The Sweetest Time of the Year
The sap’s running, Sweet Muskoka Times! For as long as I can remember, I wanted to call Muskoka home. To experience the call of the great white north as Bob and Doug McKenzie would say. My family has a cottage on Seabreeze Road, Lake of Bays. I am the 5th generation to enjoy life on Lake of Bays. Like all of us that have relocated full time to this area, I spent weekends at the cottage when I was growing up and dreamed that somehow I’d make the move and live here full time. Well, dreams come true. I joined Jay Richardson and her team of waterfront realtors in Lake of Bays; we stuck a “for sale” sign on our Markham property; loaded up the van and headed north to Muskoka! As all newcomers to Muskoka know, everyone tries to pack absolutely all you can do Muskoka experiences into year one. What’s more Canadian and more Muskoka than Maple Syrup? Yep, you got it – we had to tap our own Maple Trees. We googled and you-tubed “how to tap trees for maple syrup”. We headed off to our local Ace’s Hardware store in Dwight, for more local know-how and syrup making equipment and supplies.
We made the short drive home to Cooper Lake from Ace’s in Dwight – the Jeep loaded with spigots and buckets and drills. Excitedly we tapped spigots into 10 sugar maples on their sunny side. The sap run began almost instantly. Thin and water like we soon realized that that the sap is 97% water and runs like a river. We needed to get it boiling. Our firepit was a perfect location to get the boiling process started to reduce the liquid down to syrup. We couldn’t keep up with the boiling process. The watery sap was flowing so fast. We had pots stashed in snowbanks all over the property. We enlisted help from our kids, our brother in law and his kids …we could have used the army – sap was everywhere.
We boiled and boiled and once we had the sap boiled down to maple syrup we needed to put it into the next set of pots to heat it again to make sure it was boiled down and completely finished. There you have it …. now I’m a true Muskoka sugarmaker! I have a pantry with a supply of homemade Muskoka maple syrup and sweet family memories of my first experience of sugaring down. We are collecting sap and making syrup again this year to restock my pantry and share a special sweet gift with friends and family.
Muskoka is home to many wonderful sugar shack operations
Throughout March and April, Muskoka weekends are filled with pancake breakfasts at country farms and sugar shacks throughout the region. The smell of wood campfires burning with giant pots of golden maple syrup… warm and sweet syrup to pour over fresh pancakes, sausages and maple bacon. Children enjoying maple taffy spread out on the snow to cool and neighbours catching up after the winter.
As Canadian as Maple Syrup
The saying “as Canadian as Maple syrup” shows how much this thick sweet delight is associated with our Canadian identity. Come home to Muskoka and nature’s sweetest treat – Maple Syrup.
The Muskoka Maple Trail
March 9 – April 20, 2018
The Muskoka Maple Trail is likely the most Canadian adventure ever of all time, featuring Canada’s and Muskoka’s most beloved natural product…… Maple Syrup!
The Trail is a collection of 30+ of Muskoka’s top maple experiences, from sugar bush tours and pancake breakfasts, to maple beer and maple butter tarts. Now with the official Muskoka Maple Trail roadmap, you can build your own maple adventure and turn a regular Spring day into an exceptionally sweet Spring day!
Let us help you Come Home to Muskoka and wonderful Maple Syrup sweet memories.