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 2023 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 March 5 to April 10, as well as the full week of the Ontario March Break (March 15-17) and Easter weekend.
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 March 4 to April 16. Admission includes access to the heritage sugar shack, tractor rides, animal barn, walking trails, family activity centre and more. The Pancake House is back! Stop by for a traditional pancake breakfast and some sugarbush items.
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 4 to April 10, plus select days 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. Open daily during Fulton’s Maple Season (February 18 to April 16), plus during the Ontario March Break, the farm offers sleighrides, 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 Parc Omega, 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 on February 12, 13, 18 and 19 and is open everyday starting February 25. Maple taffy and other products are available for purchase.
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!
After a fire in 2020, the facilities were rebuilt and will reopen during the Vanier Sugar Festival from March 27-April 2, 2023.
Located in the heart of the Ottawa Valley, an hour and a half from downtown Ottawa, you’ll find Mapleside Sugarbush! This family-owned business uses both traditional techniques and new technology to create their high-quality maple products. Visit this sugarbush and walk through nature, learning how maple syrup is harvested and processed every spring. The Mapleside Sugarbush is participating in Maple Weekend—a weekend where many maple producers around the province offer free samples of fresh syrup, sleigh rides, a pancake breakfast, and more.
Perth Festival of the Maples
Be sure to check out the Festival of the Maples, a maple festival taking place on Saturday, April 29 in Perth, an hour from downtown Ottawa. There will be food, retail and service vendors, maple producers and even live entertainment!
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 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.