Canadian maple syrup is enjoyed around the world. We produce more of the sweet sap than any other countries combined, with the majority of the syrup produced in the maple-rich region between Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick.
The tree sap starts to run just before the trees begin to bud around the end of February. Tapping maple trees and collecting the sap to boil it down into rich, sweet syrup from sugar maple trees is a sure sign that winter will soon give way to spring.
Every year, towns and sugar shacks across Canada’s maple forests host festivals to celebrate this tasty liquid gold and compete for the title of best maple syrup in Canada. While every festival has a little special something of its own, we’ve selected three of our favourites.
Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, Ontario
Quebec may be the undisputed champion of maple syrup production, but Ontario’s industry is nothing to sneeze at!
The Elmira Maple Syrup Festival in Elmira, Ontario, is a one-day event that has been running annually since 1965. Visitors from all over the world travel to this quaint town every spring. In addition to hosting this popular, long-running maple syrup festival, Elmira also holds the world record for the World’s Largest Single-Day Maple Syrup Festival.
The town is a hidden gem, no matter what time of year you visit. It’s a great place to see the autumn leaves (we’ve got a whole list), hike the Elora Gorge, or take a trip to the local Mennonite farmers’ market.
What to do at the Festival
Start your day off right with fluffy flapjacks drenched in pure, freshly tapped maple syrup. They’re popular that the festival’s mascot, Flap Jack, is based on this tasty breakfast. Visitors can load up on pancakes and sausages, but only while supplies last, so consider showing up early with the locals!
The festival’s outdoor mall is a half-mile long strip filled with baked goods and homemade crafts from local farmers and artisans. Don’t forget to stop by the local churches if their doors are open — they might be serving hot meals during the day for when you need a nibble beyond the sweet, pure maple syrup in the sugar shack.
Live music plays throughout the festival, and fun contests like pancake flipping competitions crown the top flapjack handler of the year. There are kids play areas, workshops, shows by the local Mennonites, and more!
Local Tip: Make time for the Toy Show & Sale, where they release a new exclusive collectible each year.
Festival Beauceron, Quebec
Festival Beauceron de l’érable, just south of Quebec City, delights charming Saint-Georges over two days every April. Families from across Quebec, the rest of Canada, and beyond gather to celebrate Quebec’s rich maple syrup producing heritage.
Take a trip in April and fall in love with some of the most charming maple syrup farms in Quebec! Don’t forget to take a photo with Erabelle, the green maple leaf mascot of the maple syrup festival.
What to do at the Festival
Like any maple syrup festival worth its salt, the festival starts each day with a pancake breakfast. Fill up on fluffy, sweet flapjacks and the best maple syrup you can find.
They don’t just tap the sap for making syrup, either. Pick up some locally produced maple products like maple sugar, maple candy, maple fudge, or see a taffy-maker pour hot maple syrup on snow for delicious, sticky tire sur la neige.
The festival also features family-friendly activities like a super slide and an outdoor show. Even the local fire department is also part of the festivities — making this festival a delight for young children!
In addition to the daytime fun there’s an annual President’s Supper and auction catered by local farms. Tables are limited and reservations are required, so we recommend contacting the organizers early if you want to participate.
The Maple Capital of Atlantic Canada Festival, New Brunswick
Held annually in Saint-Quentin, New Brunswick, the Maple Capital of Atlantic Canada Festival is the best maple syrup festival east of Festival Beauceron. Nestled in New Brunswick’s Appalachian Mountains, Saint-Quentin’s community is supported by their traditional maple production.
Saint-Quentin’s sugar maple trees produce a unique sap with a nuanced sweetness you need to taste for yourself. Gather with other liquid gold lovers to taste, dance, make music, and enjoy maple syrup farm tours.
What to do at the Festival
The Maple Capital festival is typically held over four days, with plenty of fun packed into each.
There’s live music throughout the festival and visitors can take guided tours to learn how real maple syrup is made. Enjoy tastings and samples of the unique Saint-Quentin maple syrup right from the source!
In addition to locally produced maple syrup and maple treats, you can also explore and shop the work of local artisans, including wooden sculptures and handmade textiles.
The main star of the show, however, is the food. Restaurants and chefs open their doors throughout the maple syrup festival to serve meals made with local ingredients. From pancake brunches to maple-glazed pork dinners, everyone has a specialty, so make reservations ahead of time and taste them all!
Maple syrup is the sweet, sticky glue that holds Canadians together. Why not make a trip of it and stay at a chalet rental in Quebec, or try a cabin in New Brunswick? Find these and thousands of other vacation rentals by owners on CanadaStays!
P.S. Did you know that National Maple Syrup Day is on December 17?
What’s your favorite maple syrup festival for 2019? Share with us on social media with a tag @canadastays!