Canada’s capital region loves to celebrate the sweet, natural treat that is maple syrup in all its edible forms—and it’s even used in local spa products! Although the liquid gold is served in restaurants and available for purchase year round, the annual maple season (roughly February through April, weather depending) is the best time to visit sugar shacks within the city of Ottawa and in the nearby countryside.
Some of the usual experiences, such as gourmet meals, horse-drawn sleigh rides and tours, may not be available in 2021 season due to COVID-19. But the sap will flow! Here are a few delicious highlights for the 2021 maple season in the Ottawa area this late winter and spring.
Note: Due to COVID-19, some of the offerings mentioned below may change. Please contact each business directly to confirm details and consult our page Visiting Ottawa safely during COVID-19.
- 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!
Located in the heart of a maple forest just 10 minutes east of Parliament Hill, the Vanier Museopark is the only francophone museum in the Canada’s capital region and home to the world’s only fully functional urban sugar shack (both closed until further notice)! The Museopark’s annual Sugar Festival is hosting online programming in March and April 2021. You can watch videos of the maple production process, enjoy workshops on cooking, dancing and creative activities, and vote for your favourite local soup by purchasing a special take-home tasting kit.
Less than an hour’s drive from downtown Ottawa in Montebello, Quebec, you can visit a large wildlife park that focuses on Canadian animals and First Nations’ history. All year long (and even during COVID-19) 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 and during Quebec March Break (Feb. 27-Mar. 7, 2021). Maple taffy and other products are available for purchase, however meals and other additional programming are not available.
Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush
Located in Pakenham, Ont., just under an hour’s drive west of downtown Ottawa, the family-run Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush sits on a 400-acre rural property. Fulton’s 2021 maple season offers for takeout food, as well as their maple culinary and spa products (available at the farm store or online). You can also walk, snowshoe or ski the 8 kilometres of trails (access fees may apply). During this maple season, Fulton’s is open Thursday through Saturday, plus other select days.
Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm
Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm, located about 30 minutes east of downtown Ottawa in Edwards, Ont., has adapted some of their offerings for health and safety. Stanley’s maple season (weekends only) includes access to the sugar shack, maple taffy, the animal barn, and a new Walkabout menu that can be enjoyed while you explore. Also new this year: you can access 2 kilometres of trails on their property any day of the week.
Proulx Maple & Berry Farm
Located just east of Ottawa in Cumberland, Ont., Proulx Maple & Berry Farm is hosting a Weekend Maple Festival. Reserve your two-hour time slot in advance for a physically-distanced experience. Admission includes a treat, a beverage, as well as access to the sugar shack, petting farm and country trails. Fire pit access available for an extra fee.
The Log Farm, a pioneer-style working farm located in the Nepean area just west of downtown, won’t be hosting sugar bush programming this season. However, you’ll be able to buy their products at their farm store once it opens (verify hours).
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.
Flapjack’s Canadian Diner
It’s always maple season at Flapjack’s, a Canadian-themed restaurant located just west of downtown Ottawa in the Little Italy neighbourhood. This diner is the perfect place to indulge in all your favourite lumberjack-inspired flavours like specialty buttermilk pancakes, battered maple bacon, poutine, panwiches (sandwiches made with pancakes!) and milkshakes.
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!
Looking for more Canadian-related fun? Take a look at our suggestions on how to get A Taste of Canadiana in Ottawa.