Archives: maple syrup

crawford lake

Sometimes I wish that spring in Ontario was a full four months; slow and gradual as opposed to how jarring it can often be. You know, snow storm one week and the next hot enough for shorts and sandals. But I shouldn’t be complaining. Spring is here at last!

If you’re looking for something to do on a weekend to enjoy this fine spring weather (with kids or without) I highly recommend checking out Crawford Lake; a reconstructed 15th century Iroquoian Village.

Whether you want to visit the old Iroquois Longhouses (which are actually super cool) or just got for a hike around the lake itself it is ALL worth checking out.

We went during maple syrup season on an unseasonably warm day in March. The sap was literally dripping out of their tree-taps like a leaky faucet.

Crawford Lake1

Our main mission for the morning was to wander around the lake via the lovely wooden boardwalk that circles around its entire circumference.

Crawford Lake

We packed a picnic and along with some friends we made a great morning treading along the 1.4km trail taking in the various vantage points and views of the deep deep lake.

The lake is unique in that its depth is deeper than its surface area and it is also a meromictic; meaning it has layers of its water that do not intermix. 

Crawford Lake 3

Crawford Lake 2Crawford Lake is truly a magical place. Whenever I visit I imagine even if it’s just for a minute or two that these views are how much of Southern Ontario must have looked like a millenia ago.

I want to come back again to spend some more time exploring the Longhouses. And one day maybe we’ll venture for the longer 4-5 hour hike via the Nassagaweya Canyon Trail to Rattle Snake Point and back.

*Crawford Lake, 3115 Conservation Road, Milton, 905.854.0234


sugar shack

Nothing better to mark the arrival of spring than maple syrup season.

It already seemed like spring was well on its way in downtown Hamilton with crocuses budding and snowdrops blooming but up Highway 6 at Mountsberg the ice-storm we had last week winterized their Maple Town to make for the perfectly quintessentially Canadian maple syrup scene.


I hadn’t been to Mountsberg for sugar shacking since I was a kid. I have all these beautiful memories of wagon rides, maple syrup drizzled on snow, pancakes, and the smell of sweet sweet maple syrup evaporating over an open fire.

It’s safe to say that my first revisit (as an adult and parent) to Mountsberg’s Maple Town  was just as great as I remember so many years ago. It had the perfect components for great memory making and an experiential adventure for my own kids. And if I’d had someone visiting from out of the country this would have been the most Canadian activity to have taken someone to. After all, tapping maple trees and making syrup has long been a tradition of the First Nations’ people for many hundreds of years. At Mountsberg they’ve been doing it for 150 years.


A wooden fort perfect for this little guy. Just a little out of the way from the packed pancake house.

Over 600 maple trees are tapped at Mountsberg annually for their maple syrup season.Mountsberg2 20160325_132055


The evaporator was steaming up the whole building melting its icicles and snow covered roof. We enjoyed free maple syrup sugar candy samples and warmed up our hands and toes in the toasty evaporator house.

20160325_140549Before leaving we went on a wagon ride. On this day (because of the icy weather conditions) the wagon ride was tractor pulled but on most fine days the wagons are horse drawn for a classic ride out to the sugar bush.

Syrup season is a short one and runs just until the start of April.

If you’re heading up to Mountsberg for an outing there’s plenty to do for the day. You can check out the Birds of Prey (eagles to owls and raptors) or spend a large chunk of time in the play barn or checking out some of the barn animals. Make sure that you save room to eat some pancakes! You can find the prices and menu for pancakes here.


Adult (15-64)$7.50
Senior (65 & over)$6.50
Child (5-14)$5.25
Child (4 & under)Free

Admission to one site gives access to ALL Halton Parks for that same day.

*Mountsberg, 2259 Milburough Line, Cambelville



sugar bush

The last weekend of March we were in Kingston visiting some old friends. While there we decided to make the most of the early spring weather by heading out to a nearby conservation area for a maple syrup festival.

To the sugar bush!

The trees were tapped with the sap flowing. We noted that they had several different methods of tapping, some with metal pails, other trees with blue plastic buckets, and some were tapped atop a hill with a series of connecting tubes that ran towards the sugar shack down the hill below (definitely the most efficient).

maple syrup evaporator

There wasn’t any snow of the ground so we weren’t able to do the classic maple syrup on snow or ice. Of course there were pancakes and although we’d already had a delicious breakfast we could not forgo sampling at least one (or two)!

This pancake was so delictable and the maple syrup was so fresh!

I hadn’t been to the sugar bush since I was a little kid. I’m sure in the upcoming years we’ll be doing an annual maple syrup pilgrimage to Mountsberg (and the like) with the little one.


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