Sometimes the best discoveries are accidental. When it comes to maple syrup the number of legends about its discovery are only outnumbered by the variety of container shapes and sizes you can buy the sweet liquid in. My personal favourite legend, however, would have to be the one where an axe was thrown into a maple tree and from the gash, sap was found dripping out. A simple action that resulted in a big discovery.
If you are a fan of the sweet stuff then you have the Maple Belt, the hardwood forest which stretches from the Midwestern USA through Ontario, Quebec and New England, and into the Canadian Maritimes, to thank. It is from the Maple Belt that the world’s production of maple syrup comes from.
In the past maple syrup was used as a sweetener, medicine, and an item of trade; nowadays it is perhaps most enjoyed dripping down a stack of hot pancakes. But with 19.5 million kilograms of maple products being exported from Canada in 1995 alone, it is safe to say that maple syrup is a popular product – so popular that there was even a maple syrup heist.
So it is no wonder that each year maple syrup festivals pop up on community events calendars. Type the words “maple syrup festival” into any search engine and results from Elmira (recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest one day maple syrup festival) to Ontario will appear.
Typically starting in late February and early March, these festivals include demonstrations, live music and plenty of maple syrup consuming. To get your share, consider visiting the Maple Syrup Festival at Bronte Creek, the Festival Beauceron De L’Erable, or the Riverview Annual Maple Sugar Festival.