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Find an Ontario Maple Syrup Festival near Toronto in 2015

Ontario Maple Syrup festivals are an annual tradition, celebrating a natural sweetener and a great Canadian flavour. Where can you find a maple syrup festival near Toronto in the early spring of 2015?

First, just when are they held? And just how do we get maple syrup?

"Collecting Maple Sap for Maple Syrup" image by Bobolink (Robert Taylo) under CC license
“Collecting Maple Sap for Maple Syrup” image by Bobolink (Robert Taylo) under CC license

Early Spring Temperatures Make the Sap Run for Maple Syrup

Deciduous trees store sap, a watery sugar solution, in their roots for the winter. The sap had been drained away from the leaves in the autumn. The trees then prepare to bud their spring leaves by pumping the sap back up in early spring.

A specific type of tree, the Sugar Maple, has the sweetest sap, with up to 2% sugar. (Some other varieties can be tapped, but you have to boil off more water to get similar syrup). By hammering a small tap, or metal tube, into the tree as winter begins changing to spring, some sap can be drained from the sugar maple tree. Collect the sap, “reduce” it by boiling off most of the water, and you’ve got maple syrup. Evaporate even more water to create maple sugar.

Reducing the water content concentrates both the sugar and the unique maple flavour.

See “Making Maple Syrup” for more details.

Timing the Traditional Maple Syrup Festival

Farmers depend on weather conditions for crops to ripen; the they harvest the bounty when the plants are ready. In the same way, the person working a sugar bush only taps the trees when the sap is running. The ideal conditions require several days with the high temperatures above freezing, probably 5°C (41°F) or more, but below-freezing temperatures at night. The sap might run for a few weeks, but only if the temperatures fluctuate properly.

Modern Ontario maple syrup festivals require forward planning to coordinate vendors with civic infrastructure. This can challenge the people harvesting the sap.

The Elmira Maple Syrup Festival

Let’s start with perhaps the best-known Ontario maple syrup festival, the Elmira syrup festival. Elmira is a small town in southern Ontario, west of Toronto, Mississauga, and Guelph; and north of Kitchener-Waterloo. Frugal shoppers should find bargains for locally prepared maple syrup in Elmira (even if it does not “cut your grocery bill in half” overall). They also sell a variety of other foods to keep you happy for the day.

The 2015 Elmira maple syrup festival will be held on March 28, from 7am-4pm. Check the map in that site for detailed directions once you’re in Elmira.

"Map to Elmira Ontario" image by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps
“Map to Elmira Ontario” image by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps

Three Maple Syrup Festivals near Toronto

One web site covers three festivals near Toronto: at Bruce’s Mills; the Kortwright Centre; and the Terra Cotta Centre. Admission is under $10/person, plus HST; they recommend buying tickets online. Each site offers different programs on their own schedules; but they all serve pancakes and syrup for breakfast (at an extra cost).

The Bruce’s Mills Conservation Centre’s maple sugar festival runs from Feb. 28 until April 6, 2015 but only Wed.-Sundays. The maple syrup demonstrations are held on weekends and during March Break, from 10am – 4:30pm; but I’d phone ahead (416-661-6600) to make reservations and be sure of just what’s on tap that day.

Find Bruce’s Mills at 3291 Stouffville Road in Stouffville, just north of Toronto. I’d take Hwy 404 north, then east on road 14 (which is Stouffville Road), past Warden Ave.

The Kortwright Centre also hosts its festival from Feb. 28 through April 6, and should be open every day. Again, phone ahead (905-832-2289) to be sure of what they offer on any given day. Find 9550 Pine Valley Drive between Major Mackenzie Drive and Rutherford Road, and well west of highway 27 and Islington Ave. but east of Weston Road.

The Terra Cotta Conservation Area’s festival is only open for March weekends, plus the week of March Break (March 16-20), plus April 3-5. They’re pretty quiet about any special programs or activities, so if the location suits you, be sure to call 1 (800) 367-0890 for their details. The Terra Cotta Conservation Area is at 14452 Winston Churchill Blvd. in Halton Hills. I might start from Acton, take Main St. (Hwy 25) NW to the Halton-Erin Road (45), turn NE and then go SE on route Winston Churchill Blvd (19).

Venture Further Afield to Bronte Creek for Maple Syrup Month

Bronte Creek Provincial Park’s web page has several sections, including the map. They don’t say much about why “March is Maple Syrup Month”, but it is open every day except Christmas.

Bronte Creek Park is south-west of Oakville; I’d take Hwy 25 north from the QEW/Hwy 403.

Buying Maple Syrup and Maple Syrup Recipes Online

If you missed out on buying Elmira maple syrup, order certified organic maple syrup from Quebec via Amazon Canada. This maple syrup product is amber grade, between the light and dark shades of maple syrup.

Who wants maple syrup recipes so you can go beyond flapjacks and syrup? Amazon Canada offers “The Maple Syrup Cookbook 2: 40 More Easy, Delicious & Healthy Maple Syrup Recipes for Breakfast Lunch & Dinner (Maple SuperFoods) [Kindle Edition]“. The one very happy reviewer said, “…Anyone who loves this syrup needs to have a copy of this book”.

Looking for More Annual Events or a Holiday in Toronto Canada?

My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, free or frugal.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the right-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about maple syrup festivals in Ontario, near Toronto.


Why Write Two Running Tips for Cold Weather?

Why did I write “Two Cold Weather Running Tips from Two Frigid Days” in my DeHaan Fitness blog? To fill a gap I noticed in other articles on that subject!

Why should I mention that article here? Since this site promotes my writing, this lets me explain about changing my writing style for different situations.

"A Halifax Harrier (UK) Demonstrates Cold Weather Running" image by AdamKR under CC license

"A Halifax Harrier (UK) Demonstrates Cold Weather Running" image by AdamKR under CC license

Why Write a Pair of Cold Weather Running Tips?

As I explain in my DeHaan Fitness post, most of the other articles recommend “the right cold weather running gear”. That may help someone who is beginning running in winter. At that stage in my journey to fitness, I simply wore what I had. That included a cotton T-shirt, sweat pants, sweatshirt, a really old overcoat, an old toque and worn-out gloves. Now that I’ve earned some technical fabric T-shirts, and bought proper running pants and jackets, I’m much less likely to perspire heavily and then freeze.

But everyone else suggests buying the right clothing for running in the cold. So I wrote different tips for running.

My article relates two running tips for cold weather that one might not find elsewhere. Probably they have been suggested by others; but they felt rather new to me when I thought of them.

Why Publicize my Article on Cold Weather Running Tips?

As a freelance writer, my task is to convey my client’s message in a “voice” that authentically represents that person or company.

For example, a service company may want to project how helpful they are, and the results they can achieve. Perhaps each section of an article should include a “call to action”, such as “contact us to learn more”. A professional tone may be needed; or perhaps one of reassurance and comfort.

By contrast, when I write for Decoded Science, my articles blend my insight into the topic with the tone and style of that web site. Many other science articles adopt a passive voice: “The experiment was performed successfully, but significant capital expenditures were accrued”. That’s not the Decoded Science style (thank goodness!), but one must adapt to a publication’s requirements.

I’ve deliberately chosen an informal first-person voice for my DeHaan Fitness articles. That site provides some of my own views and experiences.

By contrast, the Toronto events covered in this site are usually written before the event. For example, I do not recount “what I did for March Break”; instead, my article covers what you might plan to do, locally, with your own family.

Why am I publicizing the article I wrote about a pair of tips for cold weather running? In part, to inform prospective clients that I can write in different styles. Use my contact information in the right-hand column when you need some ghost-writing for your business!

However, this publicity is also a public service announcement to other runners (and cyclists, hikers and outdoors enthusiasts) who may have the same problem as the young man I met while running in the cold the other week.

Thanks for reading about why I wrote an article with two running tips for cold weather.


2015 St Patricks Day Parade and Races in Toronto

The St Patricks Day Parade in Toronto is an annual spring event, with a growing complement of road races. Here’s your guide to the 2015 St Patricks Day Parade in Toronto along with two runs.

Of course, St. Patrick’s Day actually falls on March 17; it’s a tradition as Irish as shamrocks and good luck.

"Shamrocks for St Patricks Day" by puamelia under CC license

"Shamrocks for St Patricks Day" by puamelia under CC license

The 2015 St Patricks Day Parade in Toronto

On Sunday March 15, 2015, the annual Toronto St. Patricks Day Parade will begin at noon, immediately following the start of the inaugural Shamrock & Sneakers 4Km Fun Run.

This St Patricks Day Parade begins marching east on Bloor St. from St. George St. It heads south on Yonge St.; then turns west on Queen St.; to end at University Avenue.

The outgoing Toronto Chief of Police, Bill Blair, will serve as the Grand Marshall. The annual St Patricks Day Parade in Toronto is free to attend.

The parade’s sponsor is the St. Patrick’s Parade Society of Toronto.

The Shamrock & Sneakers 4Km Fun Run

2015 sees the first edition of the Shamrock & Sneakers 4Km Fun Run, in collaboration with the Cabbagetown Youth Centre. The run starts at noon and essentially leads the 2015 St Patricks Day Parade in Toronto. (The route is about three and a quarter kilometres by my reckoning on an online map, so you can certainly push your pace).

This is a charity race in support of the Cabbagetown Youth Centre.

The cost is $20/teen or $30/adult online; but free for children 12 & under!), or add $10 to register on race day from 10:30-11:30am. (Younger children are still free). Note that even the free children must register for this event; we all know that the race organizers have to

The run starts at noon and essentially leads the parade. Find details and registration links online at the official “Cabbagetown Youth St. Patrick’s Day Run” page.

The Achilles St. Patrick’s Day Run in Toronto

The Achilles St. Patrick’s Day Run is another annual spring Toronto event, and supports the Achilles Canada charity which provides sports opportunities for physically challenged people. Pre-register online through the official “Achilles St. Patrick’s Day Run” web page.

You should register before midnight on Monday March 9; or right now, since the Achilles 5K in Toronto has been a sell-out for the last decade!

Pick up race kits from Thursday through Saturday at the Leon’s Furniture store on Bremner Blvd.; you cannot get your kit on Sunday morning.

The race route runs west along Bremner, north on Spadina Ave., west on Wellington, turns around at Yonge St. and returns the same way. The run starts at 10:30am. Eager spectators could take in both this Achilles St Patrick’s Day Run as well as the St Patrick Parade’s finish on Queen St. West, just a few blocks north.

The 2015 Ontario March Break Includes St Patricks Day

Ontario’s Ministry of Education sets the March Break schedule; by happy chance St. Patrick’s Day is in the middle of spring break 2015. Check my recent “Enjoy a Frugal Toronto March Break 2015” for inexpensive family activities from the March 14-15 weekend, through March Break 2015, and on through the following weekend.

Are There Irish Pubs in Toronto for Saint Patrick’s Day Celebrations?

(Added March 2, 2015) I once started an article listing Irish pubs in Toronto. That required dividing the city into five zones, (NE, NW, SE, SW and downtown) simply to avoid making a single huge list. Even so, the number of restaurants in Toronto boasting of their Irish heritage made this  an infeasible recreational project to maintain.

You might not see an ad on this page for an Irish restaurant in Toronto, but that’s okay. Fire up your search engine, paste in “best Irish pub in Toronto”, and prepare for a million hits. Hmmm, maybe add in your neighbourhood (”downtown Toronto Irish pub”) or a street name. There, you’ve found something… or a million somethings. I’d suggest going to a local Irish alehouse for a frugal taxi ride home.

Three Kindle Books for Saint Patrick’s Day

Amazon’s Kindle books cover a range of topics for Saint Patrick’s Day. This list shows Amazon.ca links for Canadians (and adds the USA’s Amazon.com link in brackets). This list is sorted by price, but they are all under $5 Canadian at press time.

Looking for More Annual Events or a Holiday in Toronto Canada?

You can find more annual events in Toronto for many weekends.

My blog notes many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, with the focus on free or frugal things to do in Toronto. I especially like to cover summer attractions and special events in Toronto Canada; but especially for Canadian holidays.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science and Decoded Pregnancy.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the right-hand column for recent articles by category.

Thanks for reading about the St Patricks Day 2015 Parade in Toronto.


Enjoy a Frugal Toronto March Break 2015

If you’re wondering what to do with your children for March Break 2015 in Toronto, let me offer these frugal choices.

The 2015 March Break in Ontario officially runs Monday-Friday, March 16-20, as per the Ontario Ministry of Education’s “Ontario School Year Calendar”. However, some of the following spring break events run on the weekends.

"McGregor Park Library in Toronto" image by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps
“McGregor Park Library in Toronto” image by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps

Mad Science in Eleven Toronto Public Libraries

Eleven of Toronto’s public libraries each host one one-hour session of “Mad Science” from Monday-Friday. Every session starts at 2pm.

It seems that the topics and demonstrations will be repeated at some events, but differ at others. Is your neighbourhood library in this alphabetical list?

  • Albert Campbell;
  • Amesbury Park;
  • Bridlewood;
  • Burrows Hall;
  • Danforth at Coxwell;
  • Eatonville;
  • Forest Hill;
  • McGregor Park;
  • Rexdale; Riverdale;
  • S. Walter Stewart

Then click on this Mad Science in Toronto Libraries for March Break 2015 link (note that it goes for 2 pages, and is sorted by date). That page briefly describes the program at each venue, and has a link for the specific public library.

Also note that, while these science demonstrations are free, some want you to register ahead of time!

Three Museums in Toronto Host Events for the 2015 March Break

Each of these three Toronto civic museums run their 2015 March Break programs from Saturday March 14 to Sunday March 22.

Mackenzie House invites you to drop in for Victorian fun: Typeset your name using the printing press that dates from 1845. Or build your own craft to keep. Enjoy a cookie from the period kitchen. Regular admission applies; it’s frugal at under $10/person, and children age 4 and under are free. The hours for Mackenzie House are noon-4pm on weekdays, and noon-5pm on weekends.

Click for more details on Mackenzie House events. Mackenzie House is at 82 Bond St.: a bit south of Dundas St. East, and east of Yonge St. I’d take the subway #1 (Yonge) line to Dundas St.

The Spadina Museum conducts tours and hosts events based in Toronto in the 1920s. They are open noon-5pm each day. Make some crafts, play games or help in the kitchen. Again, regular admission is under $10; but children aged 5 and under are free.

The Spadina Museum events page has more details. This museum is at 285 Spadina Road, just north of Casa Loma. It’s a steep walk up from Davenport Road, north along Walmer Road and around the corner following Austin Terrace; or a longer but flatter walk due south from St. Clair Ave. West. The St. Clair 512 streetcar connects to the #1 subway line, of course. The 127 Davenport bus goes north from the Spadina subway station along Spadina Road, then turns west.

Todmorden Mills is closed on Monday March 16, but open the other weekend and work-week days for March Break 2015. They offer “fun and games” in the Don Valley, plus indoor parlour games and toys. With any luck you will see “signs of spring” in the Wildflower Preserve. Todmorden Mills offers the lowest regular admission prices of this trio, but children aren’t free.

See the Todmorden Mills events page for more details. The Todmorden Mills heritage site is in the Don Valley at 67 Pottery Road: a steep downhill walk west from Broadview Ave. at Mortimer. You could take the #8 Broadview bus north from the Broadview station on the #2 Danforth subway line. Pottery Road also connects to Bayview Ave.

Bracket March Break 2015 at Harbourfront

Miss Lou’s Room, at Harbourfront Toronto, offers free family-friendly programs on March 14, 15, 21n and 22 (that’s the weekends surrounding 2015 March Break). From 11am-2pm. Harbourfront’s events page offers this “interactive exhibit and hands-on family activities” to elicit our stories, and those of our cultures.

Toronto Harbourfront is at 235 Queen’s Quay West, south of Front Street along Lower Simcoe Street. I’d walk from Union Station.

Begin the 2015 March Break with a St Patricks Day Parade or Run

The 2015 St Patricks Day Parade, and two races, will be held on Sunday March 15. See my recent “2015 St Patricks Day Parade and Races in Toronto” for the details. These annual downtown Toronto events are free to all spectators, and children under twelve can run in one of the races for free.

Looking for More Annual Events or a Holiday in Toronto Canada?

My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, free or frugal; these mid-winter break programs fit the bill.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the right-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about where to enjoy a frugal 2015 March Break in Toronto.


2015 Chinese New Year in Toronto, the Year of the Sheep

The 2015 Chinese New Year is the Year of the Sheep (or Goat). How will we celebrate Chinese New Year 2015 in Toronto? Many will have quiet family events or restaurant dinners; but here are a few public events.

"Chinese Lion Dance for Chinese New Year 2009" image by Maureen Didde under CC license
“Chinese Lion Dance for Chinese New Year 2009″ image by Maureen Didde under CC license

When is Chinese New Year 2015?

Many Asian countries use a lunar calendar, so special dates and holidays shift annually as expressed in the (solar) Gregorian calendar.

In 2015, Chinese New Year is on Thursday February 19.

However, some events start earlier or end later. For example, the Vietnamese celebrate Tet Nguyen Dan 2015 for five days centred on Feb. 19. Feb. 17-18 are “Tet Eve”; then Feb. 20-21 are “Tet Holiday”.

Harbourfront Centre for Chinese New Year 2015

Harbourfront Centre puts a cheeky name for their art installation to celebrate the Chinese New Year 2015. Called “Sheep are not so baa-d“, it’s actually an illuminating exhibit of hundreds of lanterns in the form of sheep.

Really, these sheep lanterns are part of a package deal. Harbourfront will host visual arts, crafts and dance from LunarFest in British Columbia on Sat.-Sun., Feb. 28-Mar.1, from 11am-7pm. This is a free 2015 Chinese New Year event.

(Added Feb. 28, 2015): How did I miss the Lunar New Year Dumpling Festival at Harbourfront on Feb. 28 and March 1, 2015? Plus a fortune-telling event with temples representing Taiwanese and Japanese traditions. Learn your fortune, and learn about dumplings: gain both types of wisdom for free on from 11am-6pm.

Harbourfront is at 235 Queens Quay West. I’d walk south, mainly on York Street, after taking the subway to Union Station. Just check with the TTC to ensure that the subway will be running that weekend where you need to go.

Scarborough Town Centre for the 2015 Chinese New Year

Of course the Scarborough Town Centre (STC) celebrates the 2015 Chinese New Year for an extended period, from Feb. 13 through March 1. Their Lunar New Year at STC has an interesting focus for Feb. 19, however. Take a selfie ahead of time at their designated location, then upload it per their instructions. You’re entered for a cash prize, with a nod to some Chinese New Year traditions, if you enter from Feb. 13th to March 1st. To really nail down a $25 gift card, however, I’d do the upload at 12:01am on Feb. 19th.

A 2015 Chinese New Years Eve Party

It’s outside my price range, but Canada National TV hosts a Chinese New Year Gala from 6pm on Feb. 18 through midnight. As of mid-afternoon on Feb. 17, the remaining available prices range from $67/person and up. The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts is the venue, at 1 Front St. East. I’d call 905-513-0120 to get the details and reserve tickets. They recommend walking from the Union Station subway station.

Chinese New Year 2015 at a Library

The Lillian H. Smith Library Branch celebrates the Year of the Sheep on Sat. Feb. 21 from 1-4pm. Yes, it’s free! But you must pre-register; call 416-393-7746. This event is aimed at children who enjoy face-painting (in Chinese zodiac symbols!), martial arts demonstrations and seeing a Lion Dance.

The Lillian H. Smith Library Branch is at 239 College St. near Spadina Ave. The 506 College streetcar is the obvious east-west choice; but both the 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina streetcars will stop at College St.

Looking for More Annual Events or a Holiday in Toronto Canada?

My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, free or frugal. Chinese New Year is certainly one of the annual winter events in Toronto.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the right-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about several events for the 2015 Chinese New Year in Toronto.

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