When the European Settlers arrived in Canada they learned about the native people’s way of making sugar from the sap that pours out of a maple tree every spring. They emulated this but brought with them metal so they were able to innovate on their methods to bring down the time required for the process.
On the last day of March Break this year, we stopped at Bronte Creek to check out their Maple Syrup Festival. It was the middle of March and the sap was still running from the trees. The first thing we did was join the Interpretive Walk that shows us the Maple Syrup making innovations.
The first step in the tour showed us how they tapped into the tree and put a bucket in to catch the maple syrup running out of the tree. Then there was a station that had the native people’s method on display. They had a campfire where they warmed up rocks. There was a log that was hollowed out that had the sap in it. Using two stick carefully they dumped the rock from the campfire to the log to heat the sap. It took 48 hours to turn the sap into maple syrup using this method.
The walk taught us that with each innovation, the time to make maple syrup was halved, with the ultimate time being 6 hrs to get it from sap to syrup. There was no syrup or sap to taste on the tour, unlike at the Kortright Conservation Area, where we went a few years ago.
After the walk, we bought Maple Syrup Fudge in the shape of a maple leaf. They were selling them for 50 cents a piece. They were also selling Maple Syrup taffy for $2 a piece on a stick and there was a long lineup for that.
Next we sawed a wood slice that was burned with the Bronte Creek logo on it, went to look at the cows sitting outside the barn, played on a tractor and on some hay bales with other kids, and managed to avoid the gift shop by hopping a fence.
We didn’t avoid the $5 horse back rides that took two short loops around, followed by a picture. The tour was finished off by two trucks: one selling donuts and the other popcorn.
Finally we took a wagon pulled by a tractor ride to the swimming pool area where they were selling one pancake for $3 with a generous amount of maple syrup. We bought two of these just before closing time, and took the tractor back to our car.