Tap into Maple - A Canadian Treasure and Taste

Maple syrup – a natural gift in Ontario’s Lake Country.

Come and visit Ontario’s Lake Country, Orillia & area and Springwater Township for all things Maple this spring!

Story by: Kim Goggins

When Tom Shaw is asked how he likes to eat maple syrup, there is not a moment’s hesitation when he answers.

“On top of vanilla ice cream and bananas,” he says and then admits, “I probably eat a lot more syrup just sampling it throughout the season.”

With his family’s name being synonymous with maple syrup for the last 112 years, Tom has had his share of syrup samplings every spring, when the sap flows in Ontario’s Lake Country.

Located on Oro Line 14, close to Carthew Bay, Shaw’s Pancake House is open from mid-February to Mid-April and during that time, self-guided and on-demand tours of their sugar bush and maple syrup production are offered.

Thousands of people delight in Shaw’s famous maple syrup and products every year. While Shaw’s 6,000 taps produce about 160,000 litres of sap to create approximately 4,000 litres of maple syrup, there are smaller operations in Oro-Medonte, Severn and Ramara that also boast the tasty syrup.

Trevor Hewitt of Hewitt’s Farm Market & Bakery on Townline Road in Warminster estimates that after 17 years, his two sugar bushes produce an average of 400 litres of syrup each year. Although when the weather cooperates with minus three-to-five degrees overnight and plus three-to-five degrees during the day for several days, his bounty almost doubles.

Hewitt’s produces about 25 different maple syrup products, from barbecue sauces to maple butter.

Bert and Lori Harrington of The FarmGate on Ramara Road 47 between Brechin and Lagoon City, started producing maple syrup for themselves about six years ago with just 12 trees. Last season, they had 120 taps, which produced 132 litres of syrup.

“Some of our product ended up going to Finland, Australia and California,” says Bert. “We thought it was kind of neat that a Ramara Township product is in different countries.”

The large barn-shaped, post-and-beam style building with the evaporator out front garners a lot of attention from passersby. The Harringtons encourage the curious to stop by to see their maple syrup production during the season.

Lori’s maple soaps, shaped like maple leaves, have been a big hit and are offered at various museum gift shops in Orillia as well as at The FarmGate, along with bottles of maple syrup.

Ontario’s Lake Country is home to both large and small maple syrup producers and some of the best syrup in the world. These producers are highlighted on the Tap into Maple route through the area in March, April and May. Visit www.TapintoMaple.com to plan your trip.