Opinion Column

Elmvale festival ideal to celebrate sweet taste of spring

By Brittany Doner



This time every year, Canadians tap into their inner maple-maniac as sugar bush tours, festivals, and fairs honour and celebrate our heritage and the sweet syrup derived from the maple tree.

So beloved is maple in Canada, that even the June 2011 release of our country’s new polymer banknotes resulted in nation-wide rumors that the new $100 bills were maple-scented.

Although Canada’s love affair with maple began long before the arrival of the first European settlers, when Canada’s aboriginal peoples had discovered the food and medicinal properties of maple sap, the iconic red maple leaf featured on the National Flag of Canada wasn’t inaugurated until February 1965; however, historians note the maple leaf began to serve as a symbol for Canada as early as the 1700s.

More recently, the evolution of gastronomy has seen chefs and foodies everywhere incorporating maple into everything, from whiskey to pork roast.

“One of the six principles in the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter aims to inspire a close-knit community through a celebration of food and culture,” said County of Simcoe Warden Cal Patterson, Chair of the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter Steering Committee.

“Locally produced maple syrup, and the many activities and celebrations to promote it, are all excellent examples of the role our local food system plays in strengthening our community, our economy, and our environment.”

The upcoming annual Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival on Saturday April 20 has become one of the largest one-day maple syrup festivals around; featuring award-winning maple syrup, more than 150 vendors, an arts and crafts bazaar, midway rides, log-sawing contests, live music, sugar bush tours, and of course—pancakes sopping with maple syrup.

More than just a fun way to spend a Saturday, the Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival is a fundraising event that contributes proceeds to projects supporting the physical, intellectual, cultural, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of the community.

For more information on the Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival, visit elmvalemaplesyrup.ca.

To learn more about the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter and its Charter Champion Awards, visit fpa.simcoe.ca.

Brittany Doner is project manager, Simcoe County Food & Agriculture Charter, and Simcoe County Long Term Affordable Housing Strategy.

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