Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Maple Madness

I always want to experience the culture of the country I am in, and that includes my own. There are a few quintessentially Canadian things you should do in Canada, like dog sledding or visiting a sugar shack.

For those of you who don’t know, a sugar shack is a cabin in the woods where we produce maple syrup. We collect sap in buckets that hang from trees and then we boil it down until it is syrupy. Maple syrup is paramount in Canadian culture and it is one of our oldest traditions starting with the natives and adopted by the Europeans.

You can find sugar shacks all over Ontario and Quebec and most of them operate in a similar fashion through the sap season in March.  My friend, Keitha and I visited our local one, at The Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area.

We arrived early in the morning, and jumped on the wagon, pulled by a tractor, which took us deep into the forest. We had to walk down a hill and then arrived at the shack. It is a small cabin in the woods with sap lines that lead to giant barrels. Once the barrels are full, they repeatedly boil the sap down until it is syrupy. Once it reaches a desirable level of thickness it is ready to be served.

There are tours and demonstrations around the shack that detail the process and history of the tradition. There are several places to engage in traditional maple syrup making methods and at the end, you get to enjoy pancakes and syrup at the shack.

When we finished our pancakes and had viewed the demonstrations we walked the trails that surround the park. We spent about two hours walking the trails and taking photos of the scenery. It’s a really great way to experience Canadian culture in addition to getting some exercise and being outdoors. The price for the full day is reasonable as well. It cost us under $20.00 for access to the park, the wagon ride, the tour, demonstrations, and pancakes.

More Information About Little Cataraqui Creek

MapleMadness: https://crca.ca/events/maple-madness/ 

Conservation Area: https://crca.ca/conservation-lands/little-cataraqui-creek-conservation-area/