Canada’s capital region celebrates delicious maple syrup all year long, especially when sugar shacks are open for maple season (roughly February through April, weather depending). During this traditional spring outing, you can learn about the fascinating syrup-making process, indulge in maple-themed treats such as maple taffy and pancakes, and enjoy outdoor fun including hayrides and walking trails. Here are a few highlights of the 2022 maple season, as well as year-round maple options that you can experience within urban Ottawa and in the nearby countryside.
- Maple sap starts flowing through the trees when outdoor temperatures reach about +5° Celsius (41° Fahrenheit) during the day, and -5° Celsius (23° Fahrenheit) during the night.
- To produce one litre (34 ounces) of maple syrup, 40 litres (10.5 gallons) of sap must be boiled down.
- Boiling maple syrup results in the sweeter and thicker maple taffy which, when cooled on snow or ice, becomes candy-like. Use this recipe to make your own maple taffy at home!
Proulx Maple & Berry Farm
Proulx Maple & Berry Farm, located just east of Ottawa in the community of Cumberland, offers a traditional sugar bush experience. Admission includes a guided tour, access to the small animal petting farm, a hayride through the forest, and play parks for the kids. Additional options during select periods include virtual tours, food kits, access to the Pancake House and weekend brunch (indoor/outdoor dining is available as well as takeout).
Proulx’s Maple Festival runs on weekends from February 27 to April 18, as well as the full week of the Ontario March Break (March 14-18) and Easter weekend. Capacity is limited by time slot; reservations recommended.
Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm
Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm, located about 30 minutes east of downtown Ottawa in Edwards, Ontario, is hosting their maple season on weekends from February 26 to April 17. Admission includes access to the heritage sugar shack, tractor rides, animal barn, walking trails, family activity centre and more.
Although the Pancake House is closed this year, you can still enjoy maple taffy on snow and get treats such as deep fried pancakes, grilled cheese and baked beans at Stanley’s Food Truck and Snack Shack.
Step back in time at the Log Farm, a pioneer-style working farm located in the Nepean area just west of downtown Ottawa. Meet the farm animals, enjoy taffy on snow, take a wagon ride, collect maple sap, and see how syrup is made. There are also play areas for kids, self-guided tours of the farmhouse and a farm shop.
The Log Farm hosts its sugar bush season on weekends from March 5 to April 3, plus during the Ontario March Break. Capacity is limited by time slot; reservations recommended.
Fulton’s Sugar Bush and Maple Shop
Located in Pakenham, Ontario, just under an hour’s drive west of downtown Ottawa, the family-run Fulton’s Sugar Bush and Maple Shop sits on a 400-acre rural property. On weekends during Fulton’s Maple Season (February 19 to April 18), plus during the Ontario March Break, the farm offers tours, sleighrides, snow picnics, taffy and more. Admission fees apply to certain activities.
In addition, you can explore the outdoor trails (pass required) and browse the maple shop (in person and online) any day during maple season. Stock up on maple goodies such as Fulton’s unique maple culinary and spa products, as well as items from other local businesses.
Less than an hour’s drive from downtown Ottawa in Montebello, Québec is a large wildlife park that focuses on Canadian animals and First Nations’ history. All year long at Omega Park, you can take a Canadian safari through the natural habitat of animals like deer, elk, bison, caribou and wolves. There are also various trails and seasonal activities.
This year, the on-site sugar shack is open on weekends from February 28 to March 20, and during Quebec March Break (Feb. 28-Mar. 4). Maple taffy and other products are available for purchase. Plus, on Saturday, March 5, the park is hosting a special evening maple event with food, illuminated fun, live music and fireworks!
Vanier Museopark (virtual only)
Located in the heart of a maple forest just 10 minutes east of Parliament Hill, the Vanier Museopark is the only francophone museum in Canada’s capital and home to the world’s only fully functional urban sugar shack!
The facilities are closed until further notice and the maple trees are getting a well-deserved break. However, the Museopark is hosting a virtual edition of their annual Sugar Festival from April 1 to 9. Tune in from anywhere to enjoy maple programming!
Maple sap or syrup is often used in beverage production, including by several of Ottawa’s dozens of craft breweries. Among local maple-infused brews, you’ll find Calabogie Brewing Company’s Sugar Shack Maple Rye ale (plus, they’re hosting a Maple Fest on March 4), Mill Street Brew Pub’s Valley Irish Red, Orléans Brewing’s Maple Cabin Ale and Perth Brewery’s O’Canada Maple Ale.
Several maple farms and vendors from around the region have stalls at markets throughout the city. So you can get your maple fix—including syrup, candy, fudge and much more—at the year-round daily Ottawa Markets (ByWard and Parkdale Market) and the weekly Ottawa Farmers’ Market on Sundays at Lansdowne.
Maple treatments at Holtz Spa
Did you know that maple syrup is rich in healing properties like antioxidants and minerals? This is why Fulton’s started their Maple Luscious Bath & Body Products line. Holtz Spa, located in downtown Ottawa, offers treatments that use these products. Choose from a maple manicure, pedicure, massage or maple sugar body scrub and wrap. You’ll love the feel and smell of these unique spa products!