Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival — a sweet tradition

Welcome to the 2020 Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival (April 4 and 5). Now in its 25th year, this well-loved event attracts visitors from Toronto, Durham Region and the rest of the Greater Toronto Area – and even beyond! This is a great opportunity to discover the many things that make Sunderland special while celebrating the time-honoured Canadian tradition of making maple syrup.

Our maple syrup farmers are proud to carry on producing the “liquid gold” that has been enjoyed since the 17th and 18th centuries. Back then, sap from maple trees was boiled down in iron and copper kettles. What a difference a century or two makes! Nowadays, modern processing makes the job much more efficient. You can find out just how much processing has changed by taking a tour of Harlaine Maple Products. Hop on a bus and travel to their sugar shack, where you will see a native and pioneer display, as well as the current production methods Paul and Betty Anne Harder use for their sweet creations.

Oh, and those buses will also take visitors to Salem Alpacas farm and a local dairy farm. Bus tickets will be available at Sunderland Public School, where you can take in the annual Arts & Crafts show and sale that regular festival goers look forward to. The school is also a stop for the horse-and-wagon rides that are always such a hit with families. From the school, you can ride to the arena, where pony rides at the park will offer equine fun for the little ones. Right next to the Arena, the Sunderland Historical Museum will be open. Plus, both days, there will be a fine art show and vendors in the Masonic Hall and downstairs in the Town Hall. And this year on Saturday and Sunday, the Festival will feature TWO ZOOS: Zoo-to-You indoors at the Arena, and an Outdoor Petting Zoo on River Street.

Through out the weekend, First Nation Culture Tour will feature a tipi, powwow performances, story telling, drum lessons and a craft table.

On Saturday, you can attend a Stoker Biomass Heating demonstration at Northern Metalworks, just up the road from the school. Did you know that the new furnaces allow the use of grains, corn, pellets and other wood products for heating? Find out how. Also on Saturday, the festival offers bathtub races and a pizza-eating contest! If you get tired on Saturday, Grace Baptist Church and St. Andrew’s United Church will be open for a meet-and-greet so you can rest your feet, have a coffee and a chat before you continue your Festival adventure.

On Sunday, the 4-H Ontario’s lawn tractor pull demonstration will take place. If you have never seen one of these tractor pulls, you’re in for a real treat! On both Saturday and Sunday, the Legion will be the site of pancake breakfasts from morning to early afternoon. Shoppers, take note! On both days, River Street will also be lined with vendors selling everything from syrup to toys, hand-crafted items, clothing and other great finds. Plus, Sunderland’s local shops are taking part in sponsoring many of the events.

So, what are you waiting for? Mark your calendar to bring the kids, the grandparents, and even the dog! The people of Sunderland are excited to greet you and create sweet new memories.

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