2.5 C
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

Extending the sweetness beyond just festival day


News Briefs

Woolwich nixes traffic islands Displeased with the troublesome pedestrian islands installed during the Region of Waterloo’s reconstruction of Church Street...

20-year-old agreement causes a stir

An Elmira environmentalist’s “smoking gun” appears to be shooting blanks. Al Marshall, a long-time critic of cleanup efforts at...

Need for dementia research will only keep growing

Along with financial insecurity due to inadequate pensions, Canadians have health issues to worry about as society ages...

Forks up to farmers on well-timed Agriculture Day

February is not the most obvious time to celebrate agriculture in Canada. But that’s...


few clouds
2.5 ° C
5 °
0.6 °
74 %
20 %
3 °
5 °
7 °
-4 °
-7 °

This year, the ‘Maple Sugar Rush’ is not just something you get by putting too much syrup on pancakes. Instead it’s a regional initiative to show locals and tourists anything and everything maple, culminating in the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival (EMSF) on April 5.

Edgar Gingrich has been producing syrup in Elmira since 1987. Gearing up for the EMSF, he’s offering the sweet stuff to St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market visitors in the meantime. [Elena Maystruk / The Observer]
Edgar Gingrich has been producing syrup in Elmira since 1987. Gearing up for the EMSF, he’s offering the sweet stuff to St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market visitors in the meantime. [Elena Maystruk / The Observer]
“Well, we didn’t know it was going to be a deep freeze; we kind of hoped the sap would be running,” said Minto Schneider, general manager at the Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corporation. “But, despite the weather we still thought people would be interested in coming out and seeing how maple syrup was made.”

If you love the early-spring outdoors, chances are you’re already familiar with the season’s offering of golden syrup, local haunts and sugar bush tours. But some of us need a bit of prompting to get out on the tourist rounds and see what the maple syrup season has to offer.

“I hope our locals are going out to enjoy what’s going on in our own region, but sometimes you find that people find out by accident that something is going on because they have people visiting that drag them out to go and see something local,” Schneider said.

St. Jacobs features prominently in the campaign to attract newcomers and returning locals, said Marilyn Wideman of St. Jacobs Country, also a part of the initiative.

The offerings of the local maple season are just a few of the region’s secrets, at least from an outsider’s perspective, Schneider said.

“That’s an issue that we have all of the time because there are so many people that live in Toronto and really have no idea what we have to offer here, so it’s something we struggle with all of the time.”

In preparation for the world’s largest one-day syrup festival, visitors are invited to stretch their stay past a day to enjoy the nooks and crannies of the St. Jacobs maple season. There are sugar bush tours, maple beer from a new microbrewery, and hearty breakfasts complete with local syrup to be had.

“Many people even locally don’t realize that [St. Jacobs] has the Maple Syrup Museum of Ontario located in the mill. That’s another place that people go to learn about the production and manufacture of syrup locally from times of indigenous people right through to modern day,” Wideman said.

As the festival hype begins, St. Jacobs and the Region of Waterloo at large are given a chance to pinpoint all things to do with maple syrup, said Wideman.

“We have the Farm Pantry which specializes in selling locally produced maple syrup and they always have samples there. So, for visitors coming out of the area who don’t know about maple syrup, they can taste light, medium and dark [syrup] and learn about the differences.

“What we are talking about is, what is unique for our area at this time of year is the maple syrup season; sugar bush tours, the opportunity to learn about how it is produced, to taste it, to buy it and then top this whole thing off with this phenomenal syrup festival in Elmira.”

The village’s geography, surrounded by syrup producers and sugar bushes, makes the it a hotspot this time of year and the pull of the EMSF, only a few kilometres away.

“We really need to grab people’s attention when they are attracted by a big event to say: ‘Hey, we’re more than just that. There are all sorts of things you can do when you are here,’” Schneider said.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


Under the auctioneer’s gavel to provide help Down Under

After seeing the devastation from the Australian wildfires, a local art collector sold the first painting she ever bought on Saturday to help raise money for relief efforts there. Nancy...

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

U.S. edges out Canada in national para hockey battle

In the natural on-ice rivalry between Canada and the U.S., the American para hockey team has had the advantage in recent years. That...

Jacks take 3-2 series lead into deciding weekend vs. New Hamburg

The Wellesley Applejacks are up 3-2 in their best-of-seven series against the New Hamburg Firebirds, having claimed two of this week’s three games in...

EDSS performers take Broadway under the sea

By Steve Kannon skannon@woolwichobserver.com The tropics, under the sea or otherwise, seem like a much better place...
- Advertisement -