For the Love of Maple!


Photos and Story submitted by Linsey De Ruysscher 

If there was only one word I could use to describe Spring in Hastings County, it would be…MAPLE! In late Winter and early Spring, there are maple-fests, pancake breakfasts, and sugar bush events happening in the area almost every weekend! It’s a great opportunity to get out there and have some family fun while enjoying some delicious pancakes covered in sweet, local maple syrup. If you’re a maple syrup lover, (and come on, who isn’t?!) it’s likely one of your favourite times of year!

 Bottles of Maple Syrup on a tablePackaged Maple Syrup treats


For our maple syrup fix, we decided to take the kids to Madoc and check out the 1850’s Sugar Bush at O’Hara Mill Homestead. All I had to do was say the word “pancakes” to the boys and they practically ran out the door. So naturally, the first thing we did when we arrived at the Mill…was head straight towards the glorious smell of pancakes and sausages! The boys decided that the “youth pancake breakfast” option simply wasn’t enough pancakes for them, so they requested we order them the adult size. It turns out, they weren’t wrong! They both devoured those pancakes and sausages covered in delicious maple syrup and promptly asked for more!

 Enjoying a pancake breakfast


While we were enjoying our pancakes, we noticed some families enjoying some maple taffy around the cozy campfire next to us. So, after we had our fill of pancakes and sausage, we went over and tried some maple taffy. Let me tell you, it doesn’t get more Canadian than putting maple syrup on a stick and rolling it in the snow to make a delicious treat! Our youngest had two! I think he was a fan!

 Making some maple taffy


After we enjoyed our taffy, we grabbed a hot chocolate and took a nice walk through the woods where they had a few different maple demonstrations going on. Various trees were tapped with buckets attached to collect the sap. We stopped at a little cabin and checked out the maple syrup finishing pan in action. This is just one of the many steps involved in the maple syrup making process.

 Tapped tree with a bucket collecting sap

Maple Syrup finishing pan



O’Hara Mill Homestead knows how to throw a great maple event the whole family will love! In addition to the yummy breakfast we enjoyed, there was also horse-drawn wagon rides, wood cutting demonstrations, and colouring activities for the little ones in one of the buildings. I also loved the campfires they had set up throughout the village. It was a pretty chilly March day, so it was nice to have a place to warm up before heading off to the next activity.

 Warming up at a camp fire

Maple season is still in full swing in Hastings County, so if you haven’t had the chance to get out there and enjoy some maple fun just yet, not to worry! There are still plenty of events your family will love! Check out the Hastings County Facebook page for details on everything maple in the area!

We continue to have a blast wandering our way through Hastings County, and I hope we have inspired your family to do a little wandering of your own! Keep your eye on the Hastings County blog to find out where we’ll be wandering to next!

Story and photographs by Linsey De Ruysscher

Linsey De Ruysscher bio pic

As one of our six Local Wanderers exploring Hastings County, Linsey enjoys making memories with her family hiking on new trails and discovering new hidden attractions along the way. If there is a river to be paddled, they'll be there!

Learn more about Linsey through her bio, as well as for a link to the other adventures she has shared with us. You can also read about our other five Local Wanderers and the excursions they've experienced across the County.



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