100 Taps and Counting! Westfield’s Maple Syrup Season Coming Up Soon!
Nothing says spring like a day on the sugar trail at Westfield Heritage Village! The annual Maple Syrup Festival begins at Westfield on Sunday, March 1 and runs every Sunday throughout March as well as on the Wednesday and Thursday of March Break. At Westfield you can see both traditional and modern methods for making maple syrup and even taste some of the syrup that’s made right in the sugar shack!
With this winter’s fluctuating temperatures, some people are asking what might be in store for maple syrup season. Peter Lloyd, who will be putting in his 25th maple syrup season at Westfield, has seen it all, “Not to worry! Mother Nature will take care of it,” he laughs. “Some years, it runs a little earlier, some, a little later. Either way, those trees will have sap running through them, and where there’s sap, there’s going to be syrup!”
Assisted by a dedicated crew of volunteers, Peter, along with Jack Elderman, Westfield’s Conservation Area Technician, will be working hard to get over a hundred taps in place of the next couple of weeks. Then, it’s a matter of collecting all that sap. “We look for days when the temperature rises above freezing in the daytime and then drops back below zero at night. Once that starts, we’ll be hauling buckets all day.”
When you come out to Westfield for the maple syrup festival, there is so much to discover. You can learn about how maple syrup was made in copper kettles in the early 1800s, how the Victorians scaled things up with larger iron kettles and how the modern evaporator is used today. Along the way, you can peek into sap buckets and chat with Westfield’s friendly volunteers. You might even get to help empty some buckets! At the sugar shack, you will see Westfield’s sap being transformed into delicious syrup and get a taste. Yum!
When you are planning your visit to Westfield, be sure to give yourself at least a couple of hours, as there is a lot to see and do. Many of the Village’s historic buildings will be open and you can go inside and meet authentically costumed interpreters and learn about life in early Ontario. The smell of a woodstove, the crackle of an open fire, the clang of the blacksmiths, the clatter of the slates in a one-room school – all of this is yours to discover!
Special features during the maple syrup festival include a photo studio where you can dress in a traditional Upper Canadian blanket coat and take your photo in a snowy scene; pop-up maple games on the village green; tractor rides and lots of opportunities to take some great pictures. If all of this maple activity has given you an appetite, you will want to stop by the Ironwood, where a very delicious, very affordable, all-day pancake breakfast will be served with a smile by the volunteers of the St. George Lions. Tasty, sweet treats can also be purchased at the General Store. If you are looking for something special to take home, the Gift Shop is stocking up with a wide selection of specialty maple products, including locally produced maple syrup, fudge, teas and candies.
The Maple Syrup Festival at Westfield is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and to learn about both maple syrup and Ontario’s history. Bring a friend or the whole family! Tours and demonstrations run throughout the day.
The Maple Syrup Festival at Westfield runs Sundays March 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29, as well as March Break days Wednesday, March 18 and Thursday, March 19. The program runs from 10AM to 4PM.
Admission is $12.00 for adults, $10.00 for seniors (65+) and $6.50 for youths ages 6-17. Children 5 and under are admitted free. A Family Rate of $35.00 (two adults and two youth) is available. HCA Membership Pass holders receive free admission for two adults and up to four youths. Parking is free.
Westfield Heritage Village is located at 1049 Kirkwall Road in Rockton, Ontario, just off Hwy 8, between Hamilton and Cambridge.
About Westfield Heritage Village
Westfield Heritage Village is a living history museum located in Rockton, Ontario. The village’s more than 35 historic buildings, nestled within a picturesque rural setting, are staffed by authentically costumed interpreters who take visitors back to earlier times and places in Ontario’s history. Westfield offers a variety of programs and events throughout the year. For more information visit, westfieldheritage.ca and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.