, 2023, with free admission and parking.

    Location: 1 River Street, Sunderland

    Find more maple-inspired highlights at:

    Kawarthas and Northumberland

    From sap to syrup, the maple syrup making process is a time honoured spring tradition that’s celebrated throughout this region.

    Maple syrup experiences include:

    Kawarthas Northumberland Maple Festival

    A collection of farms, communities and sugar bushes host events and activities during the maple syrup season. From Maplefest at McLean Berry Farm to tree tapping at Elmhirst’s Resort, build your perfect maple themed getaway.

    Location: throughout Kawarthas and Northumberland

    Find more maple-inspired highlights at:

    Orillia and Lake Country

    When winter gives way to spring across Ontario’s “snowbelt,” the annual sap-to-syrup traditions begin.

    Maple syrup experiences include:

    Tap into Maple

    Take a self-guided maple-themed tour along the “sweetest route” to local operating sugar shacks and sugar bushes to experience the harvesting and boiling process of maple syrup production.

    Details: Event takes place from March 3 to April 2, 2023.

    Location: throughout Lake Country

    Shaw’s Maple Syrup

    Shaw’s Pancake House is a seasonal restaurant with authentic Canadiana ambiance that serves delicious pancakes by a roaring fire.

    Pick up maple goodies in the Maple Tree’t Shop and be sure to treat your kids to maple taffy on the snow.

    Location: #493 Oro-Medonte Line 14 South, Oro-Medonte

    Sweetwater Harvest Weekends at Wye Marsh 

    For two weekends in March, you’re invited to witness how maple syrup was made a long time ago at one of Ontario’s most unique family-friendly nature preserves.

    Details: The event takes place on March 18, 19, 25 and 26, 2023. Tickets are $17 for adults, $14 for students and seniors and kids 3 and under are free and must be purchased at least 24 hours in advance.

    Location: 16160 Highway 12 East, Midland

    Find more maple-inspired highlights at:

    Stratford, St. Jacobs and Elmira

    Explore maple goodness from the maple infused chocolate treats in Stratford to the maple syrup farms and products in Mennonite country.

    Maple syrup experiences include:

    Elmira Maple Syrup Festival

    Elmira has been celebrating Ontario’s liquid gold since the spring of 1965 with pancakes and maple syrup. The event has grown over the years, but sweet taste of spring remains just as good as ever.

    Details: This event takes place on Saturday, April 1, 2023.

    Location: downtown Elmira

    Find more maple-inspired highlights at:

    Norfolk, Haldimand and Oxford Counties

    Maple syrup production is a long-standing tradition in many of Southwestern Ontario’s agriculturally rich communities.

    Maple syrup experiences include:

    Richardson’s Farm and Market

    Enjoy a wagon ride to the sugar bush for a self-guided tour of storyboards and display along well maintain trails to learn all about the maple syrup production. Add maple taffy on the snow to your experience and shop in the farm store for goodies to take home.

    Book the Family Maple Experience for a more immersive, hands-on tour.

    Details: Open 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and tours costs $10 per person, kids 3 and under are free and maple taffy is $2 per stick.

    Location: 131 River Road, Dunnville

    Find more maple-inspired highlights at:

    • Chambers Pure Maple Product, just east of Waterford, is an eclectic little spot where you can stock up on jams, preserves and sweet or savoury maple BBQ sauce.
    • Jakeman’s Pure Maple Syrup in Woodstock is one of the largest maple syrup packers in Ontario selling premium buttermilk pancake mix and a host of sap inspired treats like maple ice wine-syrup, cream cookies, maple sugar and popcorn.

    Greater Toronto Area (GTA)

    Maple syrup celebrations are not limited to the countryside, big cities get in on the action too.

    Maple syrup experiences include:

    Maple at the Village

    Black Creek Pioneer Village celebrates maple magic with informative, interactive and entertaining maple syrup stories and demonstrations from costumed educators. And of course, there will be old fashioned sweets to enjoy.

    Details: This event take places from March 13 to 17, 2023 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and admission costs $23 + tax for adults, $20 for seniors and students and $18 for kids (ages 3 to 14).

    Location: 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, Toronto

    Sugar Shack TO

    The Shack is Back! Sugar Shack TO, presented by Redpath, is a free, family-friendly, winter event that celebrates all things maple on Toronto’s waterfront at Sugar Beach.

    Details: Sugar Shack takes places on March 11 and 12, 2023 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Location: 11 Dockside Drive at Lower Jarvis and Queens Quay, Toronto

    Windsor and Essex Region

    Maple Syrup Festival

    Join the Maple Syrup Festival during three weekends in March at two locations connected with the Maple Trail.

    Details: Lumberjack Weekend takes place March 4 and 5 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tasters’ Weekend takes places March 11 and 12 from 11:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m. and Makers’ Weekend takes place March 18-19 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Holiday Beach Conservation Area, 6952 County Road 50, Amherstburg
    John R. Park Homestead Conservation Area, 915 Essex County Road 50, Essex

    Don’t forget birch syrup     

    Did you know birch trees can also be tapped for sap to make birch syrup? Birch season occurs just after maple syrup season in late April to early May.

    Although birch syrup is not as sweet as maple syrup, it can be used in many sweet and savoury dishes, as well as a tasty ingredient in barbeque sauces and marinades.

    Some Ontario birch syrup producers include:

    More maple syrup festivals

    And that’s not all. There’s good reason our flag proudly bears the maple leaf. We just can’t get enough of this sweet and sticky stuff! There are so many more maple syrup festivals and events in Ontario.

    Visit ontariomaple.com for more info on Ontario’s maple makers and events.

    Source: Destination Ontario