Bronte Creek Provincial Park is a large recreational area and nature sanctuary between Oakville and Burlington. Come along with me and enjoy a spring day out at this historic farm.
Year-round, this provincial park offers plenty of walking trails, camping facilities, a children’s play area and even an historic home and model farm. The Spruce Lane Farmhouse functions as a museum showcasing rural life in the past. On top of all this, the park also hosts special events, like the Canadian Maple Syrup Festival that my sister and I recently attended.
If you’ve never been to one of these festivals, the idea is quite simple. It’s a chance to get out into the woods when the sap is running and watch the collection of this “liquid gold”, then sample the finished product.
The first step is the tapping of the tree; the sap is gathered in tin buckets like the one in the photo above. The next step is boiling off the water to arrive at the delicious condensed material that we pour on our pancakes or crepes or other addictive food items.
We learned about all the changes in the technology of this process from our guide, a friendly woman dressed in Victorian clothes. She took us through the woods, stopping at different stations and showing us how the sap was gathered and how it was processed at different times in past, beginning with the early Aboriginal methods, then on to the Victorian changes and finally up to the present day.
One of the most popular features of this festival is the pancake breakfast. Since we arrived late in the afternoon, we missed it (along with the tractor ride), but we still had time to take in some other activities, like visiting the small Nature Centre and the Children' s Farm. Here we found barnyard animals like pigs and chickens and even some cows outside luxuriating in the sunshine:
The model farm at Bronte Creek Provincial Park also has about 40 acres of wheat, oats and soy under cultivation but this is more interesting during the summer or fall of course.
The Spruce Lane Farmhouse was open for visits so we took advantage of the opportunity to poke around inside this lovely historic home. It was built in 1899 and was home to the Breckon family who were apple farmers.
For more information:
See the web site for Friends of Bronte Creek Provincial Park: http://www.brontecreek.org/
This site has some audio files about the Spruce Lane Farmhouse. You can download them and listen to them on your computer, or put them on your MP3 player and listen to them as you walk through the house.
These articles might also interest you:
Canadian Maple Syrup Festival - Learn more about maple syrup, tips for visiting, etc.
Ontario provincial parks - Bronte Creek is part of an extensive parks system. For more
information about these Ontario provincial parks see this article.