Monday, March 19, 2012

Celebrating Spring with the Maple Syrup Festival

This weekend we took the girls to a sugar bush for the first time.  Every spring the Kortright Centre for Conservation: has a Maple Syrup Festival.  Located in Vaughan (just past Vaughan Mills Mall!), it is just 30 minutes north of downtown Toronto and a great place to take the kids.

Even though the sun and lovely warm temperature didn't appear until about 4pm on Saturday, we still ahd a great time despite the cool, damp weather.  We got there around 10am and followed the trail which took us to demonstrations of how syrup was made hundreds of years ago and how it is made now.  The girls sampled fresh sap and syrup and got to walk around with sap buckets hanging off a yoke balancing on their shoulders like youngsters would have done in centuries past to help out on the farm (got me thinking of all the things I could get them to work doing around the house...).

We took a horse-drawn wagon ride and then bought the girls hot chocolate and pancakes with syrup for lunch. I turned a blind eye to the fact that they were eating a meal with the nutritional value of birthday cake.  The centre is clean, well organized and the staff were all extremely helpful and friendly.  My only real beef is the fact that the cafe really didn't have a single healthy option.  White flour pancakes, sausages, back bacon on a bun, hot and cold drinks, chips, cookies and muffins.  That's about it.

There is a store and a gift shop, both which offer you bottles of maple syrup to purchase for a decent (but not wonderful) price. 

I also wanted to mention a really touching piece that was in the Toronto Star Saturday edition this past weekend, by Catherine Porter:

It profiled the life of Shelagh Gordon, an "ordinary" woman, a person just like you and me, who died tragically at the age of 55 from a brain aneurysm.  She was not rich nor a celebrity.  She was not married and did not have any children, but Porter does an amazing job of demonstrating the power of love and kindness by describing how deeply this woman touched the lives of so many people during her short life.  I was deeply moved by it and I think the message this story sends it a really important one.  If you want to read it, follow this link:

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