It’s that sweet time of year again, as Orillia & Lake Country presents the ever-popular Tap into Maple experience. Running March 3 to April 2, the program is an opportunity to visit the region’s maple syrup producers, enjoy special maple-themed experiences, and indulge in local maple-inspired cuisine.
This year’s program truly showcases the deep roots of maple in our region with 22 participating locations including 10 maple producers offering an array of sugar bush experiences. Take a self-guided tour through lesser-traveled routes to working sugar shacks that offer a firsthand view of the maple syrup process, from harvesting and boiling to enjoying. Additionally, experience the many ways maple is celebrated by shopping for maple products, enjoying a maple infused craft brew or dining out on maple featured menus.
In Oro-Medonte, each producer has their own specialty and process of creating this liquid gold. At Elsie’s Creek Farm and Hutchinson’s Maple Syrup you can take self-guided tours along the tap-lined trails and visit their sugar shacks. Grab some lunch at Off-Eleven Pizza by the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport where two dishes will feature Hutchinson’s Maple Syrup. Sugar Sweet Farm’s maple stand is open seven days a week with sugar shack tours available. At Shaw’s Maple Syrup go for a horse-drawn carriage ride through the sugar bush before enjoying a delicious pancake breakfast right next to where the syrup is boiled. McCutcheon’s Maple Syrup will be open the weekends of March 26 and April 1 but don’t fret, as their maple syrup is featured all month in the popular Maple Rumpy Coffee Porter at Quayle’s Brewery. Be sure to stop in at the brewery for this limited time specialty craft brew as well as great food and on-site activities. Round out an Oro-Medonte trip with a stop in Craighurst at Chelsea Chocolates for the perfect maple chocolate treat for the road.
Over in Severn, Backwoods Maple Syrup and Maple Grove Syrup open up on weekends for sugar shack tours and self-guided trail tours. Hewitt’s Farm Market is a great spot to pick up Hewitt’s Maple Syrup and maple products. Be sure to stop in Coldwater and pick up some maple coated nuts at Copperpot Nuts. On Saturday mornings head over to the Orillia Fairgrounds Farmers’ Market at ODAS Park for maple treats from vendors and on March 25th they will be serving up a special pancake breakfast with family fun activities on site.
The Tap into Maple train continues in Midland and surrounding area. Windlee Farm Maple Syrup has been in operation for over a quarter of a century overlooking Georgian Bay. The Sweetwater Harvest Festival returns for two weekends at the end of March at Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre with loads of family fun activities, delicious food and educational opportunities. New to the festival this year includes even more maple activities at Saint-Marie Among the Hurons. One ticket for two locations of awesome maple experiences!
Take a breather in Orillia where you can extend your stay during Tap Into Maple to make the most of the season at one of the region’s cozy accommodations. At Best Western Plus Mariposa Inn, check out the G&O Bistro for a special three-course maple-inspired dinner. Be sure to head downtown to Susie Q Fudge & Gifts, in the downstairs of Mariposa Market, to find the sweetest maple fudge and maple products. On Saturday mornings shop the Orillia Farmers’ Market, at the Orillia Public Library, which features Pyrvalley Maple products.
Across the lake, Ramara and Rama First Nation are serving up a maple feast for the senses. Stop in at The Farmgate road-side stand in Ramara for Harrington’s Maple Syrup. Just a few minutes away, enjoy a lunch or dinner at Pier One Resort featuring the Maple Salmon special made with Harrington’s Maple Syrup. Over in Rama, extend your stay at Casino Rama Resort, and enjoy their restaurants featuring maple menus of every variety. At The Weirs Breakfast Restaurant enjoy a specialty pancake breakfast, or stop by the Cedar Express featuring maple-inspired beverages and pastries. Enjoy a lunch or dinner with maple menu options at Couchiching Court Buffet or go all in on St. Germain’s maple inspired three-course specialty menu. Finally, stop in at Rama Cannabis and learn about maple infused products from educated budmasters in their state-of-the-art building.
Rounding out the program is Maple Weekend, presented by the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association, which runs April 1st and 2nd . It may be a grand finale for Tap Into Maple, but Maple Weekend is a kick-off for the spring sales of maple products in our area.
Tap into Maple has something for everyone. Check out each location for details about hours of operation and booking ahead. Visit TapIntoMaple.com for more information on all of the participating producers, businesses and activities.