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PHOTOS: Homestead Celebrates Canadian Culture With Maple Syrup Fest

Sunday March 6th, 2016, 2:54pm

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From maple cotton candy to the renowned maple syrup on a stick, Sunday afternoon was about all things sticky at John R. Park Homestead.

Within 10 minutes, curator at the Homestead Kris Ives said they had 100 people show up. Within just two hours, they had 700 people walk through their grounds to enjoy the all-Canadian tradition of maple syrup and learn about their heritage.

“We’re really excited, the Maple Syrup festival has been going on at the homestead since about the late 1970’s. We’re a living history museum,” said Ives. “Maple syrup is very Canadian, it’s a part of our Canadian cultural identity. The First Nations people were the first people to learn about the sweet sap inside of the trees and then to teach early settlers like Mr. and Mrs. Park how to process it into those finished maple products, syrup and butter and sugar. It’s the leaf on our flag of course.”

Ives said 85 per cent of the world’s maple syrup is made in Canada, with the remaining 15 per cent made in the United States.

As attendees walked the grounds of the Homestead, they were able to learn about the process of making maple syrup, run a popsicle stick through some snow to make a maple syrup treat, and even learn about the science of maple trees and the biology behind the production of the sap. The events were run by approximately 30 volunteers. The Homestead currently has about 90 active volunteers, some of which were required for additional help to prepare for the event.

The event served as a kick-off to the maple season, and Ives said if families couldn’t make it out today they can continue to participate in their Maple March Break event or register for their Maple Moon event. Groups can also call and book a private maple tour at any time.

“I’m really grateful that my work allows me to do such dynamic things,” said Ives. “The homestead is a beautiful place to work, I work on the shore of Lake Erie at this really important site where John and Amelia Park lived 175 years ago and we’re really excited to share those historic things as well as those natural heritage messages of conservation with modern people. I love running an event like this.”

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